Eric Hoffman, Professor of Meteorology
A commitment to service is core to life at PSU; this is evident in the University’s motto Ut prosim (That I may serve). For Professor of Meteorology Eric Hoffman, service is also an important element of a personal philosophy. “In both my professional and personal lives, I believe in the value of becoming involved and making a positive contribution, whether to the community as a whole, to the University, or to my profession,” says Hoffman. “In return, I gain insights into a range of different opinions, and I’m able to learn from others and broaden my thinking.”
Colleagues have noted Hoffman’s efforts at the University and beyond, calling him “a scholar-teacher who actively engages in outreach.” Hoffman, they say, “doesn’t just participate; he facilitates achievement of outcomes. (He) is one of the faculty members who make Plymouth State University work, and all of us benefit from his contributions.”
On PSU’s Academic Affairs Committee and the Provost’s Promotion, Tenure, and Evaluation Advisory Group, for example, Hoffman has helped shepherd the types of policies and guidelines that ensure the smooth, fair operation of University academic life. As PSU’s representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Hoffman serves the University and his profession, strengthening relationships with national leaders in the field and helping to guide the consortium’s use of federal funds to operate the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. “In both cases, I’m able to support the advancement of ideals that are very important to me,” Hoffman says. “At the University level, I gain great personal satisfaction in helping to develop policies that have the potential to impact faculty or students and then watching the democratic process that determines whether those policies are implemented. In the same way, serving at a national level with UCAR has given me a voice in consortium membership and other issues that can shape the future of my profession.”
Hoffman notes that while service at the national and University levels is important, he especially loves his work as director of outreach for the Judd Gregg Meteorology Institute (JGMI), which provides an opportunity to showcase PSU and the meteorology program in the community. Through these efforts, Hoffman can share information about weather and climate with the elementary and middle school students who visit campus and are awed by the instrumentation, TV studio, and weather walls and by seeing what they’ve learned in their classrooms in action. Plus, outreach programs like New Hampshire TechFest bring Hoffman into contact with high school students and other learners of all ages.
Of course, the students Hoffman enjoys most are the ones he works with in the meteorology classes he teaches each day. “Of all the service work I do, the most satisfying are those instances that offer meaningful opportunities for my students to take part in outreach too,” he concludes. “We’re able to build relationships through the coursework, and then collaborate in many JGMI outreach efforts. My students see the value they bring to others through their participation in service activities, and the younger students, and even the adults, with whom my students engage benefit from their unique perspectives.”
– Donna Eason ’85