Photo by Richard Howard
Connie Bauman, professor of the practice in Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA), came to Wellesley as an athletic trainer in 1979. During her 39 years at the College, she has expanded her role—coaching, teaching, bringing health concepts out of the gym and into the classroom, and directing a popular on-site wellness program for employees.
As you look back over the years, what makes you proud?
My job has evolved in wonderful ways. What I’m most proud of is what I’ve done outside the classroom. I’ve developed this wonderful science initiative, where my Wellesley students create a science curriculum and lessons and then take them to fifth-graders. I said, “You know, you have a very privileged education here. It’s time you share that with girls in the local communities.” We were paired with Science Club for Girls. It was wonderful to see our students create a curriculum. Now we’ve expanded into the Framingham schools. It’s good for Wellesley students to get off campus and to give back. When our students walk into a room, the kids just light up. These fifth-graders will be telling their story someday about a Wellesley College mentor-teacher who inspired them.
Have Wellesley students changed during your time here?
They are more stressed. Their expectations are just unrealistic. I try to give them perspective. I’m always saying, “Look, no one will ask you what grade you’ve got in Econ 101, because no one really cares. What they care about is that you have that Wellesley diploma, and that will serve you the rest of your life. Don’t pull an all-nighter to try to get a perfect paper because there is no such thing as a perfect paper. Put it to bed and get the sleep. You will feel better. And you will be a better student if you have good health-care habits.”
What will change for you after you retire this spring?
People say, “Oh, we’re going to miss you.” I say, “I’m not leaving the planet.” I might spend some of the winter in Palm Springs, but otherwise, I’m not moving. I’m going to go back to auditing classes—I’m going to take Spanish. When I first came to Wellesley, I audited art history, and then a feminist liberation-theology class, and then forensic anthropology. I was getting the liberal arts education I never had, and it transformed me.