Rising Speech Star Dan Snyder

By Alli Hoerner
March 26, 2021

If you’ve ever taken public speaking at GCC, you’ve most likely had the pleasure to experience a class taught by Dan Snyder, Instructor of Speech.

His extensive 14 year history of teaching includes a history of teaching at Finger Lakes Community College prior to teaching at GCC. Synder actually started off in the ACE program office upon arriving at the College, the entire time hoping for a full-time faculty position to open up. It is interesting to know though that when it came to his education, he didn’t take the traditional route of going straight to university after high school.

Synder had decided that after graduating high school, he would take an eight-year hiatus from schooling. He became a musician (and still is today), traveling with a band in hopes of stardom. “I wouldn’t change it, but when fame never came knocking, I was like I need a plan B,” Snyder said. “I hated that my mother was right.” Like many of us, Synder never had a solid plan of where he’d end up, but he never thought his dream career would go from rockstar to an instructor of speech in higher education.

He said he’s had many teachers throughout his life who had served as his mentors. He admits he never liked being a student, even back as a teenager in high school. “I had blinders on.” Synder said. “I knew how to play drums. I didn’t need American history or math, or chemistry. What am I gonna do with that?”

Throughout college though he had come to the realization that he had found interest in adjuncting. An adjunct professor is basically someone who is hired by a college to teach part time. Little did he know what this would lead to.

As far as COVID-19 and teaching remotely, he said there are some benefits involved with this format. One being that he was given the opportunity to learn how to use all the technology. Furthermore, he plans to implement Zoom for office hours even once we return to in person instruction. After all the final adjustments, he had to rethink how to present his courses. Even after this long and painful process of recreating his classes, Snyder still emphasizes how bad he feels for his students who are missing out on the new experience and social aspect of college. It’s because of this that he tries his best to be engaging even through a computer screen.

Former student Grace Pastuszynski appreciated his efforts. She said, “Overall his personality made everyone just laugh and he encouraged most students to talk also. He said hello to everyone as they joined the Zoom. Throughout the pandemic, I never thought I could do public speaking online, but he made me feel so comfortable and confident even though we couldn’t meet in person. His style was very creative.”