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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching

Vincent Cuccia

Q&A with Vincent Cuccia| Public Speaking

How did you get into teaching?
I fell into teaching. I had started a non-profit for Italian American artists and one of our members said her uncle taught at CUNY and needed someone with a master’s degree to teach a speech class, so I applied. 

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
I had always wanted to teach college, but didn't know how to get a job doing that. I am a Generation Xer, so I never imagined myself in a career. I just figured I would retire from something at 26 and buy a yacht. That's why they call us the Slackers.

What do you love about teaching?
I love that people actually have to listen to me. I also love blowing my students' minds. (My classes are always designed to blow their minds.) Communication is really important to me. I love the subject a lot and love inspiring that love in my students. I also love that I teach at CUNY. I am a CUNY graduate and really identify with my students.

What’s your favorite teaching experience?There are so many favorite teaching moments, it’s hard to choose. But my favorites are when my students come back and tell me that I was right. They didn't believe me, but now they do. Each semester I assign students to research companies where they could work, once they have their degrees. If they can't find the answers to the questions, they should call them. One question was on the worth of the company. A student snorted that if she called and asked what the company was worth, "They'd laugh at me and hang up." Well, I told her to call and she ended up getting an internship. Her mind was blown.

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
I bring a lot of my professional life into my class. I run my own business and I have pitched that business to many investors. Plus, I volunteer as a judge for companies that pitch their products. I share all of that knowledge and real-life experience with my students. I also bring guest speakers who run their own companies to talk about the do's and don’ts of job interviewing. 

What advice do you have for current students?
My favorite advice to all students is that college is hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's college. After you graduate, you may not be better than everyone else who didn't go, but you will be different.