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Teaching Through Experience: Dr. D.B. Ruderman

Dr. Ruderman is sitting outside on a nice day wearing aviator sunglasses and a stylish hat.

The Ohio State University Newark campus has always had a template in the English department to have its classes be discussion-based, but Dr. D.B. Ruderman goes to further lengths to have his classroom set as an environment where everyone involved can learn and use their life experiences to educate each other.

Dr. Ruderman started his life path as a musician, and it was this passion that taught him an impactful lesson in the community where the relationship between an artist and an audience is a trusting, open space to create a dialogue. He has been a professor at The Ohio State University at Newark by choosing to teach hard-hitting topics like drug addiction, class hierarchies, and social economics because he has lived through them in his past, and he uses these personal lessons to reduce the stigma that comes with drug addiction in the world.

Dr. Ruderman loves teaching because a classroom is a perfect environment for him to educate about his own experiences, but it also allows him to learn from students about what pieces they are missing in their lives which sometimes are revealed in their discussions and writing.

“Creating a space for new knowledge to develop,” said Dr. Ruderman as he talked about what each of his classrooms is centered around. Dr. Ruderman aims to create an open space for his students to have real conversations to better understand their perspectives and lives outside the classroom to see how that can benefit their learning inside the classroom.

“I love that the work that I do in the community can be brought right onto campus, and there's this real openness between the community and the campus,” said Dr. Ruderman as he continues to participate in weekly poetry writing workshops for recovering addicts in Licking County. It is a natural role for him to be involved in helping people because he has been an inspiring figure for students like Caitlynne Ray, who in a recent NCDF news post, mentioned Dr. Ruderman as not only being a good teacher, but skilled at humanizing the social issues in the United States.

Dr. Ruderman is also a member of the Newark Think Tank on Poverty group where their goal is to help out the community’s grassroots organizations like assisting at a local warming shelter. His role in the community is inspirational and his effort in his classes at the Newark campus shows how someone can make a change by educating one student at a time.

Dr. Ruderman, who is on sabbatical this year from teaching, is spending his time writing a book on lyric poetry and how it can be used for social and political changes instead of focusing on the personal aspect of reading or writing poetry.