NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Rollins goes extra mile in philosophy class

By: Kali Routier


Philosophy is an area of study that aims to answer the world’s most unanswerable questions with logic. For example: Does God exist? What happens after death? And what, exactly, is the purpose of life?

Dustin Rollins, a philosophy professor at NECC, helps students seek the answers to those questions.

He began teaching at the college about eight years ago in 2008. Rollins received his undergraduate degree at St. John’s College in Maryland with a major in liberal arts and an emphasis on math and philosophy and a master’s in philosophy from Boston College.

Rollins says he has always had a natural curiosity about the world, and when his humanities teacher showed him the quote “Philosophy begins in wonder,” from Aristotle, Rollins realized that philosophy matched up and was a good fit for what always came naturally to him.  Practical Logic, Ethics and Fresh

man Seminar are some of the other classes Rollins teaches.

“I hope to engage all students to where they can find meaning in their own lives,” Rollins said.

“The way in which I try to help students find that meaning is different with each class, because each class is different.”

Rollins’ philosophy class is conducted more like a conversation than a lecture; and there’s an interesting air and tone of voice to the material being taught.  Rollins requires his students to read original works written by Plato and Aristotle, which in itself can be considered to be an advantage according to student Christian Fanaras.

“What’s most interesting about Rollins class is that you’re learning the actual ideas of the original philosophers, as opposed to preconceived notions created by other people,” said Fanaras.

Another goal Rollins has for his students is to help them become good reasoners.

“Philosophy can be beneficial because it requires the students to be critical thinkers,” Rollins said. 

“Students have to pull information out of material that’s not so easy to understand. Those kind of skills can be applied to everyday life, and can contribute to achieving personal and professional success.”

But with reading material dating back to 350 B.C., it can be difficult to understand. Student Luke Guicho, says, “one of the best things about Rollins’ teaching style are his explanations.”

After sitting in on Rollins class, it becomes clear that he goes the extra mile to make sure every student understands and will take different approaches to explaining this complex material.

Philosophy is a solid class to take because it discusses topics that come from the most human part of the soul. A lot of people in this world have curious souls, and philosophy aims to explore that incurable curiosity.