Ph.D., Yale Univ. (1977)
M.A., Univ. of Michigan (1967)
A.B., Harvard Univ. (1966)
Gene Leach thinks of liberal education in the humanities as a protracted conversation among faculty and students. Its purpose is to deepen the conversational ability of the students—their critical and research and communications skills, their capacity to formulate worthwhile questions, their sensitivity to the opinions and values of others, their self-confidence, and ultimately their interest in the conversation. When the conversation begins the professor does most of the talking, the students do most of the listening. As students develop in conversational ability the professor and student roles become less distinct, the balance between them grows more even. Ideally by the time the students graduate the dialogue approaches an exchange between equals. Leach’s greatest satisfaction as a teacher comes from moments when he finds himself learning as much—or almost as much—from his students as they are learning from him, and when he discovers they are determined to keep on learning.
Leach holds a joint appointment in History and American Studies. He came to Trinity in 1975 with degrees from Harvard, Michigan, and Yale. He has served as director of American Studies, chair of the History Department, and director of the graduate programs in both fields.