The role of some professors working beyond the classroom


Armando Anzellini joined Lehigh’s sociology and anthropology department in 2022 while simultaneously working to excavate human remains, and Kaitlyn Koch joined the College of Business in 2022 while also serving as a project manager for a team working with liquified natural gas.

For some of Lehigh’s professors, the work day extends past the regular 9 to 5 schedule as their not-so-free time is dedicated to pursuing a second career or conducting research.

Anzellini is an assistant professor of anthropology, meaning he is a full-time faculty member who “engages in and is evaluated for promotion, tenure, and compensation on excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service,” according to a Faculty Senate presentation.

Meanwhile, Koch is an adjunct professor, meaning she works part time and is contracted per class per semester, according to the same presentation.

Anzellini said he worked as a bioarchaeologist, studying skeletal remains in an archaeological context, before coming to Lehigh.

Armando Anzellini is an assistant professor of anthropology. Anzellini works as a bioarchaeologist, studying skeletal remains. (Courtesy of Armando Anzellini)

This job, he said, involved surveying archaeological land and recovering bodies to place them in different locations. During this time, Anzellini was also a Ph.D. student with hopes of eventually becoming a professor.

In 2021, Anzellini became one of the investigators for the Tulsa Race Massacre, a 1921 attack by a white mob that killed over 300 Black people in Greenwood, Oklahoma. His job is to help excavate and recover human remains for forensic anthropologists to analyze.

A year later, Anzellini joined Lehigh with a focus in bioarchaeology. He said balancing these two roles often feels like having two full-time jobs, however, he finds his work outside Lehigh to be vital to his success as a professor.

“Part of my responsibilities at Lehigh is to do research and have publications,” Anzellini said. “For me, this is part of service, which is one of the expectations that Lehigh has.”

Anzellini said the chair of his department is supportive of his work, remaining flexible with his fluctuating schedule.

He said his job at Lehigh not only allows him to have other projects but encourages him to do other work.

Jessica Levin, ’26, is currently a student in Anzellini’s Intro to Archeology and Human Origins class.

She said Anzellini is currently away for three weeks in Tulsa, working on his project. Even though he is not currently on campus, he has regularly uploaded asynchronous lectures, so she doesn’t feel as though his absence has negatively affected her learning.

Levin said she is the type of student to typically meet with her teachers after class but has adapted to ask questions over email instead. So far, she said Anzellini is very responsive.

Anzellini’s real-world experience has also piqued her interest in his field.

“He talks about forensic anthropology like it’s the coolest thing ever,” Levin said. “He is clearly passionate about what he’s teaching, which makes everything much more interesting.”

Kaitlyn Koch, professor of business, teaches Business Communications at Lehigh. Outside of teaching, she is also a project manager for Air Products in the Liquified Natural Gas division where she manages the production of heat exchangers for natural gas.

Kaitlyn Koch is an adjunct professor in the College of Business. Outside of teaching, Koch is also a project manager for Air Products in the Liquified Natural Gas division. (Courtesy of Kaitlyn Koch)

Before coming to Lehigh, Koch said she was unsure if she would ever get to teach but always wanted to become a professor.

“When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a teacher, but it just wasn’t something that ever came to fruition for me,” Koch said. “My interest in math and science and being an engineer…kind of trumped being a teacher.”

In 2022, a friend of Koch’s was hired as an adjunct business communications professor at Lehigh, and Koch said she was lucky, as Lehigh was looking for one more person to hire for the same position.

As an adjunct professor, Koch said she is able to bring her prior career experience to a Lehigh classroom, illustrating her teaching points to her students with examples.

As part of balancing two roles, Koch said she makes sure to carve out time specifically to dedicate to her students.

“It’s kind of a weekly balancing act,” Koch said. “I plan for the week so that when students ask, ‘Hey, when can I meet with you this week?’ I know immediately and have specific time slots.”

Jennifer Beattie, ’26, said if Koch hadn’t told the class she had another job, she never would have known due to Koch’s attentiveness.

“She would always respond to my emails, answer my questions, be in class and tell us when we could get extra help if we needed it,” Beattie said.

When Koch was in the process of getting her master’s degree, she said she worked during the day and took classes at night. She knew if she could balance this workload as a student, she would also be able to do it as a teacher.

Similarly, Anzellini said planning in advance and strong communication skills are vital to balancing his schedule.

“The reason I got a Ph.D. is because I wanted to be a professor at a university,” Anzellini said. “Coming to Lehigh has allowed me to get a job that I enjoy while continuing other projects that I also enjoy.”

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