By Jeff Shelman
After a journey that included two years in Tanzania with the Peace Corps, graduate studies at Boston University, post-doctoral work at Dartmouth College, and a year-long stint working in space policy with the U.S. State Department, 1992 graduate David Murr is back where he started.
But instead of taking physics classes in the basement of Science Hall, he’s teaching them. Instead of working on research as an undergraduate student, he’s directing students in summer research as an associate professor of physics.
Being active in the world of space physics, Murr certainly had options. He could have worked at a research facility. Or he could have secured a position at a large research university.
But after experiencing some of those settings, returning to Augsburg last fall seemed like a natural fit. Why Augsburg? Simply put, he wanted a little of everything. He wanted the ability to teach. And he wanted to do research.
He didn’t want to be at a place where he spent all of his time in a laboratory. And he also didn’t want to be at a place where he would teach, but the focus of the institution was in research.
“I was in search of a place that was serious about me spending most of my time teaching and working with students and some of my time doing research,” Murr says.
And that’s his situation at Augsburg. While there is monitoring of activity in space that is ongoing, Murr spends most of his time during the academic year teaching students. Over the summer, he gets to spend close to four months doing little more than research, a part of his job that he enjoys, but not in a steady diet.
“There really is nothing like the ability to completely shift gears,” says Murr. “I have a different job in the summer and for a little while between semesters.”
By the time the summer ends, however, Murr is ready to get back into the classroom. And ready to embrace what Augsburg is.
“One of the words that comes up all the time is gritty,” Murr says. “It’s a place willing to get its hands dirty and work on problems. As an educator, life could be easier if you limit yourself to Dartmouth students. But there is something wonderfully genuine about the students and the people who choose to work here.”