Amanda Fanelli, Assistant Features Editor
Professor James Adasek, an adjunct mathematics professor here at Utica College, has been teaching for 50 years. Adasek graduated from Utica College with a degree in accounting and then mathematics. He furthered his education at SUNY Cortland where he received his master’s degree in math and education. Adasek is also certified in math education and administration.
Adasek has always known that he wanted to be a teacher. He taught in the Utica City School District for 25 years and also taught at the House of Good Shepard for 17 years before coming to Utica College. Adasek also taught mathematics at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC).
Adasek was very excited when he got the opportunity to come back to Utica College and this time as a professor, not a student.
“It felt great to be a part of a school that basically changed my life,” Adasek said.
What he loves most about his job is, working with students. He expressed that he truly cares for them, putting their success first. It’s important to Adasek that his students know this about him. Adasek is at his office every day, even though he is only an adjunct professor teaching three courses this semester.
Adasek knows that math isn’t always a fun subject for everyone so in class he has a sense of humor and jokes around with his students to make them feel more comfortable. He also wants his students to know he is here for whatever they need and is always available for extra help. Adasek said that his favorite class to teach is definitely statistics.
In his spare time he loves to golf and travel. Adasek frequently golfs at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino. He plans to go to Las Vegas this summer, and also goes to Cape Cod for at least one month each year. Adasek loves to be by the ocean and enjoys eating seafood. He plans to visit Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia with friends in the future, checking items off of his bucket list one at a time.
Adasek loves sports and said his favorite teams are the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Knicks. He shows his school spirit by attending a lot of the sporting events on campus, and said his favorite college team is Utica College.
His favorite singer is Frank Sinatra and his favorite song is the classic “My Way.” He also enjoys movies such as Pelican Brief, Shawshank Redemption and Schindler’s List with his favorite actor being Clint Eastwood.
Erin O’Connor, a sophomore nursing major, and a student of professor Adasek’s, said she greatly admires Adasek’s worth ethic.
“He will go to any end to assure a student that they can, and will, succeed,” O’Connor said. “Math is definitely not the most exciting topic in my opinion. However, Professor Adasek keeps things interesting by throwing around a lot of jokes and interacting with his students, rather than just standing up at a white board and jotting down notes.”
O’Connor also explained that professor Adasek will stay past his office hours to spend time reviewing with students, and even come in on Sunday’s if they ask.
“He is a professor that does anything he can to help a student feel confident in what they’re learning, and I’m sure you could ask any one of his students and they would say the same,” O’Connor said. “I think that’s a really admirable quality to have as a teacher.”
O’Connor also admires Adasek’s compassion to his students.
“I like taking professor Adasek’s classes because, as a student who has struggled with math in the past, I know that he will help me to succeed. Not only is he a really great teacher, but he is a great person that genuinely cares about his student’s well-being,” O’Connor said.
Justin Derlago, a freshman, said professor Adasek has the ability to make math exciting with his unique techniques and hands-on teaching strategies.
“He uses different approaches in his lessons to ensure all students are on the same page, whether it is mathematical, visual, or an in-depth explanation,” Derlago said.
Derlago is also an ice hockey player at UC.
“I personally like how he is such a big sports fan,” Derlago said. “Walking into his class on a Monday morning and having him approach me, congratulating me for Saturday’s win and telling me I played well is a nice gesture.”
Adasek goes above and beyond just writing problems on the chalkboard, showing interest and getting involved in students’ extracurricular activities.
“For me, it is sports, but after getting to know him I am sure he would be just as excited to support any student in their passion outside the classroom, whatever it may be,” Derlago said. “His qualities are what make him such an exceptional teacher. He is friendly, caring, passionate, and strives to have each one of his students succeed and do the best they can.”