About This Video
David Zeigler interview, 1994 November 11
This is an interview with David Zeigler who began at FIT’s continuing education division in 1956 following a transfer from the Board of Education. At the time, the school was still based in the Central Needle Trades High School. Zeigler discusses contentions within the English department, the formation of a union in response, and how he came to be elected as the first faculty president of FIT. Zeigler mentions various faculty in his department and emphasizes how deeply he became entrenched in faculty committees due to political forces. Zeigler oversaw the yearbook as well. He then talks about Marvin Feldman and how, coming from West Point, Feldman had to adapt to FIT’s sense of openness. Zeigler discusses the union’s positive impact on the school and what it was like to teach first-generation students, being a proud child of immigrants himself. He then delves into the design of his coursework and how pedagogy has evolved over the years. Zeigler was retired at the time of the interview, but still publishing his own writing as well as taking courses in Yiddish to reconnect with his upbringing. Zeigler returns to a discussion on his challenging time as Chair and what he looked for in faculty. He then talks about liberal arts as key in the development of citizens of a democracy, but notes that some highly successful alumni did not excel in his course. Zeigler discusses the founding of the school and personalities such as Morris Haft who gave the school a familial feel. And finally, Zeigler makes an emphatic statement on the importance of his time teaching at FIT.
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