A January 21 story in the New York Observer profiles eight of "NYC's Leading Professors." "What’s the key to being a good professor?" they ask. Among those answering the question is Fordham English Professor Leonard Cassuto.
Cassuto, writes Observer reporter Cynthia Cotts, “has written or edited seven books on American literature, including Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories. But he may be best known for maintaining relationships with former students—in one case, as he recounted in a recent essay, even after she developed dementia. ‘I have many former students who are friends,’ says Mr. Cassuto. ‘One of the best parts of the job is making relationships, and it’s artificial to cut them off at the end of class.’ Instead, he seeks to create a ‘mutually supportive community’ of scholars who learn from their peers. Glenn Hendler, who chairs Fordham’s English department, says Mr. Cassuto is the graduate students’ most frequent choice for adviser and his courses are ‘consistently packed.’"
“Lauren Navarro, a Cassuto protégé who got her Ph.D. in August and now teaches English at LaGuardia Community College, calls her former teacher a ‘sage’ and credits him with helping her land a job. ‘I don’t think I would have gotten here if not for the extra work and care he puts in,’ says Ms. Navarro. What’s more, Ms. Navarro notes, Mr. Cassuto’s devotion has a ripple effect: ‘I’m now in touch with students I had as undergraduates.’”
Congratulations to Lenny Cassuto for getting this recognition for himself, and for the great mentoring that characterizes Fordham’s English department!