Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Lumsden

“History is fun because it features so many interesting stories that just happen to be true.” –Douglas Lumsden

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So what is the story of Dr. Lumsden? Dr. Lumsden is not only a teacher, but a mentor and a vital part of our Catalina community. Across campus Dr. Lumsden is known for his humorous character; his leadership on our Mock Trial team; and his challenging but fun World History (1500 to the present), AP World History, and Senior Research Seminar classes. As a history teacher, however, students learn more of the world’s history than his own. So who is this legend on campus that upperclassmen are sad to see retire? In hopes of hearing his story, I talked to him, and a spotlight was shined on the stories of how he became a teacher, when he came to Catalina, and what his plans are for retirement.


What drew you into teaching?

I just fell into teaching. I got a four-year degree in Communications Studies and was out of school for 13 years. I always knew that I would return to school some day to get an advanced degree, and by the time that I thought the time was right, I found that I was very interested in ancient and medieval history, so that’s what I decided to study. I just kept going until I finished my doctorate. On the way, I worked as a teaching assistant and found that I enjoyed teaching more than I enjoyed research, so I decided to become a teacher. I taught college for a while, but found that most of my students had not been properly prepared for college work. Also, I was teaching in Kansas, and I wanted to return to California, where I grew up. So I started searching for college prep positions in California and found my dream job at Catalina–lucky me! I’ve been here for the last 15 years.”


Dr. Lumsden was an assistant professor at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas and a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara before joining Santa Catalina in 2003.


What made you happy throughout high school? And are you still interested in the things you were then?

Well, I’ve always been a happy person. It seems unlikely, but it’s true. When I was in high school, I loved watching baseball and football games — the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers — and I still do. I loved movies and music (rock, blues, soul, Motown, old jazz from the 1920s and 30s) and I still do. I don’t know that my perspectives have changed in any dramatic way. I’m a little more mature now, of course. A little. I’ve always been even-keeled — we used to call it “mellow.” In many ways, I haven’t changed much since high school, and I’m fine with that.


Anything you’re looking forward to during retirement?

I don’t have any definite plans for retirement. I’m just looking forward to the freedom to be spontaneous.