Teaching has always been in the heart of Adrian Oser, J.D.
by Erin Donohue“The whole key is to be approachable. You have to love teaching,” —Adrian Oser, J.D.
For adult students who are working while attending school, it is important to have professors who are understanding and able to meet their needs. University College part-time professor Adrian Oser, J.D., is exactly that sort of role model.
Entering her ninth year teaching at Adelphi, Ms. Oser teaches courses such as Constitutional Law: Rights and Liberties, Law and Social Inequality, Sociology of Law, the American System of Criminal Justice and Introduction to American Government. Since her students are primarily adult learners looking to change careers, she serves not only as a teacher of required material, but also as a guide in their journey. She can personally relate to what her students are going through, as she has made several career changes herself. Her career has come full circle back to teaching—something she truly loves.
By taking a genuine interest in her students, Ms. Oser has become well-liked and respected. To some, this may not seem like a tremendous feat, until you consider that she not only teaches at Adelphi, but also at another local college, connecting with more than a hundred students each semester between the two campuses.
As it turns out, teaching wasn’t always in the plan for her. Growing up, she wanted to become a lawyer. After earning a B.A. from Hunter College and an M.A. in Political Science from The New School for Social Research, she intended to go on to law school, but found herself teaching junior high school for three years in the South Bronx instead.
Eventually, the financial realities of marriage and raising a family forced her to put her dream of law school on hold. She moved to Long Island and began a new career in the travel industry, putting together convention packages for retailers and associations. At one point, she even sold Mary Kay cosmetics and was the director of personal shopping for Bloomingdale’s in Garden City, New York.
It wasn’t until her son left for college that Ms. Oser realized it was time for her to finally pursue her dream of going to law school. She attended Hofstra Law School (recently renamed the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University) and, upon graduation, she had earned a spot on the Dean’s List and received many honors, including the Matrimonial Law Award and recognition for her contributions to the Family Court Review.
Although she enjoyed representing the needs of children in divorce proceedings, she went back to teaching, realizing that was her true calling.
“I learn a lot from my students and their different points of view,” she said.
It’s clear that teaching is what Ms. Oser was meant to do, as many of her students return to take additional classes with her. She keeps in touch long after they leave her classroom, seeing them through career changes, marriage and families, and, for some, law school.
Describing them as “exceptional,” she has a great deal of admiration for her students, many of whom work one or two jobs and carry a full course load in addition to other responsibilities.
Having been there herself, Ms. Oser is able to help them stay on track with their studies if they’re struggling to keep up.
“The whole key is to be approachable. You have to love teaching,” Ms. Oser said. “The student is making a tremendous sacrifice to get educated; I have great respect for that.”
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