Dr. Sue Marston Teaches Jan Term Class on the Grateful Dead

Dr. Marston taught a Jan Term course on the local band, the Grateful Dead.

sue marstonSue Marston, EdD, taught a Jan Term course about the Grateful Dead, an iconic band that was formed in the Bay Area. This seminar-style class is designed to help students gain a better understanding and appreciation of the history of the band, their cultural influence on people both of their time and beyond, and their music spanning four decades. With this class, Dr. Marston aims to introduce a new generation to the music of the Grateful Dead.

“Jan term is exciting because people get to teach outside of their area of specialization and develop new research interests," said Dr. Marston, the Department Chair of the Teacher Education Department at the Kalmanovitz School of Education.

This course features several special events, including a field trip to San Francisco visiting famous and historical landmarks relevant to the history of the band. Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this field trip is virtual; however, the next time this class is taught, this is subject to change based on COVID restrictions. Additionally, the course features several guest speakers and panelists, including Dr. Dennis McNally, who lives in San Francisco and was the Grateful Dead’s publicist for 20 years.

“Students are excited about music in general,” said Dr. Marston, “and I am passionate about helping students place the Grateful Dead in the context of history as well as Dr. McNally's book, A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. This 620 page book is a must-read! It really helps to ground us in the work.”

Students are also given the opportunity to engage in a tie-dye activity where they learn about how to make designs, including spirals and bulls-eyes, with dye on plain white 100% cotton clothing. Each student is provided with a bandana to tie-dye, and can also bring in clothing of their own.

Dr. Sue Marston earned her BA in Economics from Bucknell University, her MA in Education with an emphasis in Environmental Studies from Acadia, and her EdD from the University of Pennsylvania. She continues to do research on the professional development of teachers during early and mid-career. Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, where she taught 10 years in 3rd grade, Dr. Marston has lived in the Bay Area for the past 25 years.

Tie Dyed Bandanas

tie dye activity

Dr. Marston's Top 3 Grateful Dead Songs

I Know You Rider (1966 live version)


I wish I was a headlight, on a northbound train
I wish I was a headlight, on a northbound train
I'd shine my light through cool Colorado rain

Dr. Marston: "This is just a fabulous visual for me (especially with the pictures inserted in this YouTube version)."

Franklin's Tower (1977-05-09 - Buffalo, NY)


Dr. Marston: “I also like Franklin's Tower — a 1977 version from Buffalo is what I have here for you.”

Cassidy (10/31/1980 Radio City Music Hall)


Fare thee well now
Let your life proceed by its own design
Nothing to tell now 
Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine
I'm done with mine

Dr. Marston: "I like the fact that they are speaking directly to me… I also like the lyrics."