[VIDEO] Centre faculty discuss plans for fall semester

In the midst of COVID-19, Centre College faculty have been hard at work to determine how to best teach their classes whether their students are in person or online. To help share some of these plans, the College created a series of videos featuring a number of faculty members being interviewed by H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics John Wilson, who also serves as the faculty president.

“Throughout the summer, when faculty members have been spending so much time thinking about how to teach their fall classes, we thought it would be good for the students to hear some of these thoughts directly from their professors,” Wilson said.

Since Centre’s overall approach to the fall semester is “maximum flexibility,” Wilson said almost all of the faculty have developed some level of remote delivery for their courses.

“In some ways, Centre professor’s approach is entirely new as we find ways to enable students to learn, in person and remotely, synchronously and asynchronously,” said H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics Alex McAllister, associate dean of the College. “In other ways, our approach hasn’t changed at all: we’re completely invested in helping students become better—as thinkers, learners, writers, speakers and people.”

As a professor, Wilson said the most difficult thing about planning in the midst of a global pandemic is the uncertainty of it all.

“This kind of planning has been super challenging in lots of ways, and so it has called on our creativity in important ways too, as we’ve tried to figure out how to adapt what works so well in normal circumstances to these new ways of teaching and being in the world,” McAllister added.

It’s a general consensus that Centre’s faculty are looking forward to interacting with their students again, and they credit Robyn Cutright, interim director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, for helping them prepare through series of workshops over the summer.

“I told my students in the spring, when it became clear that we were all going to be going home for the rest of the term, that even though it was going to be quite different, they were still going to learn a lot,” Wilson said. “They were still going to think about important ideas. They were still going to accomplish great things. The same is true this fall. If anything, the consequences of a global pandemic will provide seeds for many deep discussions and motivation to solve very difficult problems. The broad liberal arts education our students receive is exactly what is needed to face the challenges ahead.”

McAllister wants students to know that the faculty care about them, they want the students to learn well—richly and deeply—and they’ll work together to make that happen.

“Parts of this fall are going to come together incredibly well for all of us and the things that don’t, well, we’ll work through them together,” he concluded.

Faculty Videos: 
Associate Professor of Philosophy Eva Cadavid
Assistant Professor of Spanish Laura Chinchilla
Assistant Professor of Biology Amanda Falk
Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts Jennifer Goff
Associate Professor of English John Kinkade
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Prayat Poudel
Associate Professor of Economics Ravi Radhakrishnan
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jamie Shenton
Charles T. Hazelrigg Associate Professor of Anthropology Robyn Cutright

By Kerry Steinhofer
August 20, 2020

Header image: Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics John Wilson, faculty president, speaks with Charles T. Hazelrigg Associate Professor of Anthropology Robyn Cutright.