BY KIT HAIST – STAFF WRITER
The presence of professors and faculty on Centre’s campus eases interactions with students. For visiting professors, being on campus temporarily may disadvantage them from connecting with the wider community.
The Cento continues its tradition of amending this potential problem and would like to welcome three new professors to campus for the 2018-2019 academic year: Dr. Drew Morris, Professor Kathleen Hall, and Dr. Jean Faye.
Visiting Professor of Psychology Dr. Morris first started in his field of applied psychology during graduate school not through research experiments or surveys, but cars. “I worked with the automotive department [at Clemson University] and eventually did work for BMW,” he related, “From there I was hooked on the psychology of cars and the role of self-driving cars in society.”
In contrast to Morris, Professor Hall’s interest in her respective field of art sprang from a less academic place. “I come from a family of artists, so drawing and painting have always been a part of my life,” she explained. Hall elaborated how although she wanted to keep her “options open,” it became clear after she graduated from college that painting was her destined vocation.
Like Hall, tenured Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Dr. Faye has a personal connection to his field. “Growing up in Senegal, I have witnessed environmental problems first hand,” Faye said. While the government and businesses were advising farmers, he thought it best for someone within the community to learn himself or herself how to farm “in [their] delicate environment with little rainfall, sandy soil, and overproduction of mono-cash cropping of peanuts.” This outlook led him to study the relationship between indigenous and modern systems of sustainability.
Although they teach in three different areas of study, Hall, Morris, and Faye all agree on why they came to Centre: the atmosphere. “Centre students are smarter, work harder, and care more than other students at other schools,” Morris relayed. “Don’t tell UK that though,” he jested.
Faye added that besides Centre’s excellence in teaching he was drawn to the college’s “interdisciplinary perspective, prestigious study abroad program, and promotion of diversity and inclusion.”
“I was drawn to Centre because of the supportive environment of faculty and students,” Hall stated.
As a teacher, Hall enjoys “seeing students surprise themselves and grow in their work.” The concept of someone either having or lacking the “artistic gift” is not part of her philosophy. “So much of it is very concrete and eminently learnable,” she explained. Like Hall, student engagement is integral to Morris’ enjoyment of teaching. “Students experiences, viewpoints, and opinions make the material far more meaningful for everyone,” he stated.
Faye’s teaching emphasizes the “big picture” like environmental challenges and the impact of climate change. “It also helps address and introduce environmental justice and sustainability science tools to students for the benefit of humanity,” he added.
Beliefs on teaching are separate from application, so how are the professors’ respective first few weeks going? While she still feels like she’s gaining her bearings, Hall affirmed how kind and helpful everyone has been. “At this point, I think I know how to locate most of the objects and equipment I need in JVAC so that’s good,” she joked.
Morris responded: “You know that scene in Iron Man where Tony finally gets the suit to work? A lot like that.”
“It’s pretty hectic but fun,” Faye quipped.
Although they’re passionate about teaching, all three professors’ lives don’t revolve solely around the classroom.
Dr. Faye enjoys playing soccer and is fluent in three languages besides English: French, Wolof and Sener.
Morris thinks most of his colleagues would be surprised to learn that he “did sailing and fencing in college on the off chance the opportunity arose to be a pirate.”
“Still waiting,” he added.
If she couldn’t teach or paint Hall would like to get involved in filmmaking. “On occasion, I make short stop-motion films with a friend of mine,” she elaborated, “I like the idea of working as a collaborative team, because painting can be a very solitary activity.”
So, help welcome our visiting professors by stopping by to chat about stop-motion with Professor Hall, soccer with Dr. Faye, or what Dr. Morris’ first expedition would be as a pirate.