The Society of Sewanee Scholars (SOSS) held its annual “Best Teaching Practices” reception and dinner at Chen Hall on the Monday leading into Spring Break (March 4), celebrating Sewanee’s commitment to lively teaching and the joy of learning.
The teachers whom members of the SOSS wanted to honor this year for their significant contributions to the student learning experiences were: Tam Carlson (English), Chris Conn (Philosophy), Melody Crowder-Meyer (Political Science), Pamela Macfie (English), Chris McDonough (Classical Languages), Emily Puckette (Mathematics & Computer Science), Stephen Shaver (Forestry & Geology), and Alyssa Summers (Biology & Biochemistry).
Two teachers were invited to speak about the powerful and transformative impact that faculty can have on students and students on faculty. Tam Carlson recalled the classroom titans of his undergraduate years at Sewanee and gave a moving tribute to their dedication to higher education and the invaluable guidance they offered along the way. Alyssa Summers recounted three different project assignments—including one involving genomics (looking at the big genetic picture rather than at single elements) in which students achieved outstanding results by drawing on their previous areas of training and applying it to this new field of inquiry.
Their remarks were followed by a dinner where students had a chance to get to know their teachers and administrators better. Members of the university administration in attendance, in addition to John and Bonnie McCardell, were Nancy Berner (associate provost), John Gatta (dean of the College), Eric Hartman (dean of students), and Larry Jones (associate dean of the College).
The Society of Sewanee Scholars seeks to highlight each year different teachers who demonstrate compassionate and innovative approaches to learning. This dinner is part of an ongoing effort sponsored by the SOSS to generate important conversations between and among students, teachers, and administrators about creative and thoughtful pedagogy.
- William Engel