As faculty lined up on Alumni Walk in full academic regalia before Opening Convocation, we asked some of them to look ahead to the courses they’re most excited to teach this fall.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Geneva Laurita. (Theophil Syslo)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Geneva Laurita. (Theophil Syslo)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Geneva Laurita chatted with colleagues under one of Alumni Walk’s many birch trees. She’s excited to teach “Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry,” which deals with carbon-free materials like metals.

Long required for majors, the course will have a lab component this year.

In fact, the new lab component was designed last spring as part of a Short Term program known as “Course (Re)Design,” which gives faculty the chance to create a new course or redesign and existing one.

In Laurita’s case, she and students under her guidance worked together to develop the course’s new lab experiments, giving her future students the opportunity for hands-on experience and exploration of research techniques.

Across the way, Lecturer in Theater Cliff Odle and Associate Professor of Theater Chris McDowell waited on a cast-stone bench for the Convocation procession to begin.

Odle is teaching an introductory playwriting course — one step, he says, toward building up the college’s playwriting program. He wants students to submit plays to the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Odle is teaching an introductory playwriting course — one step, he says, towards building up the college’s playwriting program. The class is “where we’ll find out who the drivers are,” Odle said. Last year, one of Odle’s students sent an original play to an important playwriting conference.

In addition to his playwriting course, Lecturer in Theater Clifford Odle (center right) teaches a First Year Seminar, “Politics and Performance on Stage and Screen,” shown in the Fireplace Lounge of Commons, as well as a beginning acting course. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

The class is where budding playwrights start to shine. “We’ll find out who the drivers are,” Odle said.

Last year, one of Odle’s students sent an original play to an important playwriting conference.

McDowell, meanwhile, is teaching “Pattern Drafting and Draping” to aspiring designers.

“It uses a part of the brain that students don’t always get to tap into,” she said. “It’s analytical and mathematical, but it also involves creation.”

As the 11 a.m. start of Convocation approached, more and more faculty filled Alumni Walk. Stephanie Wade, a lecturer in humanities and assistant director of Writing at Bates, is teaching “Feed Your Mind: Food Justice and Community Gardens,” a First Year Seminar where new students will work in — as well as write about — local community gardens.

“I love seeing my students learn about community and about each other through food,” Wade said.

“It’s exciting and frightening how much is relevant.”

Professor of Politics Stephen Engel. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Professor of Politics Stephen Engel. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Finally, the academic procession stepped off toward the Historic Quad.

Professor of Politics Stephen Engel walked and talked about his upcoming course on constitutional law, which will examine timely topics like presidential pardon power, and how it might or might not apply to a president pardoning himself.

“It’s exciting and frightening how much is relevant,” Engel said.

View Comments