After an unusual 18 months of blended education, distance working and navigating university life during a pandemic, Wesleyan faculty and staff are hungry for some normalcy this fall. In this News @ Wesleyan article, we tell several employees about what they look forward to the most in the fall semester of 2021.
Morgan keller became director of international student affairs on August 23 after stints at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Santa Cruz and Clemson University. He heard about Wesleyan from his cousin, Adam Keller ’14, who spoke favorably about college during his time here as a film major.
“This fall, I am delighted to meet the new international students and those who are continuing and to get a feel for the different ways we can support them in a holistic way,” he said. “I would like to create extracurricular initiatives and opportunities to increase the engagement of our international students with their American peers and strengthen their sense of belonging to the campus community. “
As a newbie in New England, Keller also looks forward to experiencing the fall season in Connecticut and attending agricultural festivals and fairs with his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 9.
This autumn, Abderrahman Aïssa, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Arabic, teaches Elementary Arabic, Intermediate Arabic, Advanced Arabic, and a new course from the Fries Center for Global Studies — Introduction to Tamazight: The Native Language of North Africa and Beyond. This course will introduce students to the language and culture of the Amazigh people, an ethnic group native to North and West Africa. The Tamazight language has been written for almost 3000 years.
“I look forward to being with my students in class and hopefully returning to a completely normal teaching and learning environment,” he said. “I am also looking forward to teaching Introduction to Tamazight for the first time, especially since this language is virtually unknown in American college curricula.”
Emily gorlewski, director of the Office of Studies Abroad, is delighted that at least 35 students will be able to go abroad again this fall, some of whom have applied for three semesters and have been prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a long road to get here,” she said. “The students who go there have been through a lot and persevered, so they really are our intrepid souls. We hope that even more students will be able to study abroad in the spring of 2022. ”
Colin Smith, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, will be teaching his first year CHEM 143: Principles of Chemistry this fall.
“I look forward to having all the students on campus and being able to attend my lectures in person,” he said. “I will also be teaching on Zoom simultaneously for all students who are not comfortable / able to be in class, or who might have difficulty getting out of their dorm before the 8:50 am start time! I taught the same way last year and got great feedback from the students.
Instead of the 360-degree cameras available last year, Smith plans to carry an iPad and AirPods to capture himself and take notes on the board in the Exley 150 boardroom.
“The students found it very useful to have recordings of all the lectures,” he said.
For Heather brooke, Special Assistant to the President, being back in person with her colleagues and classmates (she’s also a Bachelor of Liberal Studies student!) is the most welcome change of the fall semester. “I’m taking undergraduate classes in person in a classroom for the first time this semester, so I’m very excited about it, but also very nervous. I already felt old doing this on Zoom last year, now they’ll be able to see all the wrinkles!
“It’s nice for all of us to be back in the President’s office at the same time. We had walked in and out before we were vaccinated, but the restrictions on how many people could be in physical space at the same time were tough, ”she said. “Even in May, as we approached Beginning, we knew who was coming in and when. Now we can all be together even if we have to be masked!
Brooke recalls the convocation on August 24, when all of the staff gathered again in the Mink Dining Room.
“It was very emotional to get together rather than meeting on Zoom,” she said. “I even met a colleague in person for the first time when I had already worked together for months!
In addition to serving his 14th year as president this fall, Michael Roth ’78 will teach FILM 360: Philosophy and films: the past in cinema.
“Although I taught in person last year, I missed so much to celebrate the achievements of students, staff and faculty in person,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the students participate in the full range of extracurricular activities, from athletics to theater, poster sessions to art installations, as we pick up the pace. “
Laura Ann Twagira, Associate Professor of History, will teach HIST: 267: Development in Question – Conservation in Africa and HIST302: Reproductive Policy and the Family in Africa this fall.
“Back on campus, I can’t wait to see the students of the online course I taught last spring. As a personal teacher for the fall, I am also delighted with the class discussions and group screenings of films in my two classes.
Outside of the classroom, Twagira is “delighted” with the reopening of the Ubuntu House. “This is a dedicated space for Africa, and one of the many places where students will build community on campus,” she said.
Jeffrey Gilarde, director of scientific imagery, is also Wesleyan’s chief golf coach. The 2021-22 season kicks off September 8 against Eastern Connecticut State in Middlefield, Connecticut, and September 11 at the Duke Nelson Invitational in Middlebury, Vermont.
“I am looking forward to the golf season,” he said. “We have a strong team this year and we should be doing well. “
Wesleyan is delighted to welcome our faculty, staff and students to campus this fall with a 95% vaccination rate for COVID-19. All campus services and activities will revert to pre-pandemic operations. Given the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, even a vaccinated campus like ours will not be immune to infection. Please do your part to keep Wes safe.