NEWBERRY — Where can you go to hear Newberry College’s professors talk about their research interests? The answer isn’t just “in the classroom.”
The Newberry College Faculty Lecture Series gives members of the Newberry community opportunities to hear professors give presentations about topics that interest them. Subjects ranging from history and science to philosophy, literature and even baseball have been presented in the last few years.
“The series affords the faculty an opportunity to share their research with faculty, staff and students,” said Vinetta Witt, professor of Sociology. “Faculty members learn from their colleagues, and students observe the faculty presenting outside of the classroom.”
The Faculty Lecture Series began in 1999. Sociology professor Dr. Kathlyn Fritz helped put together the series as a way for faculty members to share their research with colleagues.
“Before 1999, faculty members never had a way outside of meetings to share and discuss their research in their respective fields,” said theater professor Matthew Fuller, the current chair of the Faculty Lecture Series. “Kathy Fritz decided to start a lecture series so faculty could share their research.”
At first, the sessions were meant for faculty attendance.
“It’s not that students were not allowed to attend,” Fuller said. “They were just not really asked if they would like to come hear their professors outside the classroom.”
However, when faculty members learned students were interested in attending, efforts were made to encourage student attendance.
“Ever since students have been invited, there have been a fluctuating number of students coming. Sometimes we have as many as 60 or as few as 20,” Fuller said.
The Faculty Lecture Series usually presents four times a year, with two presenters at each session.
“About 50 percent of the current faculty has participated, so we do have a few repeats of faculty members presenting,” Fuller says.
Students appreciate the opportunity to hear not only from familiar professors, but to listen to those with whom they are not familiar.
“I think it is a great way to meet faculty and see what they are interested in,” said freshman Ashley Ramsey.
History professor Nick DiLiberto, who presented at the most recent Faculty Lecture Series event Feb. 5, said the series has great value for students.
“The Faculty Lecture Series demonstrates to students how important topics, both inside and outside academia, can be approached from different disciplines and perspectives,” he said. “It teaches students how one can take the skills out of the classroom and apply them to issues of the present.”