By Meghan Smith
Throughout my college career, one professor has stood out to me, and that was Dr. Becki Bowman. Bowman has an autoimmune disease which has led her to teach solely from home. She received the annual teaching award for tenured faculty this year at McPherson College. Even though Bowman has been off-campus, students know she has been working hard to keep the personal and hands-on experience that McPherson College is known for.
Bowman feels like this hasn’t been the best year, but she is making the best of it. She thinks that everyone learns better in the classroom, but that wasn’t an option for her and her students this year. Bowman has worked to reinvent what she is teaching in an attempt to engage students online without assignments feelings like busywork. While this semester and Bowman’s situation haven’t been ideal, she is still working hard to make connections with students and use technology to help. She has been impressed with how students are dealing with the changes and the different class schedules.
“One of the biggest challenges is trying to find a way to make connections and get students to answer questions.” Bowman said that she has found breakout rooms and small groups to be successful when learning online. She also talked about how she has had to constantly rewrite her lesson plans for every course, update all of the technology she uses, and try to get students engaged and involved.
Becki Bowman was a part of the conversation about how McPherson College would respond to the pandemic. Everyone on the committee was thinking about the best interest of the entire campus, including students and professors. They also discussed how students, staff, and faculty will be impacted if they are brought back to campus or if they are purely virtual. The committee tried to follow the top medical and scientific advice while providing the most beneficial learning experience. Bowman thinks that McPherson College’s response must be working since we have only had six cases out of our 800+ student body. She believes that students are doing well with policies around campus and classrooms, and that staff and faculty are putting in 200%. Although there isn’t a perfect solution to what colleges should be doing, Bowman thinks that McPherson College’s approach has been successful and hopes classes will stay in person.
This is in response to Prompt #6 from Campus ReBoot, an interactive documentary in collaboration with the University of Hartford and other colleges and universities in the US, China, and Australia. For more information and to see other responses, please visit the Campus ReBoot website here: https://susancardillo.wixsite.com/campusreboot