Faculty make move into student territory

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Dr. Cliff Toliver, assistant professor of English, said being a student in the classroom again is a “humbling” experience.

Scott Hasty

Many Missouri Southern faculty members are taking advantage of the free foreign language courses offered to them by the University.

“The best approach to knowing the language is taking these classes,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, head of the Institute of International Studies.

There are many reasons faculty members are taking these courses.

For Dr. Jay Moorman, head of the communication department, interest played a key role in his decision to take Chinese.

“I’ve taken a number of courses in Mandarin Chinese,” he said.

“Doing something like this, it’s something that you have to work at when you are not hearing it around you all the time. I wanted to brush up on my skills before I go back to Taiwan.”

Stephanie Goad, international student advisor, said learning French helps her in many ways.

“I’m taking French because I’m going on a trip to France this summer,” Goad said. “I thought it would be nice if I knew some of the terminology, such as if I wanted deliver the proper pleasantries myself.”

For Dr. Cliff Toliver, assistant professor of English, his motivation to take Spanish came from an international experience in Mexico.

“Last spring, I went with the faculty to Mexico and realized that I was missing a lot of what the world had to offer,” Toliver said.

“So at the urging of Chad Stebbins I signed up for Spanish 101, and this summer I’m taking Spanish 102.”

For faculty taking these courses, it is no easy chore.

“Foreign language takes more time if you want to learn it,” Goad said.

Being in a student’s “shoes,” some faculty members said this has been full of new experiences for them.

“I have renewed respect for how difficult it was and is to be a student,” Toliver said.

“Honestly, I think being a student will help me be a better teacher.”

“I can’t discuss philosophy or politics, but I can say I’d like something to drink,” Moorman said.

Goad said taking these classes has other benefits.

“If anything, these classes teach you time management skills and to always meet your deadlines,” she said.

For these “students,” learning a foreign language doesn’t end in a one-semester course.

“I want to continue taking these courses to ensure I don’t have a gap in my education,” Goad said.

Toliver said he has a commitment to receive a degree.

“I hope that in five years, I will speak Spanish acceptably well and complete my Spanish degree here at Southern,” Toliver said.