Jessie Robbins · December 1, 2018
Student, faculty and staff gathered in the Knight Arena at Southern Virginia University on Friday to honor and hear from three of the University’s top professors.
Students completed a survey prior to Thanksgiving that asked them to vote for the professor who has lifted, encouraged or helped them most in the past semester. Following the voting, Alan Whitehead, Doug Cheney and Dallin Lewis were announced as the Professors of the Semester.
Alan Whitehead, professor of psychology, spoke about how our experiences change us and why teaching at Southern Virginia University has been meaningful to him.
“I have changed because of my experiences teaching and learning with you,” he said, noting how teaching has led to personal growth. “What is so great about Southern Virginia? For me, it’s me. And I hope that for you, it is you.”
Whitehead, who was voted most likely to become a teacher by his high school peers, has two rules for his classroom. The first is to have fun and be happy. The second is to take something with you that you learned every day. “Are you different from your experiences? If not, what’s the point?”
Professor of Math Doug Cheney discussed his motivation for being at Southern Virginia University. “I am here to lift students,” he said, “Teaching math is a means to that end.”
Cheney expressed his gratitude for teaching in an environment that is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ and noted how it has influenced his classes. “The Savior taught that there are second chances. In my classes, there are second chances, but there are no shortcuts,” he said.
Dallin Lewis, professor of English, spoke of the important outcomes of a college education, including learning to think critically and act based on principles and values that we hold dear.
Speaking of Frederick Douglass, a slave born in 1818 who became a celebrated abolitionist and statesman, Lewis said, “What Douglass shows us is that our education must not only confront the truth but help us remain loyal. It is not enough for truth to be known. It must be loved and lived.”
“We do all of the studying to engage with the world and deepen our commitment to truth and goodness,” Lewis said, “That is why we study The Book of Mormon next to ‘Paradise Lost,’ why we serve in a community while preparing for exams, and why we commit to a code of honor while broadening our horizons. We do this to see things as they really are.”