Success in Relevancy: Professors Keeping Their Teaching Relevant

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Professor Matthew Gowans draws the attention of his English 1010 Class by encouraging their  participation. Photo taken by Adam Allred

Professor Matthew Gowans draws the attention of his English 1010 Class by encouraging their
participation. Photo taken by Adam Allred

A question commonly asked by college students: “What does this class have to do with my major?” At the same time, professors at Snow College are asking themselves a corresponding question: “What can I do to teach what is relevant to my student’s success?”


Here, professors make teaching what is relevant to the success of their students a top priority. Instead of spending most of their time with their own research, teachers are busy finding ways to teach what will prepare students for future opportunities.

Students have a unique opportunity to have hands-on learning experiences, even when they’re not fully qualified. Snow TV Professor Gary Chidester teaches students how to setup, film, and edit television material themselves, with help from Chidester and other team leaders.

Allowing students to work with professional film equipment is worth the risk to Chidester. Chidester says to his students on their first day, “You’ll gain experience right now that students in bigger universities don’t have until their junior or senior year. Through trying different things, you’ll learn what you like and see what you want to go in to.” There is no final test in the Snow TV Class, grades come from participation.

Every Snow College professor loves class participation. “I don’t want this to be a boring lecture,” English Professor Matthew Gowans says to his students. “I want this to be a class discussion where we can all learn from each other. I know that you want to come out of this class with a good grade. I hope you also want to come out of this class a better writer.”

Teachers here direct class discussions, but always seek for the input of students. The phrase “a question is worth a thousand words” often rings true in their classrooms. The grades that the students achieve are seen as much more than mere letters, to teachers they also reflect a semester full of learning together.

Students learn to work together with a group and individually. A very large group in the school is the A Capella Choir. Choir Director Dr. Michael Huff is an optimistic leader, and while many of the choir members differ in choral experience, Huff directs in such a way that the singers work together to become better. “We’re solving problems right and left, we’re finding solutions right and left,” Huff says. “I love this choir!”

Teachers at Snow College care about the success of their students. When asked about what she likes most about her professors, student Bailey Simons said, “I like how they’re so willing to help out! They want you to do your best and succeed!”

Smaller class sizes enable teachers to have a more personal connection with their students. Teachers spend many hours grading, preparing, and working one on one with students. When asked why the success of his students is important to him, Public Speech Professor Brach Schlueter replied, “There’s nothing better. Seeing a student succeed or come back to thank me is worth more than any paycheck.”

Teachers want the very best for their students and will do all they can to help their students succeed. Students at Snow College have the potential to take advantage of these great opportunities.

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