This interview series looks at how our colleagues are dealing with these extraordinary times both in and out of the classroom. To stave off future questions, they were, in fact, conducted from my basement.
Full name and title? Christopher S. Vaughen, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Math Department Co-Coordinator
How many years have you been at Montco? 11 years
How has your life changed since the middle of March? I have not been in the car in six weeks, my wife is doing the shopping! I've been busy making videos and grading online assignments.
As a professor, has this transition impacted the way you think about education or how you approach teaching? Yes, I will move toward project-like assignments now - in the absence of proctored exams.
What do you think is key to helping our students successfully navigate this time? To make sure we can establish some routines for getting work done and keeping in touch.
Are you teaching during the summer? What are you thinking/feeling about teaching in the upcoming terms? Yes, I have several classes over the summer. I would much prefer to be back in the classroom, but we'll find some new ways to explore math and communicate and develop intellectually.
What do you think our students are thinking/feeling? Have you spoken with any of them about their future plans for the summer/fall? Some students have contacted me about how the class will work. The big thing in math is the issue of proctored exams. We don't have that right now, with the campus closed - unless we were to use webcams for proctored exams, which I really don't want to do.
If there was one thing you could communicate to all of our students at this time, what would it be? Just to remember all the things you have to be thankful for, and to be patient with yourself, and to help others.
First thing you’ll do when you can move about freely? Sports bar and a cold beer.
Have you heard the one about the two random variables talking in a bar? No.
They thought they were being discrete, but I heard their talking continuously. Yeah, ok, ha-ha.
Biggest misconception people have about math? That it isn't creative and that there is only one way to get an answer and that it isn't really useful (so I guess there are lots of misconceptions).
Song you sing to yourself to know you’re washing your hands for the appropriate amount of time? Oh, gosh, I'm terrible with that…I tried happy birthday once and that was it.
For staying connected to others, Instagram or Facebook? Neither, but I use Twitter and YouTube, and with family it is Zoom and FaceTime.
Any shout outs? Not really.
Any inaccuracies in the above are the fault of my transcription or edits…unless the interviewee lied to me…in which case it’s totally on that individual.