Provost works with faculty to avoid cancelations, promote alternative learning
On Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Hamilton Auditorium will sit empty for the majority of November after Fine Arts Professor Gordon Strain revised his public speaking course’s schedule.
Strain—a freelance designer and production design manager for “The Good Catholic,” an independent film released in September—changed the class’s schedule to co-produce a new movie, “Miss White Light.”
However, Strain said his classes are “adjusted,” not canceled.
His public speaking students will complete coursework online and submit their speeches in video format in November, rather than meeting during the scheduled class time.
“Public speaking is a vital, crucial skill,” Strain said. “But, it’s changed. Submitting a speech online is a very relevant skill.”
Strain said the move was approved after making arrangements with Provost and Dean of the College Lori Schroeder.
Schroeder, who says she met with Strain over the summer, approved the plan on the grounds that students still receive a quality learning experience.
She said the college does everything possible to prevent a course from being canceled outright in these situations, from finding an adjunct professor to methods that resemble Strain’s online assignments.
The college does this because it is difficult to compensate students for their time and academic credit if a course is canceled indefinitely, Schroeder said.
Franklin College’s Faculty Handbook outlines its policy on these types of absences.
“The faculty member will not unavoidably miss or regularly abbreviate classes and will notify his/her students and the office of the Provost as far in advance as possible,” the policy reads.
While only his theatre students are required to visit set, Strain invited his public speaking students to do the same if they choose. He also offered internships to select students.
“This is a huge educational learning opportunity,” he said. “The movie serves everyone.”
Sophomore Amber Antczak, a student in Strain’s public speaking class, said she was “shocked” by the move.
“I was kind of shocked at first that a professor would cancel like an entire month of class,” she said. “But then I realized that it would give me more time.”
Antczak also described the online format as Strain’s “only solution.”
Schroeder emphasized the importance of Strain’s work as students consider his absence.
“I’m hopeful that students do also understand that this isn’t a frivolous absence that Professor Strain is engaged in,” she said. “What he’s doing is highly important work to him and, by extension, the students who benefit from a Franklin education.”