This school year William Jewell College has seen some major changes in the Spanish department. The department of languages, led by Dr. Susan Myers, has taken on two new faculty members: Dr. David Lisenby and Dr. Robert Wells. In addition to the new faculty, there have also been some changes in the teaching and materials of Spanish courses.
Dr. Lisenby decided to join the WJC faculty for his 13th year of teaching. Previously, he taught at Baker University, University of Albany, University of Kansas (KU) as a graduate student and at a high school in the Denver area. Before teaching, Lisenby worked for a civil engineering company for one year in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and earned his Masters and PhD in Spanish Literature from KU in 2012.
As for Dr. Wells, he has been teaching Spanish at the university level for over 11 years. Before coming to Jewell, he was assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for four years. Wells completed his bachelor’s in Spanish and English at KU and earned his Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Wells has been published in journals such as “Bulletin of Hispanic Studies,” Política común” and “Rethinking Marxism.”
Both professors are excited about being able to teach at Jewell.
“I have most enjoyed the strong sense of community and identity that I’ve come to find here, along with my time spent with students and colleagues,” said Wells.
Since joining the faculty at WJC, Lisenby has found that he admires Jewell’s values and is happy to be a part of the community here.
“At a number of events this year, some campus-wide and some faculty-only, I have been impressed by Jewell’s serious commitment to bettering itself by carefully examining areas where growth is needed while also celebrating Jewell’s many, many successes,” said Lisenby.
They have especially appreciated their experiences in their Spanish classes.
“In classes from the 100-level through the senior capstone, I’ve been impressed by students’ eagerness to learn, openness to new ideas and experiences and desire to be challenged to meet rigorous but achievable goals,” said Lisenby.
The Spanish Department is in a unique position since they have taken on two new faculty members. This means that they’ve gained new ideas. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in reading material and learning activities.
“So far, we’ve changed the books for our 100-level and 200-level classes and have also redesigned SPA 315,” said Wells.
The redesign to SPA 315 will aim for students to have a deeper and more critical understanding of the cultural and literary studies related to the Hispanic world.
Wells and Lisenby have also decided to make some changes in order for students to their iPads and other online sources more when learning and studying.
“The new digital materials allow us to make good use of students’ iPads with eBook access and online learning activities,” said Lisenby.
The department also plans on continuing the inclusion of service learning projects within the courses. While continuing to implement this part of the classes, they have decided to change some of the options that students have for service learning projects. For example, students that are taking SPA 212 this semester will be completing a community-based learning project by creating a digital story-telling archive through interviewing Spanish speaking members of our community.