'Feasting with Faculty' creates connections between students and instructors
(From left) Statistics faculty member Ellen Gundlach and students Courtney Woods and Jodie Cha finish up a "Feastiing with Faculty" meeting.
For the past year, Purdue University College of Science faculty have found a delicious and nutritious way to connect with students in their large lecture halls — take them to lunch. A handful of professors from Statistics, Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics invite their students to lunch at nearby dining halls for informal discussions and good eats.
Stats lecturer Ellen Gundlach says the "Feasting with Faculty" program is an easy and fun way to get to know her students. And once the initial nervousness goes away, the students feel more dialed in during classes after these lunches.
Gundlach took two sophomores in her STAT 113 class to Windsor Dining Hall. While chicken and dumplings were on special, Jodie Cha and Courtney Woods learned that their lecturer was on the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls roller berby team in 2012, and she worked at a movie theater when she was in school, just like Woods’ part-time job at Wabash Landing 9. Also during the lunch, Cha mentioned her cousin is a ref for a roller derby team in Washington state and he married a skater on the team. That's two commonalities the students and faculty member would have never known if not for "Feasting with Faculty."
It was an enlightening meeting as both instructor and student came away with more of a connection than they would just sitting in a 500-seat lecture hall.
Students are encouraged to sign up with their instructor for these weekly lunches. Gundlach’s meals are from noon to a little before 1 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Other faculty involved in the “Feasting” program include Mathematics’ Joe Chen, Tim Delworth, Ben Wiles and Owen Davis; Biological Sciences’ David Bos and Jason Lanman; Chen Yang from Physics; and Cindy Harwood and John Polles of Chemistry.