Get to know your professors at WBU
Here at Williams Baptist University, we consider ourselves more of a family than simply a University. We pride ourselves on our ability to form close relationships between students and professors through Christ-centered education. This blog is created to help alleviate some of the stress incoming freshmen may be feeling when transitioning to college classes. After getting to know your professors at Williams, not only will the task of tackling college coursework become less daunting, it will be easier to form a close relationship with your professors in order to gain the best college experience possible. (Going to them for help when you need it won’t be nearly as intimidating!)
Professor: Chris Hair
Classes Taught: Composition I and II, World Literature I and II, British Literature, Shakespeare, Modern Drama
This is Professor Hair’s first year at WBU, but he has already demonstrated how much he truly values the education of his students through his understanding of literature and the gospel.
An interview with the professor himself!
What made you want to become a professor at WBU?
The people–both the students and the faculty/staff. I believe Christian higher education is needed now more than ever, as it leads us to see the unity of God’s truth in the many disciplines offered at WBU.
What has changed the most since you started working here?
Not much since this is my first year.
What are your teaching philosophy and class management style?
My goal is to inspire students to think for themselves and to actively seek to learn. I can provide them with new information to consider and new ways of seeing, but this knowledge is useless if they hand it back to me without internalizing and processing it themselves. Students must have their own opinions and be able to defend these positions before they can successfully negotiate the perspectives of others. To this end, my pedagogy includes a combination of lecture, group work, discussion, student presentations, and writing. I walk through the learning process with the students, but they should wrestle with ideas and engage the thoughts of others.
What are the benefits of teaching smaller classes?
With small classes, I get to know the students and draw them out more. We are able to work together to learn–small classes allow collaboration and dialogue.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I enjoy learning new things and find myself repeatedly renewed by the insights and energy of college students.
What made you want to pursue the profession?
In Matthew 22, when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And the second is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” I love the Lord my God and worship him by seeking and celebrating God through his gift of words.
God chose to reveal Himself through words. First, He chose to reveal Himself through the words of Scripture, choosing to inspire regular humans to write narratives and poetry. Narratives—stories—tell about the human experience: our interactions with each other, with the world, with God. And they also show how we try to make sense of those experiences.
Poetry exposes human emotions, what makes us all common, our struggles, our victories, our perceptions. When I read stories and poems, I am studying a gift God has given to connect us to each other and to point back to Him. I worship by participating in one of God’s chosen ways of connecting with us.
Secondly, and more importantly, God revealed Himself through the Word made flesh. The Word, through whom all things were made, came to speak directly to us. He spoke in parables and stories, metaphors, and paradoxes.
The metaphors, parables, and paradoxes describe that which is beyond our grasp. The ineffable—those things that can’t be described—are described through comparison.
Therefore, I worship God by seeking the indescribable in the description.
by exploring the reality of the metaphor.
by imbibing the truth in the paradox.
How do you incorporate your Christian worldview into your lesson?
In studying literature, I seek the slivers of truth embedded in our attempts at communicating meaning and attempt to guide my students to these glimpses of the truth in human creations. By studying how others have attempted to grasp these truths in writing, we connect with others and seek the ultimate truth through the fragments–these should lead us to God, who is the source of all Truth.
Have you taught anywhere before coming to WBU? If so, how did that experience help you in your teaching here?
I have taught at a number of schools, including Christian schools (such as Baylor and Oklahoma Baptist University) and public universities (such as University of Kentucky and Oklahoma State University). These experiences have shaped my pedagogy and understanding of students. At every step, I have picked up tips and approaches, but most of all I have learned that truth is not confined to one idea or one discipline. Instead, God gave us math, science, the humanities, and the social sciences as different perspectives on the same truth–that all we learn leads back to him.
What advice can you give incoming freshmen?
I think the most important advice I can give to freshmen is that they have the opportunity to learn from various disciplines and various people throughout their years here and that they should grab hold of the opportunity with both hands. What you get out of your college experience is in proportion to what you put in, so if you passively float through and expect education to happen to you, you will likely get little. If you engage with your classes and learn from your professors, coaches, and fellow students, you will have an experience that will transform your life.
What activities or hobbies do you do outside of work?
I read (as one might think) and I like to exercise by walking, hiking, and running. I enjoy watching sports, as well.
If you had to pick another profession, what would it be?
I don’t know, honestly. I might be a writer, but maybe that’s not really a different profession. I think I might like to be someone who helped shape the messages that a company wants to get across–so maybe PR, editing, or business writing.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I get to work with young, energetic people, and I get to read and talk about literature and writing!
What can students expect from you during class?
They can expect me to be interested in them learning. I truly want to help them come to a better understanding of something–and I want them to succeed.