Every week, Hiram College News will profile one faculty member. Check back at the beginning of each week for the new profile.
This week, we feature Brad Goodner, professor of biology; Edward J. Smerek Chair of Mathematics, the Sciences, & Technology; and Director of Center for Deciphering Life’s Languages.
I just finished my eleventh year at Hiram, and I can still remember when I interviewed here. What set that interview apart was the close-knit interactions between faculty and students that I observed. I appreciated the fact that students felt very comfortable interacting with faculty in a wide variety of settings, both in the classroom and outside the classroom. That gave me confidence that I could come here and make a real difference, and I can gladly say that atmosphere has been maintained in my time here at Hiram.
I would … tell students that Hiram is a place to really pursue your passions. What I mean by that is it goes beyond the typical just thinking about a major. What I really love about Hiram, it’s a place where a student, say in biology, but who also has another love of art or a language or political science, can merge those in some really unique ways. I think that allows them to both get more out of what they learn here at Hiram, but I think it also maybe more importantly sets them up to really be unique when they leave here.
It is small, but inviting. It’s a place that you feel comfortable walking around immediately. It’s a very safe, friendly place. I have two younger girls and they have grown up here in Hiram. They love being on this campus and I love for them to just be able to walk around. They know people and love to interact with faculty, staff and students. It is a place that knows its history and it’s connected to history, and yet wants to stay very current. I think that combination makes it a really fun place to be.
Microbiology at Hiram is a three-week class and incredibly intense. Those students are with me six to eight hours a day, and it is a class and research experience and internship all rolled up into one. People laugh when I tell them, but I tell them with all truthfulness that my students and I each need two or three weeks to decompress after that course, because it is so intense. I feel like my students walk out of there as working microbiologists, and I can’t ask for more than that, in terms of what that three-week really allows. I also know across our campus the three-week allows for some really innovative teaching and learning experiences for our students by not only being on campus but moving away from campus. I have yet to take advantage of that in a big way, but I am currently looking forward to the future where I can take a group of students and go somewhere to talk about some topic of interest to me, but to give them the chance to experience it in a different place.
If I had to say the one thing about our students that changes the most, is that the incoming Hiram students appreciate this small size and feeling of being at Hiram, but they may not at first see themselves as being that competitive top notch student who is going to go out and compete for the best graduate school or professional school or so forth. … By the time they finish, our students see themselves as being very competitive. What I love about that, is that it’s done in the right way. They know what they know, and they also know what they still need to work on, what they don’t know. They have a lot of experiences that allow them to really get across how well-rounded they are. I think that allows them then to be incredibly competitive to move on to the next level. To me that is one of the greatest transitions that I think we help young people accomplish while they are here.