New Faculty Member Says Students are ‘Rising to the Occasion’

The Political Science Department at The University of Scranton welcomed a new assistant professor this year.

Professor JoyAnna Hopper, PhD.

JoyAnna Hopper, Ph.D. began her career as an assistant professor at The University of Scranton this past summer. Before teaching at Scranton, she worked as a graduate professor at the University of Missouri and an assistant professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Professor Hopper currently teaches introductory American politics courses, including a class that covers U.S. politics, citizenship and principles as well as a class that covers the U.S. Congress. Hopper said that her favorite classes to teach are the ones dealing with policy.

“I love all of my classes, but I really like teaching my policy classes [because] that’s my area of specialization,” Hopper said.

Professor Hopper is teaching both of her classes online this semester. She said that teaching online is a brand-new experience, but that it’s worked out so far.

“I feel OK about it because the online environment is allowing me to see [my students’] faces, where I wouldn’t actually be able to see [them] in a classroom,” Hopper said.

She said that her students have been engaged in the material, despite the virtual format.

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Scranton Welcomes New Biology Professor to Campus

If you’re a returning student, the start of a new school year is filled with familiar faces. Although we recognize first-years and transfer students, we don’t often don’t think about another group that is just settling in: newly hired faculty.

Dr. Galen performs research in Alaska on the study of birds and parasites.

Spencer Galen, Ph.D. is one of those new professors. He teaches General Biology and General Physiology Lab at Scranton. This is his first full-time job as a professor.

“It has been a dream of mine to become a professor for many years,” Dr. Galen said, “It is thrilling to finally be living that reality.”

This semester, Dr. Galen is teaching both of his classes with a hybrid method of some in-person meetings and some online. Dr. Galen said he wanted to have some in-person interaction while also reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission for both his students and himself.

“My thought was that hybrid teaching would be a good balance between these two goals, though it has not been without challenges,” Dr. Galen said.

The current situation has made Dr. Galen more aware of his students’ varying needs.

“Some people have been affected more than others by the pandemic,” Dr. Galen said, “I have tried to keep that in mind this semester.”

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