HPU English Students Engage in Experiential Learning Opportunities

Allison Walker, instructor of English in High Point University’s David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences, engaged her students with unique experiential learning opportunities this semester during the pandemic. As one example, she took her literary Darwinism class to HPU’s Sechrest Gallery to connect art with science.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 29, 2020 – Allison Walker, instructor of English in High Point University’s David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences, found unique ways to engage her students with experiential learning opportunities during the global pandemic.

Students in Walker’s First-Year Seminar course on literary Darwinism took a “field trip” to HPU’s Sechrest Gallery to observe the artworks of Chadwick Tolley. Students were tasked with connecting the dots between art and science by choosing one work in the collection and tying its visual narrative to one of the literary narratives that were read in the class, as well as to the scientific tenets of literary Darwinism, a critical theory that uncovers evolutionary themes and concepts in literary texts.

“It was great to get out of our regular classroom setting to experience a change of scenery and spend time on a part of campus that I don’t usually visit,” said Meghan Hovey, a freshman sport media major.

Students in Walker’s Professional Writing in the Medical Humanities course created infographics to illustrate public health stories behind the statistics. In light of the pandemic, Robby Windsor, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, created this infographic to show statistics on how many Americans would either receive or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It felt great to be able to spread awareness on an important issue like immunization through designing an infographic in our class,” said Windsor. “My goal was to target a college audience on Instagram that may have misconceptions on vaccines by incorporating interesting facts and using Halloween colors in an easy-to-read, visually appealing format. It felt very rewarding to know I was able to educate others on an important health issue like this. I hope to continue to spread important health-related information to others in the future.”

“These course snapshots demonstrate HPU’s liberal arts core and the interdisciplinary educational experiences that transform theory into action,” said Walker. “Both of these unconventional, experiential assignments expose students to the unexpected connections between and across scholarly disciplines, and they provide a chance to practice valuable life and professional skills along the way.”  

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