JPCatholic Welcomes New Faculty - Fall 2009

October 20, 2009

This fall has been a time of rapid and exciting growth at JPCatholic. The seniors, the pioneer class, are in their last quarter before graduation. A new sound stage is being built, which will be a valuable asset to the media majors. There’s also been an influx of new faces with the freshman class. Students aren’t the only new faces at JPCatholic, however. The university has also welcomed five new faculty members.

Father Andrew Younan is also a new professor who is familiar with the school. He is the rector of the Chaldean Catholic Seminary of Mar Abba the Great. He has visited JPCatholic on several occasions to celebrate the holy Mass according to the Chaldean rite. He is currently teaching History of Philosophy I and Logic. These classes are part of the new Masters in Theology program, but any of the students are free to take them. Father Younan shows his students in the Logic class the practicality of a firm grounding in logic. Not only does it help one think more clearly, but it also helps one to argue more effectively. Logic helps uncover the fallacies, the untruths and half-truths, in the arguments of others. Father Andrew gave the class an example of a common fallacy. “Jonathan,” he said, addressing one of the Chaldean seminarians, “you say the sky is blue. I say the sky is not blue because you’re almost bald.” Father explained that this kind of fallacy, an attack against one’s opponent, does not work in logic, but, sadly, is quite effective in the real world. He went on to say that this type of fallacy is called Ad Hominem, which is Latin for against the man. “By the way,” he added, “I will give you extra credit if you learn the Latin names of each of the fallacies. I’ll give you extra credit because it’s very annoying to have your fallacies pointed out when you�re arguing, but it’s even more annoying to have your fallacies pointed out in Latin.”

Professor Thomas Deason and his wife Lauri are brand new to the university. The two were introduced to JPCatholic by Christopher Riley, Professor of Film. Professor Thomas Deason is currently teaching Production Simulation to the junior media majors. He is not only helping students sharpen their filmmaking skills through this class; he is also teaching them what they need to embark on successful Hollywood careers by insisting they keep up with the latest happenings. In fact, familiarity with Hollywood news is a must for every class. In each class session, the students are quizzed on what happened over the past week. If they neglect to read up on the news for even one day, it will show. Professor Deason is training his students to know the Hollywood scene. Understanding the current trends in Hollywood is a must for anyone pursuing a career in film. Although Professor Deason has high expectations, he is also fair about grading. All the weekly quizzes combined amount to only five percent of the total grade for the class. This way, students develop a valuable habit without fearing the weekly quizzes. Professor Deason is also flexible about class structure. Although the classes usually consist of a lecture, he will deviate when necessary. If a student has a question, Professor Deason will take all the time necessary to ensure that student gets a satisfactory answer. Professor Deason is quickly becoming a favorite of the juniors.

Lauri Deason, Adjunct Professor of Journalism is teaching Public Relations to the sophomore and junior business students this quarter. She’s full of stories � stories about the history of public relations as a profession, stories about recent PR events and stories about her own life. In each class session, she emphasizes the importance of relationships in public relations. She took an hour of the first class session to get to know each of the students. Each student spoke a little bit about himself. Katelyn Brenier, a junior, talked about her husband and son, both of whom are named Jason. Professor Deason asked about Katelyn’s wedding, in turn telling the class about her own wedding. Professor Deason talked about how she was so frustrated with her mother that she decided to start her own wedding planning business. One of her first clients was her sister. “And guess what?” Professor Deason asked the class. “I ended up working with the same mother of the bride.” The following week, the class was given a quiz. Imagine everyone�s surprise when the first extra credit question asked the name of Katelyn’s husband and son! Professor Deason explained that she wanted to show the class the importance of relationships, of listening to other people and remembering what they say.

Another brand new teacher at JPCatholic is Katie Schmid, Adjunct Professor of Art. She is teaching Art Humanities to the freshman class. Professor Schmid is passionate about her subject and she is communicating this passion to her students. She is teaching them to think critically about the art they have taken for granted up to now. Every week the students write on the theme, form and context of two art pieces. In class, Professor Schmid asks her students to interpret various pieces. She asks them what they think the colors mean, what the artist is communicating through his use of dark and light. Professor Schmid also helps facilitate class discussion. For one class session, the students had to read Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists.” They broke into groups to discuss the letter; Professor Schmid then asked the groups to share their thoughts with the class. The discussion turned into something of a debate, especially when the subject of creation came up. The class was divided into two camps: those who believed that only God can be called a creator because only He can create something from nothing and those who believed that man’s intellect is capable of imagining, and therefore creating, something new. Throughout this discussion, Professor Schmid made sure that everyone was given the chance to speak. Professor Schmid is very interested in encouraging a true appreciation for art in her students.

Students at JPCatholic have been blessed with excellent professors. Whether familiar or brand-new, each professor brings valuable insights and a unique teaching style to the classroom. More importantly though, these teachers give their students an example of genuine love of Christ.