Q-and-A: Collin Hobbs

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Q-and-A: Collin Hobbs (PDF)

Web Blurb: New semester means new professors, and Huntington University has a whole lineup prepared for the 2013-2014 school year. Get to know Dr. Collin Hobbs –future professor within the math department.

Here’s the extended interview!

Q. What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

A. Tall, dark, and handsome. At least that’s what my wife said when she heard this question.

Q. What major will you be teaching under?

A. Biology.

Q. Which classes will you be teaching?

A. This fall I will be teaching Botany (BI 261) and Microbiology for Health Sciences (BI 232).

Q. How long have you been teaching?

A. Each semester for the last seven years. I consider myself lucky that I have been able to teach every semester of my graduate program.

Q. What is your teaching style?

A. My goal is for my students to engage and comprehend the material we’re covering, and to get as excited about a subject as I am. I enjoy making my classes student-centered, with a focus on hands-on learning, and I like the ideas behind “flipping the classroom” and the Harkness Method. As a student, I hated dry lectures, so I assume my students do too. And, though I do use it often, I’m not a big fan of PowerPoint as a medium for delivering lectures.

Q. What has been the highlight of your teaching career?

A. Bringing breakfast every week for my students in an 8:00 AM Monday discussion section for IU’s Introductory Biology Lab. It’s amazing how much difference a little bit of food can make!

Q. What education have you received? What degree(s) and academic honors have you earned?

A. Homeschooled in high school, public school prior to that. B.S. in Biology with a minor in music performance – viola – from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, graduating summa cum laude. I am currently wrapping up my PhD in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology from Indiana University. My defense talk is on July 8th this summer – you’re welcome to come!

Q. What is your religious background and what are your current beliefs?

A. I grew up in an independent Baptist church and am currently a deacon in a reformed evangelical church in Bloomington.

Q. What has been the defining moment in your Christian faith?

A. The year I started grad school was probably the most difficult and best year I have had as a Christian. My then fiancé broke up with me, I had a falling out with my home church, and I moved to a new state. Everything in my life was in a huge upheaval. It’s often times like that when you are most receptive to God’s work in your life, and, true to form, God used that time in my life to free me from several sins that I had been enslaved to for many years. By the end of that year I joined a great church where I have grown a lot and I even met the woman who would become my future wife.

Q. In essence, how would you describe HU?

A. My impression is that HU is a smallish Christian college that emphasizes rigorous academic training and learning how to glorify God through your field of study, all in the context of a strong family environment.

Q. What is your motivation behind teaching (especially at a Christian university?)

A. I think biology is a fascinating field and I love getting other people excited about it. God has created a beautiful and complex world, and has given us the ability (and responsibility) to learn about it and use it in ways that bring him glory. As a teacher, I get to participate in training the next generation to use their God-given gifts well. I’m excited about teaching at a Christian institution because I can say something like I just did and not be ostracized for it.

Q. What impact do you hope to leave on the students/community here at HU?

A. I’m looking forward to getting to know my students and getting involved in the HU community. I hope some of my students leave as excited about biology as I am!

Q. If I’m your student, will you give me extra credit? Why or why not? What is your philosophy behind extra credit?

A. Extra credit? What’s that? Seriously though, I do try to teach in such a way that extra credit stays a non-issue. After all, a 101% grade really doesn’t make that much sense when you think about it. How can you know 101% about something? 101% effort…huh?

Q. What advice do you have for those pursuing a degree in [your major]?

A. First, know what you’re doing in college to begin with and make sure you’re actively working toward that goal. Of course, academics are always important. Then it depends on what you intend to do with your degree in biology. If med school, then I would suggest getting as much personal experience as you can serving the sick, weak, and the “least of these”. If grad school, gaining some research experience is important. In any field, spend some time shadowing professionals in your field so you get some firsthand experience what those jobs are actually like.

Q. If you could meet and hold a conversation over coffee with anybody – whether alive, historic, or even fictional – who would you meet? Why?

A. Tough question. Could I do a coffee party with the apostle John, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, and John Piper? That would be fun.

Q. Outside of your profession, what are some of your hobbies? Any secret passions?

A. Secret passions? Well, my wife, Kara, but that’s not really a secret. Other than that, I love gardening, photography, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” by Edmund Burke.

Q. Favorite Music (genre and band)? Why?

A. Classical, especially early music and baroque. More modern: the Good Shepherd Band which has set a number of hymns and Psalms to contemporary music. Besides that, I listen to bits and pieces of most every genre except for jazz. Sorry any jazz lovers out there!

Q. Favorite Movie/TV Show? Why?

A. Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood. Hey, I have three kids, okay? Besides, it is actually a pretty fun movie.

Q. Is there anything that hasn’t been answered already that you would like to let the HU community know?

A. My wife and I have three very cute daughters all under four years old. Hopefully you’ll get to meet them soon!

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