Dr. Samuel Goodfellow: From Classroom to Living Room

By Student Storyteller Ben Holt, Class of 2020
A Special Assignment for SPE 220: Public Relations

What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? Well if that immovable force is the Westminster College education and the unstoppable force is the pandemic, the unstoppable force loses. Dr. Samuel Goodfellow is a professor at Westminster College and is just one of the many professors to go above and beyond for his students during this pandemic. Halfway through the spring semester of 2019-2020 school year classes went virtual. Dr. Goodfellow dove right into the challenge by continuing to meet with his students virtually so he could he continue to build on his teachings from earlier of the semester. He also always had presence of staying positive about the situation. Dr. Goodfellow always asked how his students were holding up and if there was anything he could do to make easier or to help the experience. While the online move was new for students, it was also new for most professors. Dr. Goodfellow had to pick up new tricks for this new learning environment along with helping his students with anything they had trouble with online.

Dr. Goodfellow continued to meet with his his students every class period. Instead of just assigning readings or assignments, he hosted his class online to make sure that students were involved and learning. “I always enjoyed the discussions in his class, he answered every question and took time to hear every student” said Westminster student Kate Ponder. Dr. Goodfellow always made sure to be interactive with his students even though they couldn’t be in the same place. When asked what he had to change, he said “I had to change just about everything. Students seemed to be fairly resistant which helped a lot.” Class was held at its original times and he always made it interactive and welcoming. Just because Dr. Goodfellow was in his last full-time semester doesn’t mean he slacked off. Some people might have looked at it as an early break, but he doesn’t see things that way. “I was slightly annoyed and slightly amused that this happened during my last full-time semester, I was concerned that it was all going to be a big mess.” Dr. Goodfellow said. Day in and day out he reminded his students that they would get through this together one step at a time.

When it came time for presentations Dr. Goodfellow didn’t flinch. He learned how to help other student presenters and walked them through how to utilize the video app so they would be able to best present their topic. This went a long way for students, they saw that their professor cared for his students and didn’t just want them to figure it out just to get it over with. “I felt comfortable with Professor Goodfellow, he was very understanding and never gave up on us students” said Westminster student Alec Fleetwood. Dr. Goodfellow always showed great patience for his students while going through this learning experience, he never made a student feel uncomfortable for mixing something up or making a mistake. Professors are in charge of bringing together a group of young people to create a good learning experience day in and day out and by the end of the year those students are supposed to leave changed or with different thoughts or views than before. This is a task by itself but when everything goes virtual, that’s a big order to fulfill and I believe Dr. Samuel Goodfellow not only fulfilled that task but went above and beyond.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.