Dr. Robert Eames: A Postive Light in a Dark Time
By Student Storyteller Ryan Clavin, Class of 2020
A Special Assignment for SPE 220: Public Relations
Dr. Robert Eames, business professor at Westminster College, has gone above the call of duty to make sure his students do not suffer in their learning from the movement to online courses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his students have reaped the rewards because of his extraordinary efforts.
“Not having to get up as early to drive into work was the biggest change for me,” said Dr. Eames. “I’ve already been making web recordings for some classes, so the online conference did not seem intimidating to me.” Dr. Eames conducts hybrid courses, where the first class of the week is in person and the second is online through an assignment or test.
Students at Westminster truly appreciate the work Eames did to move his classes online, including Derek Shikles, a junior at the college. “Dr. Eames always brings a positive energy to class, and he always explains every subject well,” Shikles said. “He is a great teacher and truly cares for his students.”
Although Dr. Eames teaches hybrid courses, he still had to make very big changes to the course work. “I had to rework the last 4 weeks of my courses, which included having to change from interview and survey projects to making extra presentations about the material for the courses,” said Dr. Eames.
The students in his courses appreciate the way Dr. Eames has changed the courses to benefit the students, including Parker Schnieders, a freshman at Westminster College. “He kept the schedule similar to the original syllabus,” said Schnieders regarding Dr. Eames’ Organizational Behavior course. “He did not overload us with work, because we went online.”
Hayden Hirschvogel, sophomore at Westminster College, showed his support for the help Dr. Eames provided to his students when all courses went online, saying, “He is always trying to help his students out. He’s understanding and knows how to connect with his students in a positive way.”
When classes moved to a virtual format, Dr. Eames immediately knew he had to change the goals he had for each course he taught. “First, I let students know I was there for them, and I told them good communication would allow us to support each other,” said Dr. Eames regarding the goals of his online courses. “Second, I wanted to try and achieve some learning and made myself available as much as possible via email and Zoom.”
Dr. Eames does not want to see a complete shift to virtual learning, but he does believe Westminster could benefit from offering more online courses. “I prefer teaching in person,” said Dr. Eames. “However, we should offer more online classes, because we could create a small revenue system even if we are not the top dog in the market.”
The rewards of new technology skills from online learning is something Dr. Eames said could not be ignored. “I taught myself to use conference on Canvas and on Zoom,” said Dr. Eames. “Students also learned the value of strong connectivity when signals were lost or connection was poor,” said Dr. Eames regarding students who had to battle poor Internet connection where they had to do their classes.
Dr. Eames has only one change he would have made if he had to do this whole process over again to online learning. Dr. Eames said, “I would try and eat more tacos along the way.”
Dr. Eames has been a valuable member of the business department at Westminster College for many years, and in his time as a professor, he has helped students earn degrees in Management, Nonprofit Management, and he has helped many students find internships and jobs after graduation. Dr. Eames is beloved by all the entire Westminster community, and the college hopes Dr. Eames will continue to educate the future of America for a very long time.