Settled In: New Faculty at McK


By: Annie Bierman. Published: March 14, 2011.

imageDr. Adam Tournier is an Assistant Professor of Physics who teaches physics and physical sciences which include earth science, astronomy, and concepts in science. He likes physics because it explains how the universe works and from there, a person can integrate that into the specifics. He became a physics major because it was his hardest class and saw it as a challenge. What made him continue to graduate school was a graduate assistantship that then lead him into an accidental career. A position opened up because a professor went on sabbatical, and from then, he decided he wanted to teach.

What drew him to McKendree was its “dedication to student learning” as well as the small class sizes and the unique family atmosphere. McKendree students continue to surprise him and he likes that he can be involved with the McKendree Wrestling team.

He is currently working on science education research that focuses on student engagement. He wants that students enjoy class more and improve understanding. Reversing the typical talk-at-the-students approach, Tournier focuses on a new process: discovery-based learning.

Another project of his includes measuring the battery energy density trough novel organic films with dialectic constant. Basically, he is researching batteries that can store more energy.

Advice he offers students include going and preparing for class, but he also said to talk to your teachers, “bother them.” Another piece of advice I found particularly interesting is that he said, “enjoy your college experience. Get involved in things you like, and equally as important, things that are new.”

imageDr. Aurélie Capron joined McKendree this year as an Assistant Professor of Spanish. This semester, she is teaching Spanish 2, Latinos in the U.S. in Spanish, and Latin American Films in English. A part of her job is to also build-up the Spanish major program by designing the curriculum.

Capron is French, but teaches Spanish to English students—a bit odd. What attracted her to Spanish was her curiosity with the language and her desire to be fluent.

McKendree appealed to her because of the size, the focus on liberal arts, and the proximity with the students. She feels McKendree is unique because of this and already feels a sense of community here.

Equally her favorite parts of the job are her students and colleagues. She feels supported to help the Spanish program to grow and put her philosophies into practice rather quickly.

Currently, she is researching practical and logistical strategies for learning in the classroom as well as for developing the Spanish major.

Pieces of advice she wanted to offer students are “to evaluate what’s important. Don’t put too much on your plate. Do what you do 100%! And learn to say ‘No!’”