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Special guests pop in to distance learning classes

Carson-Newman University President Charles A. Fowler surprises students by joining Dr. Cindy Lang’s class, held using a video conferencing service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(April 28, 2020) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Special guests have brought some extra cheer to Carson-Newman University’s courses that have moved online due to COVID-19.

National bestselling author Silas House joined an upper-level English course to discuss his novel, “Southernmost,” as well as his writing process, stereotypes of the South and Appalachia, and his next book.

“The students loved being able to listen to Silas talk about his work,” said Dr. Shawn O’Hare, dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “They also asked great questions, and Silas was very appreciative of their observations and interest in his writing.”

House, who had posted on Twitter the offer to join a few classes during the pandemic, commented on the social media platform that it was a pleasure to join the C-N class discussion.

“They seem like a good group of folks,” House wrote.

Other guest appearances have included Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler, who has coordinated with professors to appear as a surprise guest in several online video conferencing classes.

“My students were surprised when Dr. Fowler ‘zoomed’ in to our class,” said Dr. Cindy Lang, chair of the Department of Education. “We appreciated Dr. Fowler’s encouraging words and smiling face. Things like this have made a difficult time just a bit easier for us all. I am so thankful for a president that truly cares about the individual experiences of C-N’s students, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and has over 2,700 students. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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