Name: David Eastman, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Religion
Experience: Professor of The OWU Experience (UC160) The OWU Experience helps connect students with all of the opportunities available with their OWU educations.
“No matter where students are coming from, the move to OWU requires a lot of adjustments. One of the main adjustments is figuring out what it means to be at a liberal arts university, which is different from going to a large state school. Orientation covers a lot of this, but so much is covered so fast that it’s hard to retain it.
“[The OWU Experience] allows students to go back over some of the basics of life at OWU at a slower pace. There’s an emphasis, for example, on opportunities for off-campus and overseas study, and the course also deals in detail with some of the nuts and bolts of being a college student – like how to plan ahead long-term when choosing classes and how not to write an email to a professor.
“Also, UC 160 classes help students with similar interests find each other. My course is designed around a book on international travel, so the students who choose to enroll in my section have the travel bug. It gives the class an immediate sense of shared values that we can direct in ways that are specific to their interests.
“I’ve learned a lot more about OWU, especially its resources and the wide variety of services and opportunities available to students. I still have a lot more to learn, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number of times students have made me aware of something I didn’t know about.
“As a faculty member, I tend to see certain parts of campus more than others, so working with students in [The OWU Experience] in a more holistic way has exposed me to a lot. I’ve also learned about how active OWU students are in community service. Doing a service project is another element of the course, and each fall there is a service-learning fair at which OWU students talk about things they’re already doing. It’s amazing and inspiring.
“I have taught UC 160 for two years and hope to teach it again next year. I think my favorite part is seeing students connect with each other, which is one of the main goals of the course. They have so much to learn from each other, and I hope [The OWU Experience] helps them see that.”
Eastman teaches courses on the New Testament and Christian history. He has lived and traveled abroad extensively as a researcher and archaeologist, and the concept of ‘pilgrimage’ is central to his research interests and general approach to life. He has used “Travel as a Political Act” as his OWU Connection text.