As the new school year begins, it becomes important to welcome the new faculty who will leave their mark on the Loyola community forever. This year, Loyola has both waved goodbye to nineteen faculty members (three of which will return in the future) and welcomed seventeen new ones.
Loyola’s new faculty are extremely diverse in their occupational subject matter. New to the Science department are Chris Won (who is also a calculus teacher) and Kevin Barnese, Ph.D. Vicky Vilchis, Eryn Brydon, and John Kuhl ‘95 are new to the Fine Arts department. The new English teachers include Joseph Yim and Luke Chandler (who also teaches Junior Advisory). Other new faculty members include the Mathematics department’s Bryan Haley ‘12; the Social Science department’s Levi Line; the Language department’s new Latin teacher Fred Muth ‘13; the Theology department’s Matthew Fisher, Ph.D., and Steve Privett, S.J.; PE’s Keith Ramey ‘98; Magis’s Gabe Rodriguez, Service & Justice’s Emil Sol ‘18, the Student Learning Center’s Mary Cahill, and Controller David Gonzales. These new faculty members span the entirety of Loyola’s academic departments and are becoming more and more familiar with the Loyola community after each day.
Already familiar with Loyola from his previous work as a substitute teacher, Chris Won mentioned, “I had been a substitute teacher until James Sherman ‘09 left in the second semester. I took over for his classes and am actively teaching most of those classes as an official teacher.”
Reflecting on the shift from substitute teacher to full-time teacher and from college to high school, Won commented, “It is great to finally have my own students. Adapting to the Loyola environment has been different from my experiences in college where personal interaction with professors, who often take a laissez-faire approach to teaching in comparison to teaching assistants, is largely unheard of. I now have a lot of responsibility!”
Won thinks that the best change “has been the control over the curriculum. My experience replacing Sherman last year was not only a learning experience for me and my students but also time to prepare what I wanted to teach the following year. I love the freedom of being able to teach my own curriculum as it helps me to engage with my students on a deeper level.”
Kevin Barnese, a chemistry teacher, is extremely knowledgeable in his field and is excited to share his knowledge with the Loyola community. “I describe my teaching style as hands-on. Being a college professor, I modeled my previous courses on kinesthetic learning and had a blast doing it. Loyola allows me to continue my hands-on style of teaching, and I have had a great experience so far,” he remarked.
For his doctoral thesis, Barnese wrote about manganese enzymes’ ability to detoxify superoxides.
Commenting on a difficulty he has faced adjusting to the Loyola community, Barnese said, “The shift to Loyola has definitely been a learning experience. Even though adapting to a new place is a seemingly arduous task, I have enjoyed adapting to Loyola. I feel like I am also getting better at this adaptation; today was an improvement on yesterday, so would that not mark betterment?”
Finally, if you have been around campus, you have likely noticed Fred Muth ‘13, an alumni of Loyola and its newest Latin teacher.
Recalling his return to Loyola, Muth expressed, “I am very impressed with the school and, especially, the students. Even after COVID-19, the students are working incredibly hard, and I admire their willingness to learn.”
Discussing the similarities of past and present Loyola, Muth commented, “Many of the traditions here during my time as a student are still strong, like mass and Kairos, and it is quite comforting. Although the Latin curriculum changed from when I was a student, I think it is for the better. I wish I had the book we use now as a student! The new one is so much more engaging.”
Muth’s favorite aspect of returning to Loyola is the support from other faculty members, especially from his mentor and previous teacher, Teresa Kawamata.