North Central’s Math and Science departments are both growing programs that are thriving under Dr. Leah Cook. North Central just launched a science program that is set to debut in the Fall 2020 semester which will help the school grow as well as help give students more options. These classes are taught by Christian professors that are looking to see you grow in your studies as well as in your faith. Staff and faculty walk with you in the process of your college career, helping you and providing you with the proper resources and advice to make a difference wherever you choose to go after.
The Math and Science programs are smaller programs at the University with a heart for the community. As of now, the programs know that it’s important to put efforts into growing their current programs especially with the new introduction of the Science program. There are plans moving forward on various urban science initiatives that the College of Arts and Sciences can participate in, such as trash clean ups and community outreaches. These will become more feasible when the college of science begins to have a larger sum of dedicated students in the program.
Interview with Dr. Leah Cook
Dr. Cooke has almost exclusively worked at public and non-religious institutions. She’s said that she loves that she is able to come and teach at a university that allows her to not only teach her passion, but also speak publicly about her faith. When asked why she taught at North Central, Dr. Cooke said, “It just seemed natural. It was a natural integration of sharing two things that I absolutely love.” Dr. Cooke then went into what her mission is while teaching at North Central, “I say this every semester, that there are a lot of things I teach about science and if a student comes away with a topic that they love or that they have a new interest in, I have accomplished a mission of mine in being a science teacher.”
“What do you know about the Love Your Neighbor initiative, and why is it important to the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)?”
Dr. Cooke spoke on the initiative briefly and said that CAS talks about it frequently in department meetings. Her focus has been more placed into building her classes to implement the initiative, “My focus has not been on the overall initiative, it’s building my program so we can implement it so that we can connect with our constituents.” When asked about the importance of the initiative, Dr. Cooke said, “It’s our most important mission, to be able to connect to neighbors, and I think one of the other things having a science program will allow us to encounter informal science settings where we can connect to our neighbors well.”
“Have you, or students in your program gotten involved in any specific community effort to date?”
Dr. Cooke stated that the colleges of math and science have no definitive community efforts. She did however tell how she plans to engage in community efforts in the future. She began to elaborate on various urban science initiatives that CAS can participate in, such as trash clean ups and community outreaches. These will become more feasible when the college of science begins to have a larger sum of dedicated students in the program.
“How do you believe our Christian community at North Central strives to invest in the community, bring together diverse ideas or develop projects, and why is this important?”
Dr. Cooke spoke about how North Central has done a great job investing in the community and it’s important because it shows North Central’s students see the world with different perspectives. She specified that “How we invest into our community does not reflect an importance of one population over another. North Central chooses to invest in all players of our community. We are willing to get dirty within our community.” Dr. Cooke also said that “Being in the community says a lot about your campus community.” And because of how well North Central is at this, it shows students how to be hands and feet with their own communities.
“Tell me about your ideal student – what characteristics do they possess and why are they successful in their program?”
“A student that continues to work through a variety of seasons: Joy, sadness, frustration. It’s just that they keep working. One of the things is that we’re not always sure of our answer but we keep working towards a common goal.”
“What is the value of bringing real world experiences into the classroom? How do you do that in your particular discipline?”
Dr. Cooke stressed the importance and went into detail about how she will always relate her experience with the subject matter with her career. She always talks about her research experience. She finds this important because it enhances both the class and students learning. She also helps students apply classroom concepts to their everyday life, “I’ve started asking students “What are two questions you have for me on this topic?” instead of “Does anyone have any questions?” We have the richest discussions of how they relate the science information to themselves or how they relate it to different topics. I feel that this helps enrich their own learning.”
“If you could share one story with a prospective student that might influence them attending North Central, what would you share?”
Dr. Cooke opened up with, “Not necessarily a story, but I would say that at North Central, the faculty and administrators really care about students. It shows up in multiple ways, and I feel even now with the season we’re in. Because of the relationships that faculty have with the students, the students will overcome some of the difficulties that they experience this specific semester. Not a lot of universities can bounce back like that.” She even talked about how much the community aspect of North Central shocked her, saying it “Caught me by surprise.” She talked about how North Central doesn’t just see students as numbers, that they actually care about each student and value the relationships they create with their students. She said in seasons like the one we currently find ourselves in are the times where she misses the community North Central has created the most, especially because she knows her students are scattered all over the US and are unable to connect with professors.
“If a parent asked you why they should send their child to North Central, what is one thing you would share with them?”
Without hesitating, Dr. Cooke said she would send her kids to this school. She elaborated on how North Central values developing students’ character and faith. She also touched on how North Central values its’ academic vigor for its’ students. She said it’s great how a university can have such a great education while being equally focused on developing a student’s character and ethics in both a personal and professional setting.