While Oklahoma Christian University professors are often seen discussing subjects in their degree field, senior Sam Morstain and the Brew are giving them an opportunity to step outside the guidelines of a syllabus to share their ideas, while also giving students an opportunity to hear from professors they would not otherwise.
Beginning tonight at 8 p.m., the Brew will host a series called Brew Talks, which invites Oklahoma Christian University professors to give 20-minute talks with little instruction on what they can share. The Student Government Association (SGA) will provide free Brew drinks to the first 30 people who attend.
“Our professors have office hours and they’re really open and available,” Morstain said. “They want to build relationships with students, but once you get into upper division classes, you’re not really going to talk to professors that are outside of your home academic department. So, how I’ve explained this to potential speakers for what I want them to talk about—though we’ve left topics pretty much open—but if you need something to talk about, the general area to go toward is what you want people outside your department, who will never have your class, to know. It’s just getting a wide variety of students to meet a wide variety of professors.”
Though professors are knowledgeable about their particular subject, Brew manager Cary Verner said students should expect to see a different side of their professors and what they are interested in.
“This is their class they have to teach on interpersonal communication or something, but actually what they’re passionate about is taxes,” Verner said. “I think we’ll kind of be opened to how people are very multifaceted. Our history teachers don’t only read history, they also probably dabble in politics or engineering, and maybe they’re great Bible teachers, too. People are well-rounded, and when we split them up into, ‘Hey, I have my doctorate in this,’ we think that’s all they think about, all they teach about, all they know, but in reality, they are very brilliant people and they are brilliant in many fields.”
The first Brew Talk will feature professor of international business Don Drew, who will talk about “What do I do when my dream is irretrievably lost?”
“[Drew] has traveled all over the world,” Morstain said. “I know he was in the Air Force for a time, he’s taught at OC for a while, he’s an alumnus of OC back in the day. He’s had a lot of interesting opportunities and a very interesting life. I think he’s going to get a little more personal than professional with this, which I think is a good way to start on a bit of a serious note.”
According to Morstain, the idea came from TED Talks, which feature 18-minute talks from anyone with an idea they are willing to share. Morstain said he presented the idea to Verner, who said he liked the idea and encouraged Morstain to follow through.
“He did yearly reviews for all the Brew employees, and he’s always just been really supportive of wanting more and more variety of events on campus,” Morstain said. “He’s a really busy guy—he’s managing basically a small business—so he’s left this up to us and told us, ‘Whatever you want to do, if it’s a good idea, I’ll support it, but it’s up to you to make stuff happen if we want to have events.’”
At the end of the summer, Morstain brought the idea to Verner again and began solidifying plans to make it come to life.
“I just thought up a short list of names of people that I wanted to speak and it was all professors who I’d had personal contact with, had their classes before—there’s more business and communication professors than anybody else, because I have a major in business and my minor is in communication, but there’s also professors I had for [general education courses] who left a good impression on me,” Morstain said. “I just sent that list to [Cary] and around the end of summer, I started emailing people, talking to people I wanted to speak, to SGA and different groups to help me promote it.”
Verner said he hopes the event draws more students to the Brew and creates a better sense of community on campus.
“These types of events just kind of provide fun and energy that most coffee shops won’t have or they can’t have, because they don’t have that niche we do,” Verner said. “The real primary purpose is bringing people together, and so that’s really what category the Brew Talks fall into. It’s an event where you can either have fun with friends or where you can maybe learn something.”