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The World Is Closer Here — Even During a Pandemic

Faculty are taking advantage of the mobile classrooms of Episcopal’s distance learning program to create unique, often intimate learning experiences that expose students to renown experts and ideas. In some instances, teachers are bringing to their classrooms scientists, authors, and other experts who might never have been able to come to campus to visit. 

Here are some of the guest instructors who have visited the Virtual Holy Hill as well as a few examples of how classes are tapping the resources of Washington and beyond.

  • Dan Crane, the resident teaching artist at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, came to Mitch Pinkowski’s Page to Stage class to talk about the role of historical context in character development for theater and the creative work required to turn a classic play’s script into a modern production. He also gave students feedback on their work to set Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens” in a time other than Ancient Greece.

  • Brent Erstad, the director of choral music, invited Justin Squizzero, an advocate and practitioner of shape-note singing, to his class to talk about that form of community musical performance, which dates to the late 18th-century England. Squizzero spoke to students from his barn in Vermont. In this video clip, he asks students to consider perceptions of music before it could be recorded, when it only could be heard live. 

  • Meg Andrews ’01, a professor of Roman history at the University of Chicago who will join the Harvard faculty this fall, met with Jeff Streed’s Latin 1 class to discuss its class project on the development of Roman concrete and the impact on architectural design. Here, Bennie Wang ’23 asks Andrews about the durability of concrete made from volcanic, or pozzolanic, ash. 
  • Author James Frey visited Ben Courschesne’s creative nonfiction writing class, which is reading his book “A Million Little Pieces.” Marketed as a memoir, the book was found later to include a great deal of fiction, stirring controversy. Frey talked with the students about his approach to writing and how art often mixes fact and fiction.

  • Seth Gordon-Lipkin of the Anti-Defamation League spoke to Jeremy Goldstein’s class on semitism about the history of Jewish stereotypes and violence against Jewish. In this video clip, he answers a question from Missy Brandt ’20 about how this prejudice affects politics.

  • The advanced environmental science class Science taught by Javier Bastos attended an online lecture with Moises Exposito-Alonso of the Carnegie Institution for Science. An evolutionary geneticist, Exposito-Alonso talked about how species are adapting to a changing climate.

  • As part of its Age of Revolutions study, Jessie George’s ninth grade history class class took a virtual tour of the Hillwood Estate, the former Washington, D.C., home of businesswoman and art collector Marjorie Merriweather Post. Their tour, which George created using photos and a docent’s video recording — explored the estate’s Russian and French imperial art and artifacts and considered how monarchs communicated their power and wealth through these items.