Westmont Magazine Progress in the Sciences
An interview with Westmont Physics Professor Warren Rogers
Q:Why is the David K. Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics so essential for Westmont?
A:We simply can’t maintain the high level of our science offerings without better facilities. Not only do we need much more space, but we must modernize as well. We have developed an outstanding undergraduate science program and need the facilities to match.
Winter Hall will bring together four departments (computer science, mathematics, physics and psychology) now housed in cramped, outdated buildings. This will greatly increase faculty and student morale, which has suffered with the limited space. We have much less equipment than we need due to a lack of storage space. In the new building we can store and maintain all the equipment we consider crucial. We will also gain room for research activity, which is important. Giving students the opportunity to do serious research with faculty is one of our hallmarks.
More space will make it easier for Westmont professors to collaborate with other scientists and local technology-based companies. Granting agencies will also be more willing to fund our grant proposals when we have facilities that adequately support our projects.
Finally, the new building will help us recruit leading science faculty and highly qualified students. Knowing the new building was a top priority was one reason I came to Westmont.
Q:What is the role of science in the liberal arts curriculum?
A:Science is arguably one of the greatest achievements of the Western tradition and its impact on our lives is deep and far-reaching. At a Christian liberal arts college, it is imperative that we recognize and understand how profoundly the scientific and technological enterprise shapes the future in which our students will live and work. All students need to understand how scientists work and seek truth. Becoming knowledgeable in the language and tools of science will help them sort scientific sense from scientific nonsense. They will also come to appreciate the beauty and truth exhibited in the natural world. Our culture is characterized by rather substantial scientific illiteracy, so it is important for us to make a rigorous encounter with science and mathematics an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum for all students.
Q: What features are included in the new building?
A:The most important feature is its significant square footage! All four departments will enjoy much greater space than we currently have. What a difference this will make!
Both faculty and students will appreciate the new classroom space, which is designed to be flexible to accommodate a variety of classes. Extensive laboratories will support class work as well as faculty and student research. Because computers are so important in the sciences, Winter Hall will include computer laboratories. A multimedia lecture hall will be a state-of-the-art resource for science faculty.