Professor John Paulling takes part in Tusculum College study abroad program with teaching position in London
Dr. John Paulling, professor of mathematics at Tusculum College, is back from London, where he spent the fall semester teaching a course on the mathematics of political decisions and as part of the College’s participation in the “London Program” study abroad program.
In addition to his teaching duties, Paulling served as academic director for the one British and five American professors who taught courses to American students, mostly from colleges and universities in Tennessee and Missouri. The program allows these students to study in London for a semester, while still earning credits from their home colleges and universities.
While participating in the program Paulling and his students were able to explore the city in depth, as well as visit surrounding cities such as Bath, Cambridge, Stonehenge and nearby Paris, France.
“The Paris trip was a very significant foreign language experience for the students,” he said. Adding that the students also had opportunities to experience the cultural highlights of London, including performances of William Shakespeare plays and attending a performance of the “Messiah” at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Paulling, who in the past studied in Germany as a student and has traveled to Europe several times, enjoyed the opportunity to discover new parts of the city as well as revisit some attractions with students participating in the program and seeing them for the first time.
His “Political Calculations” course dealt with the mathematics of social choice, including topics such as, voting, power, conflict, escalation and fairness.
In coordination with his own teaching, Paulling took his students to visit sites relating to the “two fathers of statistics – John Snow and Francis Galton.”
Snow is known for trying to solve the problem of cholera using what are today the basic ideas in statistics. Galton is known for creating the statistical concept of correlation and promoting “regression toward the mean.” According to Paulling, he was considered to be the cutting edge of science and inquiry.
By visiting sites dedicated to the two statistical pioneers, Paulling hoped to bring the course alive and incorporate London into the curriculum.
Paulling’s opportunity to teach is part of Tusculum College’s participation in the Private College Consortium for International Study (PCCIS), a partnership of 14 colleges mostly in the Appalachian College Association. The Private College Consortium for International Studies was developed for the promotion of study abroad programs, and for the participating institutions, it is the opportunity to design their own academic programs abroad using their own curriculums, standards and styles.
As part of their agreement to participate with other American colleges and universities in the London Program, each year one PCCIS participant school must send a professor to teach in the program.
Tusculum College has provided the professor in the past, but this was Paulling’s first opportunity. In addition, students at Tusculum College are also eligible for participation, and while there are no current students enrolled, senior Lynnsey Jett of Jefferson City recently returned from her semester of study in London.
The London Program is part of Tusculum College’s efforts to increase the number of students who have an international experience during their college career. As part of this campus wide goal, the College formed the Center for Global Studies in spring 2008, with a mission to “enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to address local and global challenges through building relationships with communities, institutions of higher learning and organizations globally.”