Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Tim Cannon
Professor and Program Coordinator for Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
Dr. Tim Cannon has always believed that lifelong learning is important not just for students but for faculty. He has attended and presented at conferences and continues to be engaged with his students today. One of his presentations was at the 2015 NISOD conference where he partnered with Jill McDonough from South Seattle Community College to present a session titled “Mission Possible: Getting Students to Love & Learn from You. The premise of their presentation was that students often enter classes begrudgingly and wonder why they have to take a particular course. Dr. Cannon and Ms. McDonough offered a top ten list for engaging students in an active learning community that empowers instructors to teach and inspires students to learn. Not only did they share with their peers strategies for creating an active learning environment, but they were able to learn about new trends and best practices for teaching courses in a community college setting. Dr. Cannon continues to learn and deliver courses in a manner that engages students through an active learning environment. His work demonstrates the importance of making content relevant to students and engaging them in the classroom.
Like his students, Dr. Cannon considers himself an active learner. Probably the most important thing that he has ascertained in his journey is that active learning begins when one is empowered to enter into a process of personal expression and exploration.
Dr. Cannon has found that introducing his students to this process, encouraging them to engage it, and guiding them in “connecting the dots” that exist between the course content material, their lives and the world beyond to be one of the most rewarding and beneficial things he does. This is especially true when teaching aids students in understanding the world and their place within it, while simultaneously empowering them not only to discover their specific voices but also to share them with integrity and passion as responsible and integrated global citizens.
For many students, this journey of enlightenment and vocalization begins in the classroom; thus, a positive atmosphere is critical to student engagement and learning. Therefore, as an Instructor, Dr. Cannon seeks to create an environment that is conducive to active learning. Students do not learn when they are bored, and nothing bores them more than being the recipient of a monologue rather than a participant in a dialogue. As such, his modus operandi is not to disseminate information as a static enterprise but rather to open and then guide a healthy conversation between the students and the material. Therefore, he encourages a free and open exchange of ideas without fear of reprisal or ridicule, and in the process, he invites and empowers students to become teachers and colleagues who rightly handle not only the course material but also their own thoughts and ideals. As a result of this approach, Dr. Cannon’s classrooms are renowned for being safe-havens for exploring and expressing truths about interesting material that matters, and this environment has motivated students to engage in active learning.
Prior to joining Forsyth Tech as an Instructor, Dr. Cannon served the community as a Senior Pastor in churches in Virginia and North Carolina. He has always had a passion for teaching, and was known as a teaching pastor; so, he said the transition from the pulpit to the lectern was an easy one to make. “Students are students regardless of the subject matter and learning environment, after all, and good teachers adapt to both their students’ specific needs and the environments in which they are learning.”
Dr. Cannon, awarded rank of Professor in August 2019, began teaching World Religion courses as an Adjunct in 2008, and has been teaching Humanities, Religion and Philosophy courses at Forsyth Tech full-time since January 2010. He has served as Program Coordinator for HUM, REL & PHI since July of 2012 and received the Excellence in Teaching Award for 2013-14.