New faculty Lindsay Hinkle: Excited to teach, excited to learn

Professor Linday Hinkle, Clark Honors College
Professor Lindsay Hinkle

Story by Lauren Tokos, CHC Communications
Photo by Jasper Zhou, CHC Communications

Although this is her first term teaching in Clark Honors College, it already feels very familiar to Professor Lindsay Hinkle. Hinkle attended Austin College, which seemed very similar to CHC with small class sizes, in which students studied a breadth and range of topics. Primarily teaching large seminar-style chemistry classes at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Harvard, and Stonehill College before joining CHC, she says the return to a more intimate learning environment is a welcome one.

“I’m happy to be back in that small school environment,” she said.

This fall, Hinkle, who focuses on bridging the gap between liberal arts and foundational chemistry, will teach a course titled HC 101H: Symmetry in which Hinkle will be working primarily with first-year students to uncover how the science of patterns appears in creative fields.

“It’ll be a fun way to look at science in less of a strict numbers way and kind of play around with it,” she said. “See areas where symmetry is or isn’t needed because that makes a piece of work more interesting, more structurally sound, or maybe more musically creative. It’s been interesting to dig into this idea and see what other fields have symmetrical aspects.”

Hinkle’s exposure to varied social groups provides her a unique edge when working with first-year students. As a Texas native who has traveled to and taught in diverse communities, Hinkle wants to parlay that into her role as an instructor.

“I really do value the ideas and thoughts of other people. We can learn a lot from one another if we sit and listen to the experiences of others,” she said. “I hope this is something that comes through in my classes.”

"The classes that I’m going to teach —

I want them to be more fluid and

more exploratory in nature.”

—Professor Lindsay Hinkle

In addition to her course on symmetry, Hinkle will be teaching a course relating to poisons this winter term. As a trained chemist, Hinkle hopes to present a different angle on the subject.

“I want to look at these poisons from a chemist’s perspective,” she added. “See what they do and what concentrations make them dangerous. But I also want us to explore the role the discovery of these poisons played in creating regulatory agencies to help keep consumers safe.”

This course advances Hinkle’s goal of connecting the hard sciences with the liberal arts education found at CHC. “I hope that the material in my courses is varied enough to be interesting to both those who aren’t initially excited to take a science class and those who already love the sciences,” she said.

Hinkle and her students will be learning together, as she sees an opportunity to grow as an instructor by joining the CHC. “I’m teaching in ways that I have not previously taught in my teaching career,” she said. “I’m used to teaching the traditional lecture; I’m standing at the front, I’m working through problems that are pretty concrete. But at the honors college, the classes that I’m going to teach — I want them to be more fluid and more exploratory in nature.”

She’s looking forward to creating a strong foundation at CHC as she connects with faculty and students in her new academic home. “The honors college is the kind of place where people are willing to teach each other but also willing to learn from one another, where everyone is expecting that kind of reciprocal relationship,” she explains. “I think that that is going to be so fun. As much as I’m excited to be teaching, I’m also excited to learn.”