Welling Hall, Plowshares professor of peace studies and politics, has taught at Earlham for more than 20 years. “I am excited by the extent to which I see Earlham students taking ownership of their education, and really wanting to think about ways to implement what they learn so that is matters now,” she says.
Her passion for peace and making change is probably something that she acquired by studying the Russian language and Soviet Politics and being involved in peace movement, Nuclear Freeze Campaign, in 1980s. She recalls that people thought these two fields were completely incompatible at that time.
“I was not looking for an academic job. I thought of doing some policy work and then Earlham called me,” she says. Howard Richards who was the professor of Peace Studies then invited Hall for an interview in 1986.
“For me the Cold War was instrumental in shaping what I studied,” says Hall. While in graduate school, Hall worked on a research trying to identify the areas of potential U.S.- Soviet collaboration, which involved doing a lot of work with international organizations.
Now Hall directs Model United Nations program at Earlham. She sees it as the opportunity for the students to look for the venues for international actors to come together and think about global problems, as well as find the best solutions.
Hall notes that the value of the Model UN for the students is in teaching high-school delegates from Indiana and Ohio at the Model United Nations Conference that Earlham hosts every year.
“This is something quite distinctive in terms of providing an opportunity for our guests to see so many international students working collectively and collaboratively on issues that are not issues for debating point, but serious matters of life and death for people in communities that they know,” she says.
Hall says she is in a lucky position in her teaching at Earlham, as she can benefit of the diversity of student body. “I will have classes now that are 50 percent, 75 percent international students. For me it is exhilarating, I just need to keep trying to find ways in order to have that be as meaningful for everybody in the class,” says Hall.
“I want, especially after coming back from working for Congress for a year, I really want students to embrace the extent to which they themselves can be powerful agents for change,” says Hall. She believes that getting the real life experience at an earlier stage is critical for the students.
“While I am delighted that students already do think about how they can implement what it is that they are learning, I also want to encourage them and affirm them in that and get them out into real life internships as quickly as possible, so they can see and experience the connection between what they are learning and what is happening out there.