Calvin Jones comes from a long line of educators. He also grew up as a military brat living in Germany for some of his childhood. His two worlds of education and travel collided when Jones chose a career teaching in higher education focusing on culture studies.
Jones joined South Piedmont Community College six years ago as an Assistant Professor of Humanities and English after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNC-Charlotte.
“I fell in love with the community college system,” said Jones. “I appreciate the honesty we have for our students in recognizing and assisting them where they are.”
Jones feels that many students going straight into a four-year university might get left behind, but the community college helps bridge the gap.
“We really help a diverse array of students,” said Jones.
Originally when Jones started teaching HUM120, it focused on American pop culture. After the end of course feedback from students, it was determined they wanted more from the course than just American culture and Jones agreed. He then started to redesign the course exploring Japanese culture.
Without a textbook, the course explores Japanese culture through movies and other readings.
“We compare what our culture is like versus another culture and determine at what point are we Americanizing another culture where we take certain things from cultures and change it,” explained Jones.
For their final project, students get to choose from topics like karaoke, ramen noodles, Godzilla, and bathhouses and compare its American counterpart.
Jones has visited Japan as well as nine other countries. He hopes to one day visit every state within the U.S. and every continent. Being an extrovert and a lover of travel and food, observing the stay-at-home order has been a challenge, one to which he and his students are slowly adjusting.
When things are back to the new normal, Jones looks forward to more travel and teaching his students face-to-face. “It’s in my blood.”
Written by Misty McMillan