COLUMN: Craig’s class is a staple of what Eastern can offer to its students


Luke Taylor

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Rob Le Cates, Photo Editor

As a professor, Cameron Douglas Craig is what all professors need to aspire to.

He has been the only person that has made me interested in possibly switching my major to pursue a science degree. And before you call the ambulance, I am fine.

If you told me two years ago that I would be interested in taking more than the two required science classes, I would’ve called you crazy.

Starting the semester, I was hesitant because science was and still is my weakest subject throughout school. I did not grasp the simplest of concepts, and the thought of having a class to struggle with on top of all my other commitments really stressed me out.

But after the first few classes, all the stress was lifted off my shoulders. I have never been able to take a science class and retain the information as well as in this class.

For those who have taken his GEO 1400G Weather and Climate class, depending on how your time during it was, you can groan while rolling your eyes when asked about the class motto.

The motto is a statement that revolves around the entire semester and something I will have on my gravestone– “Sun, sun, without the sun there is no weather fun!”

While some of you might be scratching your head and wondering what this means, let me give you a couple of examples that have helped me on labs and exams.

Why do hurricanes happen? The Sun. What influences the temperatures? The Sun. What influences the climate? The Sun. This motto is quite genius with its use in every single module he teaches, which makes for easy comprehension when everything boils down to the sun.

Craig teaches this class in a five-module breakdown that talks about the interactions in the atmosphere, severe weather, climatology, and of course the sun.

The way he structures his exams is something of pure heaven. He grades out of 100, like most professors, but unlike his colleagues, he gives students slack to allow errors without tanking grades.

He teaches with a mission of making students enjoy science again… and possibly changing their major to geography. And it would be cruel of me to criticize an educator who is passionate and excited about teaching what they enjoy.

This has been the only class I’ve taken that has made me contemplate switching my degree path to a science… and that has to say something.

More teachers need to be like him, willing to do whatever it takes to have their students not only understand, but recollect the course material.

Whether that requires him to extend his office hours, offer a brief question session before exams, or be readily available at most hours of the day, he has lived up to, what my eyes deem as, a golden educator.

He never misses the opportunity to turn even the slightest banter into an educational moment. He devises this class to teach what you need to know and doesn’t fluff up the modules with unimportant, irrelevant information for an entry-level science class.

With this, I wish more beginner-level classes took after Craig’s teaching approach and style, not drawing out information that possibly confuses students.

I gave him the heads up that I would be writing my review of his class and I hoped I didn’t give him a near heart attack.

He has been willing to help me throughout the entire semester catching me up on topics I had missed and offering me his advice on personal issues when asked.

I definitely recommend this class to those who dread the sciences as much as I do, who knows you might end up enjoying it.

I don’t know if I will ever take another science class with the geography department but if I did, it would undoubtedly be with Craig. Hope to see you at your senior seminar in a few years!

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]