My favorite professor is Ed Kerns in the Art Department. I first had him in the fall semester of my sophomore year for Intro to Painting. Professor Kerns started the course with a lecture where he incorporated principles of neuroscience, engineering, and philosophy into the realm of art. He made it clear that art and sciences aren’t segregated and shouldn’t be thought of as such. From discussing the universality of iambic pentameter to quantum superposition, Professor Kerns didn’t teach art, he taught students how to think and how to question what we think. Art was merely the tool by which he did it, and the paintings a sign of the student’s greater growth overall.
So much of our educational system is based on memorization and papers and test scores, and his teaching styles completely circumvent this. It’s unique, and I feel incapable of fully articulating what a good teacher he is without just saying, take one of his classes.
After I finished Intro to Painting, I decided to major in art, and Professor Kerns was my adviser. He let me be one of the painting TAs at the start of my junior year, and I used to, pre-pandemic, go down to Williams half an hour early so that I could have time to talk to him. He would sometimes have catered lunches from this Mediterranean place in Easton, and he would invite other professors in the college, visiting academics, and artists to join. Those gatherings were the highlight of my Lafayette experience, and not because I love free food. There were so many ideas and perspectives, so much creativity and potential, bouncing around the room in such an informal setting. It was beautiful.
Professor Kerns is an educator, teacher, mentor, and friend. I just am so grateful to him. —Gwen Goldman ’21