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Everyone in seminar thrilled to hear 15-minute discussion between one student and professor

DURHAM, N.C.— On Tuesday morning, in “The Natural History of Economics and Philosophical Thought in Western France,” a 12-person seminar class cross-listed in Biology, Economics, French, and Philosophy, Professor Seamus Randall engaged in a lengthy conversation with Kiera Solomon (Trinity ‘25). Throughout their discussion of Dr. Randall’s childhood and his development of interest in his field of study, the other students eagerly listened, grasping the armrests in anticipation of his next personal narrative.

Seminar classes play a key role in the academic and social development of students at Duke University, as they create intimate spaces in which undergraduates are encouraged to participate and engage with professors on a personal level. This produces a passionate body of highly-motivated intellectuals who thirst for new information.

On Tuesday, on the first floor of the Levine Science Research Center, students funneled into the small beige-walled box, one that was allegedly once a classroom. Each student was enthusiastically greeted by Dr. Randall, and they took their seats as the clock ticked closer to 8:30 am. 

Despite the early start time, everyone was seated before the scheduled beginning of class.  Solomon saw the one-minute window before the official start as her opportunity to learn more about her professor. As she opened by asking where Dr. Randall had grown up, a hush fell over the room in anticipation of a deep, critical conversation. The instructor responded that he was from Houston, Texas, and returned the question back to Kiera; the audience was awe-stricken at the ease of his response. 

As the conversation evolved to a discussion of Dr. Randall’s research, students began to adjust their posture, with their backs straight, a slight lean forward, and two feet on the ground. Despite the lack of eye contact, it was clear the other students were actively engaged in the influential, inspirational, and unforgettable conversation.

As the clock inched closer to 8:45 am, Dr. Randall appeared to be losing steam, yet watchful eyes still bore down on the two conversationalists. Finally, after fifteen minutes that seemed to fly by, Dr. Randall realized he had blown past the start time and peeled away. Apologizing profusely, he launched into his discussion on the role of snail markets in early Industrial France, causing the class to collectively slump in their seats with heavy eyelids.

Students are reportedly hopeful that more conversations like the one between Dr. Randall and Kiera will occur more often. Why Flunch a professor when you can just use class time and share such ass-licking valuable remarks with other students?



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