LeTourneau University has scheduled free COVID-19 education events Tuesday and Thursday.
Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Scott Dyer said the idea came from brainstorming with colleagues and family about the way information has been presented about the pandemic.
“Things have just become so politicized, people aren’t even talking, aren’t even listening. Families are arguing, friends are being divided,” Dyer said.
He said he hopes that “looking at it from a scientific standpoint, with the academic horsepower we have at the university” will help foster informed conversations and educated dialogue.
Dyer said the amount of diversity between the panelists will allow for multiple perspectives to be heard.
“The biggest question really for me is: we can become educated about all of this, but how do we live?” Dyer said. “What are the issues we’re struggling with?”
He said a “panel discussion with leaders on campus that understand all the different aspects of the pandemic” was the solution.
“This education series will really provide some hope for some people that are really struggling about, ‘Who should I listen to? What should I do?’ ” Dyer said. “Our intent and our hope is that people will walk away not just being increasingly informed, but they will walk away being able to make balanced and informed decision, and in that regard that’s one of the major objectives here.”
Being knowledgeable in one aspect but remaining ignorant in other parts of it is something that comes from only learning part of a story, Dyer said. This can cause people to become frustrated because they don’t know where to get reliable information.
“People can invest a couple of nights … they’re really gonna get for the very first time a truly holistic, unbiased perspective on the pandemic, for the very first time be able to make a wise decision on what they can do,” he added.
On both nights of the event, screens will show an internet address as a way audience members can submit anonymous questions.
Dyer said he anticipates several hundred people in attendance each night.
Tuesday and Thursday events are set in the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the events starting at 7 p.m.
Both events will be livestreamed at letu.edu/ClarityAndHope .
“We really do think that this can provide hope,” Dyer said.
Tuesday night will feature a joint lecture from Director of Cardiovascular Services at Longview Regional Dr. David Jayakar and Professor of Biological and Medical Science at LeTourneau University Dr. Gregory Frederick.
A panel discussion is scheduled Thursday with participants from a variety of backgrounds, including Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Fred Baliraine; Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Human and Social Science Dr. John Barrett; Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of LETU’s Faith, Science, & Technology Initiative Dr. Jonathan Lett; Director of LETU’s Center for Counseling and Professor of Psychology and Counseling Dr. Jeffrey Quiett; and Dean and Associate Professor for the School of Nursing Dr. Kimberly Quiett.