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Honors Faculty Highlight: Professors Scott and Jackie Bailey-Hartsel

| Alyssa Phillips + Sydney Schoeberle

Even though they met over a tank of liquid nitrogen, fermentation is what Professors Scott and Jackie Bailey-Hartsel are co-teaching about next semester in Honors “Fermentation: Culture Meets Cultures”.

After meeting in 2009, Professors Scott and Jackie Bailey-Hartsel’s mutual love for the humanities and science slowly led them to merging them in a course called “Food Chemistry & Culture.” This course’s success led to the creation of another intriguing course still being taught today, “Fermentation: Culture Meets Cultures.” Jackie Bailey-Hartsel’s love of feeding people, along with Scott Bailey-Hartsel’s intriguing scientific experiments that showcase fermentation processes, have continued to engage students in an exciting way.

“I love the fact that you can try adventurous things with honors courses,” says Scott Bailey-Hartsel, “like blending an English and a science focused course—and really seeing how different disciplines connect. I also appreciate the impressive intellectual level of the students. They really keep us on our toes!”

“The Honors fermentation course was a great way to explore scientific and cultural content from a variety of perspectives,” says English and Spanish education major Hannah Apold. “With Jackie's background in English, she provided a way of thinking about the material and cultural contexts that resonated with me. Meanwhile, Scott's knowledge of the scientific side of things challenged me to explore a content area I was unfamiliar with. As a co-teaching pair, they struck a powerful balance of inquiry, and their collaborative efforts greatly benefitted a class with a wide range of majors and backgrounds among the students.”

Dr. Scott Bailey-Hartsel, from Chippewa, began his college career at Ohio State University in 1979. He graduated with master’s degrees in microbiology and biophysics. He then went on to teach at University of Virginia immediately following his graduation. Scott Bailey-Hartsel’s love for research and teaching led him to UW-Eau Claire, known for its many undergraduate research opportunities, where he found a balance between the two. In 1995, Scott Bailey-Hartsel went to the University of Pierre and Marie Curie and the Institut Curie in France for one year. The Institut Curie is a public interest foundation, pursuing research, care and the preservation and transfer of knowledge.

Jackie Bailey-Hartsel is an Eau Claire native, and even learned to walk on UW-Eau Claire’s campus. She continued her education at UW-Eau Claire for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Later, she followed in her father’s footsteps, who taught at UW-Eau Claire until the day she finished her undergraduate career. She worked in the English department for 10 years, teaching Blugold Seminars and English courses, and now she teaches for the Honors Program. Jackie Bailey-Hartsel “cannot say enough about how wonderful it is from a teaching point of view to get to know the students and explore the Honors topics as a team.”

This fermentation course will give students real lab time, fulfilling the K1 LE requirement. During this lab, students will learn how to ferment their own products, and look at culture as a byproduct of these fermented goodies. Students will also have a chance to visit the Marieke Gouda cheese farm to see how this farm takes milk straight from the cows and creates fresh cheese within five hours.

“The ability to use multi-modal teaching through things like field trips, lab experiments, and writing assignments outside the foundational research essay (such as food writing and/or keeping a food blog) open up a wealth of creative approaches to teaching,” says Jackie Bailey-Hartsel, “as do the dedicated topics we're able to implement. And, as always, UW-Eau Claire students simply rock.”

Students who took the original Honors course three years ago continue to make their own fermented products, such as kombucha, sourdough or yogurt. Stretch creativity, study a culture’s cultures, and concoct a menu for the class in this unique course. Ever heard of Skyr yogurt pizza? Neither had Professors Scott and Jackie Bailey-Hartsel until one student came in and pushed their culinary boundaries. Make the professors question their palate, and amaze fellow classmates with newfound culinary skills in Honors “Fermentation: Culture Meets Cultures” this fall.