James Adams was just two years old when he realized his fascination with anything creepy-crawly. From a very young age, Dr. Adams collected bug specimens, but it wasn’t until age nine or 10 that he truly became serious about his collection.
“My mom started me collecting – it took big time,” Dr. Adams said. “I didn’t collect baseball cards; I collected butterflies and moths.”
Dr. Adams, a professor of Biology at Dalton State College, will present “Why We Do What We Do: a Lepidopterist’s Perspective on Life” in a Last Lecture Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall. The free program is open to the public.
"Last Lectures" give professors the opportunity to deliver an ultimate message to students and the public as if they were lecturing to them for the last time. Professors are chosen based on their classroom lecture style and ability to stimulate, inspire, and provoke thought and discussion. The popular lecture series was launched at Dalton State last year.
Dr. Adams will speak not only about not only his life-long love of bugs (specifically moths and butterflies) but also his passion for teaching and being a mentor for both budding entomologists and other students. “I approach life by making it enjoyable for as many people as I can,” Dr. Adams asserts. “There are few professions in which you can touch as many lives as you can with teaching.”
A native of Liberty, Mo., Dr. Adams attended the University of Kansas, where he completed his doctoral work in Systematics & Ecology in 1990. During his time at the University of Kansas, he served as Curatorial Assistant for the university lepidoptera collection, the first person to focus on it in almost a century.
After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Adams arrived at Dalton State in the fall of 1990. Since then, he has taught Principals of Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Evolution, Ecology, and Entomology. His approach to teaching is rooted in making biology accessible to all students: “I try to make sure to involve everybody in the class,” he said. “Lecturing is interactive—we’re having a conversation.”
Praised by both colleagues and students alike for his lively, engaging, hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Adams still finds each class a learning experience for himself, as well. “I still learn something new when teaching a class,” he maintains. “The students make each class a new experience for me.” For his outstanding devotion to teaching, Dr. Adams was honored in 2012 with the Dalton State Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award.
“Why would a grown man be swinging a net at bugs? Why would a grown man be looking around lights at a gas station at night?” Dr. Adams asks. “Come find out what has motivated me to be interested in bugs since I was but two years old.”
Dr. Adams’ Last Lecture is sponsored by the College’s Fine Arts and Lecture Series and the Office of Student Life. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 706 272-2985.