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The Last Lecture Series

Dr. Jim Gentry

The Last Lecture Series
"We are all Learning Together"

September 15, 2016
6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m)
Clyde Wells Auditorium
Reception following

The History of the Last Lecture

In 1955, UCLA featured six lectures from distinguished UCLA figures such as philosophy professor Abraham Kaplan, chemistry professor Kenneth Trueblood and legendary basketball coach John Wooden. Each lecturer shared their own life philosophy through the lens of their discipline, interests and personal experiences.

In the years since, the Last Lecture has become a tradition at many universities across the country. The tradition grew more popular in 2007 when Dr. Randy Pausch delivered a talk entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch’s lecture (and subsequent book, titled “The Last Lecture”) became famous as he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had only months to live.


Tarleton’s Last Lecture Award

The Last Lecture Award will be the only faculty award at Tarleton selected entirely by the student body. Students will be invited to nominate an outstanding professor who has inspired and influenced them in their education and outlook. The student body will consider the nominations and select a professor to give a lecture that addresses the question: “If you had but one final opportunity to address your students and colleagues, what would you share with your audience?”

The inaugural installment of the Last Lecture series at Tarleton was delivered on October 21, 2014.  To begin the series, Dr. Chris Guthrie was asked by the Faculty Fellows to serve as the inaugural speaker.  After this initial lecture by Dr. Guthrie, student government developed a voting process for the fall 2015 speaker.  In April 2015 Dr. Jim Kirby was selected by the students to deliver Tarleton's 2nd Last Lecture.  On September 15, 2015 Dr. Kirby presented his 'Last Lecture'.  The third recipient of Tarleton's Last Lecture Series will be Dr. Jim Gentry from the College of Education on September 15, 2016.

Dr. Jim Gentry

Dr. Gentry is an associate professor with the College of Education at Tarleton State University. Dr. James Gentry has conducted research investigating assistive technology’s impact on students with special learning needs. Also, several research projects specifically reviewed the use of multimedia tools to enhance literacy experiences.

Currently, Dr. Gentry is working with Keller ISD to evaluate the impact of problem based learning (PBL) techniques with fourth graders’ literacy learning while using multimedia. He values working with public schools and teachers, and Dr. Gentry believes partnerships between higher education and K-12 schools remain the salient way to serve our communities and students.

James Gentry has published his research in numerous national and international journals. One of his recent publications for June 2016 was entitled, Professionalization of Teaching in America: Two Case Studies Using Educational Research Experiences to Explore the Perceptions of Preservice Teachers/Researchers, and this article can be found in the sixth volume of the Administrative Issues Journal.    

He has published children’s books and several textbook chapters during his tenure at Tarleton. Currently, he is working on a textbook pertaining to the needs and identity of the professional educator. Also, Dr. Gentry has served as the editor for the Journal for the Effective Schools Project (JESP) since 2006. JESP is a national journal that is published online and in paper form annually.    

Dr. Gentry has presented his research findings at several professional international and national conferences. Recently, he presented research based teaching practices entitled, Student Engagement: Getting and Keeping Their Attention. He presented this work with Tarleton State University Faculty Fellow colleagues at the Teaching Professor Conference in Washington D.C. on June 4, 2016.      

Dr. Gentry has been award numerous teaching and research scholarship awards over the last few years.

Faculty Excellence in Scholarship, Tarleton State University. (March 10, 2015).

 Faculty Excellence in Scholarship, Tarleton State University~College of Education
(January 7, 2015).

Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators: Significant Contributor to Texas K-12 Teacher Preparation, Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators. (January 30, 2013).

 O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award, Tarleton State University. (March 28, 2011).

 College of Education Faculty Excellence in Scholarship Award, Tarleton State University 
(August 15, 2010).

Today, Dr. Gentry prepares future educators for 21st Century instructional responsibilities. Students experience the important implications of technology tools in several field based PBL projects. From developing Weebly websites that scaffold pre-service teacher instruction in the field to the use of Google tools and Green Screen technology for collaborative lesson planning, students in his classes apply 21st Century tools to enhance the use of research pedagogic practices.

Tickets available September 1, 2016 at the following locations:

Center for Instructional Innovation (front desk, north entrance across from Clyde Wells Fine Arts Auditorium)
Student Government Association (downstairs in the Thompson Student Center)
Cross Timbers Fine Arts (204 River North Blvd, Stephenville, TX)