Professer in residence spreads love of learning



Brandi Doyal, Staff Reporter

Professor W.T. Godbey began teaching by tutoring in high school and college and continued teaching after college. He came to Tulane in 2003. In 2011, Godbey moved in to the Wall Residential College with his family as the second live-in professor in Wall’s history.

Godbey has worked in professions ranging from starting a software development and design company to researching at a children’s hospital, but he has always treasured his teaching experiences most.

“When I use the things that I know, it is wonderful, but someday I am going to retire,” Godbey said. “It would be a shame that this unique view of life that I have been granted just went away. Through teaching, I can show students a very varied look on life.”

The live-in professors at Wall have three-year terms. In his time at Wall, Godbey started a program called Chats About Stuff, in which people from the Tulane and New Orleans communities are invited to come talk to residents about their accomplishments.

“The students come over and meet the individual, and the individual talks about whatever he or she is here to talk about,” Godbey said. “The conversation then goes from there, and we never have any idea what it is that we are going to learn.”

As his term comes to an end, Godbey said the social aspects that come with being the live-in professor of Wall are his favorite part of the experience.

“What being [a live-in professor] does is give me a way that I can feel comfortable talking with the students, even though I’m an introvert,” Godbey said. “It’s usually after 9:30 p.m. when the students come in. They know if the shades are open that they can come on by. The fun part is that you never know what the students are going to talk about.”

Another aspect of Godbey’s career is the research he does in gene therapy. Godbey’s laboratory focuses on research involving the treatment of cancer. Godbey said that his team has been working on a couple projects including a treatment for cancer and an over-the-counter, early cancer detection device test for five types of cancer.

“The main thing I work on in my work is research with the ultimate goal of cancer treatment,” Godbey said. “In a way, I am an idea farmer. I have an idea, and I do some tests. If the idea proves to do well, then I pour more fertilizer on it, and we never know how big these ideas are going to get.”

Godbey said among the many things he does at the university, his biggest accomplishment was the insight he was able to bring to students’ lives and that teaching is one of his greatest passions in life.

“The biggest accomplishment is when a student finds himself or herself and thrives,” Godbey said. “They see that my education, experience, academics and desire for life-long learning are a part of who I am. It is OK to be that way. It is celebrated here.”

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