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Friday, May 2, 2008

Favorite professors, and awards

Everyone who goes through college has a story to tell about a favorite professor. Mine was an economics professor in the 1970s who used "multimedia" TV screens before anyone used that word. He also would read from biographies, and poetry, during his lectures "just because I thought it is interesting." He was interdisciplinary all by himself at the University of Missouri, and his biggest lesson was: Education is not about what you know, but what you can figure out. This man was also deaf and could handle large lecture halls and small classrooms equally well. His name was John Kuhlmann.

UIS honored its own top faculty members of the year this week at a very upbeat ceremony. Hats off to the great teachers we have!

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At May 2, 2008 at 7:36 AM , Anonymous sherry said...

I was a masters student in communication. Hank Nicholson was my advisor and I took several of his classes. Hank is a great teacher and a unique and wonderful person. He never fails to get rousing discussions going among his students. His wry humor is delightful. He has an incredible vocabulary and I remember learning the word 'perspicacious' from him :-) When Hank teaches, students learn. He is retiring this year, and UIS will lose one of our most intelligent and influential professors. Hank is a shining example of a teacher who enriched individual lives and helped so many make a difference in the world.

At May 2, 2008 at 8:21 AM , Blogger Carly said...

It's hard for me to narrow it down to any one favorite professor from many of the teachers that I had there inspired me in their classes (and their involvement in the school community outside of that), and I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am now without them. But, a sampling:

1) Calvin Mouw, in the political studies department. He was my adviser and was always incredibly encouraging and accommodating about my classes and especially my internships. He believed we could do great things and always helped us find the link between what we were doing in the classroom and the projects we were working on outside of it.

2) Larry Shiner, for his de Tocqueville seminar, which - cheesy as it sounds - totally changed my life. The way I look at not just politics and America but the way I live was altered from that class and the way he presented de Tocqueville's life and readings to us.

3) Tim Miller, also in the political studies department...his class on presidential politics and administration was one of the best classes I took, and is definitely stuff that I use to inform the work I do now. Also he had us do this project where we had to read a book and basically comment on it while we went through - I'm not a slouch about reading, but that project definitely changed my critical thinking skills while I'm actually going through books, and I think it made me a better student overall...and helps me do better work now.

and finally...

4) Pretty much EVERYONE from the Capital Scholars program, from Karen Moranski and Big Jim on down...the "question classes" and the interdisciplinary nature of those first two years helped bring subjects out of their boxes and in to the mixing bowl reality of the world where you have to be able to draw connections.

And I can't thank "What is Power?" enough for making me an activist, for making me not afraid to call myself an activist, and for showing me the good that collective action can do - definitely something I've carried with me ever since that semester. (Sometimes to the chagrin of UIS administrators, I think...)

Not to mention all the people that helped me form and write and edit my final senior project for the leadership seminar. Bringing all of these things - from the Tocqueville class, early CAP classes, my POS major, my internships and everything else full circle with CAP401 really helped me find closure on college and to bring it all together. Because of that class and that paper, graduating didn't feel like just ticking off a bunch of boxes of requirements. Instead I feel like my degree really stands for all the learning I acquired during my four years at UIS, that I was able to demonstrate to professors that I really admire in a meaningful way that went beyond regurgitation. (I hope.)

At May 2, 2008 at 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a masters student in English, I had wonderful professors at UIS. My favorite, however, was Razak Dahmane. He was so full of life and just really fun. He had such passion for literature and really shared that with his students. He was always available to help his students. I'm not sure I would have made it through without him. He is missed.

At May 2, 2008 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Favorite professor? It's diffcult to pic just one - they were all fantastic, and that's no BS.

As a political studies graduate, I'd have to say Kent Redfield. No doubt Dr. Redfield is very bright, published and highly regarded, especially in the area of campaign finance and reform; he's ceratinly a person who helped put UIS on the map!

But given the demands on his time, he's just very approachable and down to earth. He'll do anything he can to help students become successful students. Many non-traditional students owe much of their academic success to his willingness and personal committment to students.

At May 2, 2008 at 11:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spent five years here now (4 as an undergrad and 1 as a grad) and I can tell you that I have only had one teacher that I didn't like that much. Everyone else has been fantastic. They really do hire the most top notch professors.

I was glad to see Hank Nicholson on here because he has always been one of my favorite people (not just professor, but people). And the funny thing is, I never had Hank for a class. As a CAP student, he was a faculty in residence my freshman year and that really made him human (not just a professor) to us.

I also have to give a shout out to some Math professors, Hei Chi Chan and Chuck Iwashita. Two really excellent professors as well as great people outside the class.

Mary Bohlen in Communication (area for my grad studies and minor) has always been an excellent resource for me and I fell in love with Mass Media because of her class.

Mike Duvall, Mike Miller and Jonathan Perkins in the Visual Arts department (my undergad degree) were always very engaging and helpful. And to be quite honest, their knowledge and experience is so immense that it always amazes me when I talk to them.

There are so many more professors here that I could name, but then this comment might as well have it's own blog post, haha. I encourage students here all the time to form a personal relationship with their professors because it makes their experience here that much more fun. Thanks for blogging this Ed, it let me reminisce a little bit.

At May 2, 2008 at 1:25 PM , Anonymous christyuis said...

I have to agree that there are so many great professors and instructors at UIS. I have to thank Jan Droegkamp from the INO program (who recently retired to serve the Peace Corp) for "lighting a fire" in me to earn my master's degree at UIS. I did not know Jan and had not been a student at UIS, but I made an appointment with her to get some advice, and ended up in admissions the same day to apply for the INO master's program. As a professor and advisor, Jan has a way of making you challenge yourself and in building self-confidence that was unsurpassed.

In terms of learning new technologies, I could not have successfully completed my program without the insights of Sherry Hutson and Ray Schroeder. Their abilities to constantly stay on top of technology is nothing short of amazing. AND I cannot tell you how many times I contacted them after graduation with a question, and received a warm and speedy reply, even years later.

Lastly, Christine Nelson was in the Art Department at the time, and was most encouraging, talented and generous with her time.

At May 2, 2008 at 3:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

People often use different phrases to describe someone they admire in life such as ‘she is a true lady,’ or ‘he is a renaissance man.’ I struggle to find a gender-neutral phrase that describes an academic of the same caliber. I think there is a difference between ‘professor,’ ‘teacher,’ and ‘educator.’ Some academics feel forced or simply choose between research, student service, and research-based teaching. One person comes to mind that has managed to encompass all three . . . Dr. Chris Mooney. For those that know Dr. Mooney, no further explanation is needed. For those that do not, I encourage you to take one of his courses or find an opportunity to work with him. I think you will agree.

At May 2, 2008 at 10:50 PM , Anonymous Kelly King said...

When I first came to UIS I was nervous and I wasn't sure that I could live up to its standards. Dr. Ethan Lewis was my professor for my Cap writing class and he was a wonderful professor. He encouraged me to work at the best of my abilities and he cared for all his students. He is optimistic and always smiling. It is important to have that in a professor.

That brings me to my other favorite professor at UIS. Dr.Sangeeta Parameshwar. She is definately the most optimistic and outgoing person I have ever met. She encourages students to believe in themselves and to be the best they can be.

Last but not least is my Communications professor and advisor Hank Nicholson. I could always depend on Hank to help me solve any problems that may arise in my school career. He takes the time out to help his students and to make sure they stay on the right path. Did I mention how funny he is? There is never a dull moment in his classes.

At May 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM , Blogger Mae Marie Noll said...

When I was told I would need to take an American Literature class in order to complete my TEP Secondary English certification, I had no idea that it would lead to meeting a person whose passion, intellect, and energy would forever inspire me. Charlie Schweighauser taught American Expressions of Naturalism that semester in a way I had never experienced. He incorporated Literature, Science, History, and Art into our lessons, and his charisma and sincere enthusiasm for the authors and subject matter came across in all of his lectures. These lectures, incidentally, were a full three hours long but seemed more like 20 minutes to me as I was wholly absorbed in the learning. In addition to being a dynamic lecturer, Charlie possesses a talent for setting clear boundaries for assessment and respect in the classroom, while still projecting kindness and caring for his students. Charlie Schweighauser constantly reminds me that learning broadly and deeply will make a difference in one’s life. Following that first semester, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take every English class that Charlie taught, as well as his Astronomy for Everyone course. I am forever grateful for Charlie's teaching, inspiration, and smile. -Mae

At May 3, 2008 at 1:33 AM , Blogger Sara said...

In my four years at UIS I had many excellent teachers, but Dr. Mike Lemke stands out above the rest. Dr. Lemke embodies the UIS ideal of a teacher scholar. I had the privilege of both taking his courses and working in his research lab. Dr. Lemke’s passion for scientific inquiry shows in everything he does from the classroom to the field to his work as director of the Emiquon Field Station. I could not have asked for a more inspiring or dedicated mentor and I would not be where I am today without his influence.

At May 4, 2008 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an undergrad alum (Communications) and a soon to be graduate (Political Studies). In my many years at UIS, I don't think I could've found the amazing experience I have received in these two disciplines anywhere else.
First, Hank Nicholson and Mary Bohlen are two outstanding individuals who truly love what they do. I was fortunate to not only take part in their classes, but also engage them as people. I am very happy that Hank is moving on to the "real" world this year--but as many have stated before me, UIS has some big shoes to fill.
Political Studies is an incredible department. As a graduate student, you are guarenteed one on one time with some of the most incredible minds in the political field today. Mouw, Miller, Redfield and Mooney are truly masters at what they do. While many a time I cursed their names as I finished a paper--I recognize beyond a shadow of a doubt--I have learned volumes from them. I am happy to have been at their mercy and I consider it a "badge of honor" to have worked with them.
While this is my last semester and hopefully, my last hurrah at UIS--I am confident if I ever needed anything from any one of these outstanding individuals, they would not hesitate to help me as best they could. That not only speaks to their dedication to teaching, but who they are as people over all. I am extremely grateful to say I worked with each and every one of them.

At May 5, 2008 at 9:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I earned my M.A. in political studies at UIS. Dr. Chris Mooney exemplifies what I liked best about my experience at UIS. He was my advisor and I took two classes with him as well as my closure. He was always very accessible and his classes challenged each student to think beyond their assumed capabilities. It is a pleasure to have learned from a professor who is well published and demonstrates a strong commitment to students.

At May 9, 2008 at 3:17 PM , Anonymous Barb Ferrara said...

I am extremely fortunate to have UIS Professor Chris Mooney, who is very widely respected in the country, as chair of my dissertation committee in Public Administration. His excellent Seminar in State Politics inspired me to attempt a dissertation on The Policy Agendas of Women Governors. Dr. Mooney's knowledge, advice and encouragement, and the example he models of brilliant scholarship and clear and entertaining writing, have been great motivators for me. I will be in his debt forever if I manage to finish the dissertation and earn my doctorate!

At June 17, 2008 at 9:32 PM , Anonymous Amy Spann O'Conner said...

Like many others reflecting on their favorite professors, I have a hard time picking just one. However, two classes left me a new view of the world. Those two were "Women and the Media" and "Family Communication." I am truly blessed to have experienced the Masters Program at UIS.


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