ICCTA Outstanding Faculty Member Award
Geography / data processing
I sometimes think that the most important part of a class session is
the five minutes before the class starts. This is when I chat with
students. It is a time that bridges are built, and students respond by
becoming receptive during class. If the students like me, this helps,
but it is not the most important criteria for their learning. What is
really important is that I care about them as people, and that my
classroom is a good place to be and is a good place in which to
My philosophy of teaching . . . includes only several very basic
tenets: 1. Know who I am. 2. Know who they are. 3. Know who we
are. . . . Teaching is an interaction between people. Learning is the
goal. If I am successful, I hope that I instill in my students a feeling
that lies at the core of my teaching û there is joy in learning, there
is joy in accomplishing goals above those one comes to expect.
There is joy and pride in success. . . . I am Chuck Beetz, I teach.
Martha K. Bramlette
Computer information systems
Prairie State College
As a professor in a community college, I have the unique
opportunity to help people change their lives. Our students come to
us because they want a better life for themselves and for their
family. Since they come with the motivation, we need to supply the
content and to model a professional attitude.
Richard A. Christman
Danville Area Community College
I believe students need a strong foundation in science and math to
succeed in many areas of educational endeavor, medical or
otherwise, without overshadowing a student's exposure and
appreciation for other realms of study û the humanities, history, art,
and more. Students need to understand how science integrates with
all areas of study.
Edward E. Devine
Moraine Valley Community College
My teaching philosophy is much like an earthquake-resistant gym.
There is a strong foundation based on the best teaching techniques
obtained from previous professors, colleagues and my own written
student evaluations over the past 28 years. The building on this
foundation is flexible, adaptable and continuously under
remodeling. I am also the coach in this gym . . . . I have been
covering the same material for a long time, but I never tire because
it is not the material I teach but people.
Mary Ruth Donnelly
Composition and literature
Southwestern Illinois College
Students often come to us with the idea that we are topiary
gardeners. They see themselves as plants that we will prune and
train into some imaginary, preconceived notion of ours. . . . But I
see them more as a mixed bag of spring bulbs. . . . Our job is to
find good soil to plant them in. . . . Then we wait, and in the spring,
they each grow into different shapes, colors and heights. The
beauty they were going to be was inside them all along.
Chair, Counseling department
Malcolm X College
Education is conducted by parents first. Consequently, it flourishes
when guided by teachers who have mastered both the art and
science of instruction. The art of teaching encompasses that innate
talent whereby an educator demonstrates a genuine passion and
love for teaching. . . . Alternately, the science of teaching entails
emerging research, technologies, cooperative/collaborative
experiential learning, and other engaging methodologies.
I'm a product of a 1950s liberal arts education and nearly 40 years
of teaching mathematics . . . and proud of what those experiences
have done for me. To some of my colleagues I may be a dinosaur
because I don't like books that stress "real world applications," and
I don't like it when we're asked to use calculators to circumvent
understanding and imagination. My philosophy of education is
fundamentally rooted in employing the mind to appreciate the
richness and variety of life.
James J. Hajek
Lincoln Land Community College
I do not think of myself as a foundation of knowledge and my
students as jugs to be filled, but rather as a team player willing to
work with the class as a whole as well as with individuals to help
them achieve their goals. As a teacher I strive to enable each of my
students to discover his/her full potential. Education is an ongoing
part of life that transcends the walls of any institution.
Chair, Mathematics / science division
Lake Land College
After 34 years as an educator, I find myself being asked, for the
first time, to put in words my philosophy of education. Is it
possible for someone to arrive at this point in their career and not
have a philosophy? . . . My philosophy of education turns out to be
rather simple. Establish realistic goals, develop and use teaching
methods that allow students to achieve these goals, incorporate
these methods into the curriculum, and make all of this work by
mixing in a healthy dose of caring.
Dr. Erika Hartmann
Chair, English department
South Suburban College
2001 award recipient -- click here to read more
That is, after all, what is so exhilarating about teaching in a
community college. We are immediately responsive to the needs of
our students and our community. . . . Hopefully I do not appear
sentimental or maudlin when I tell you I would rather teach at
South Suburban College, where we have so many "broken wings."
When I hear from former students, I know I have impacted their
lives and perhaps added to the quality of their lives. For me, that is
Southeastern Illinois College
To understand my students I cannot lose sight of why they have
chosen to attend a community college, and I believe the community
college cannot lose sight of its intended mission as it relates to its
students. . . . While most all who have chosen education as their
career have experienced the frustration and the rewards of being in
education, I believe what has maintained my desire to teach is why
I am even in the classroom: my students -- that is, my community
Oakton Community College
In a favorite poem of mine, the poet W.H. Auden uses the phrase
"undiscouraged shining." Over the years, this phrase has become
central for me. If I can be an emblem of the worth of hard work,
the beauty of insight and understanding, the fun and pleasure of
accomplishment, then I can be a beacon -- a minor beacon -- but a
real light nonetheless.
Sauk Valley Community College
My role as a teacher is to teach the students facts and principles of
the subject matter so they will perform well in the clinical site and
be prepared for jobs/careers. . . . My teaching goals: 1. Develop
analytic skills. 2. Develop problem-solving skills. 3. Develop an
informed appreciation of other cultures. 4. Develop a commitment
to accurate work. 5. Develop respect for others. If I can meet my
goals, then graduates will have developed into lifelong learners.
Gregory J. Lee
Business / economics
John Wood Community College
After my students understand that I truly applaud their abilities,
they soon learn that their classroom is a safe environment in which
opinions can be expressed and debated on their merits. The fact
that they might disagree with someone on a particular topic no
longer silences them. . . . The interesting thing that I have found is
that once students achieve some success, they set the bar higher for
themselves than I might have set it for them.
Electronic engineering technology
Rock Valley College
"(A former student) came to my office to chat. This is what he told
me: 'I interviewed for a job, and the employer asked a lot of
technical questions. Some of the questions I answered; others I
couldn't. After thinking about it, I realized that the questions that I
was capable of answering were the subjects that I learned in your
classes. You made me work harder than I wanted to, but because of
that I learned the material. Last year, I was mad at you Now I see
why you did it. Thanks!'"
Chair, Social and behavioral studies department
Black Hawk College
Be honest and truthful. Treat all students as adults û fairly and
reasonably. Demand that students approach course work seriously
and understand fully what is expected of them. Draw upon
theoretical concepts and personal experiences in politics to make
course materials relative to students' life experiences. Challenge
students to work up to their potential. Be accessible to students to
discuss problems and concerns.
Robert C. Lossman
College of Lake County
As a graduate of the College of Lake County, I empathize with the
challenges of the community college student. I have always been
open about my multiple learning challenges because my students
need to see a person with challenges who is a successful and
accepted member of the College community. We all need role
models and the only that I can repay my many mentors who have
believed in me is to pass that gift to others.
I am drinking Yogi Tea, struggling over words to put down that
speak of my educational philosophy. I think about how it will
sound, these words I use. Then I read the "fortune" on the tea bag
label. "Recognize that the other person is you." This is what I am
struggling to say.
Illinois Valley Community College
Each student is a unique individual, and I am privileged to have an
impact on his or her life. They in turn take my teaching philosophy
as they enter the professional world. In return, I continue to learn
from students and their experiences as we influence each other's
lives. . . . My teaching philosophy is multifaceted and continuously
evolving as I continue to grow as an individual and an instructor.
Office systems technology
Rend Lake College
As a very young child, my mother made me memorize a little
saying. I had to stand on a little box, shake my finger, and recite
Do what you do. . . do with your might. . . things done by half. . .
are never done right
This has been my philosophy for my life, and I have tried to instill
this principle in my classroom.
Heartland Community College
A former student writes: "I nominate John Muench because out of
my six semesters at HCC, he is without a doubt the best instructor I
have had. John is extremely competent in his area of study. He is
always there for extra help and this past semester provided an extra
study session for his students when he took three hours out of his
personal time every week to help us. Mr. Muench is a very
personable, empathic, patient instructor and above all, an excellent
Richland Community College
I believe that education is the apprenticeship of life. Education is a
debt due from the present to future generations. As an educator, I
strive to lead by example and seek to install in my students the
values of lifelong learning, independent and critical thinking, a
strong work ethic, devotion to one's work, a respect for cultural
diversity, and a spirit of service.
Agriculture business management
Spoon River College
I have realized that for students to be successful in the 21st century,
they need to be lifelong learners. Helping them to develop the
skills necessary to become lifelong learners requires a different
approach to teaching and learning. This approach involves students
working together toward common goals, instructors serving as
"experts," coaches, facilitators, and sometimes just plain getting
out of the way and letting students discover for themselves.
Dr. Chris Petersen
College of DuPage
Education leads towards improving the natural and social
environment for future generations. On a personal level, education
is a lifelong adventure which, ideally, is inclusive of many fields of
learning. Exercising the mind through lifelong learning offers to
promote the quality of life and may engage the individual in a
socially meaningful way.
Math, science and engineering
Illinois Central College
I believe that educators everywhere are devoted to uncovering the
potential in others and facilitating its development for the
betterment of the person and society. At whatever stage in life,
people can learn about the world around them. An educated person
becomes more interesting, more caring, more critical, more
dynamic, and a better problem-solver.
Elgin Community College
The best of us would aspire to be educators, and the rest of us
would have to settle for something less, since passing knowledge
along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor
and the highest responsibility anyone could ever have. . . . It is a
commitment to empower all students to become what they are
capable of becoming and to prepare them to adapt and contribute to
tomorrow's global society . . . . An effective educator is a caring
educator who goes above and beyond and is willing to do whatever
it takes to help his or her students become the best they can be.
Dr. Sharon Resch
Chair, Business, occupational and technology division
Shawnee Community College
From attending 1st grade in a two-room school to teaching on the
Internet, which covers 50 years of educational experiences,
education and I have come a long way. My philosophy of
education stretches back to that two-room school, where teaching
one another was so essential. I remember the 4th grader helping me
with my spelling. What we call peer tutoring or mentoring today
was expected in that classroom.
Dr. Brian Sager
Animal and plant sciences
McHenry County College
As a teacher, I view myself as a guide. I want to guide students
through a journey of discovery û a discovery of themselves, the
world around them, and the sphere of interaction between people
and their physical and social environments. . . . As an educator, I
want to be a change agent and provide people the tools they need to
understand and embrace life's changing demands.
Coordinator, CAD / drafting program
Lewis and Clark Community College
My teaching of the fundamentals to the most advanced skills is
infused with my own excitement and true joy in the subject matter.
. . . While I'm teaching, my excitement and joy must be apparent to
my students. If they believe that I truly enjoy the technology that I
am teaching, the classroom becomes a learning community and not
just a room where information is distributed. They begin to interact
with the subject matter, with me and with one another.
Chair, Science department
The most effective teacher will be the one who never works
entirely on his own. It will be the individual who interacts and
collaborates regularly with his colleagues who share a continuing
interest in becoming better teachers. As much as any other factor, it
is this willingness to help each other become more effective that
strengthens our role as professional educators.
Wilbur Wright College
When I was a high school junior, my English class studied the
Romantic poets. As I sat at my desk and listened to the teacher, I
was frustrated. Since I had enjoyed reading the poetry so much, I
looked forward to our class discussion; however, I was
disappointed. My teacher's presentation was so boring that I was
convinced that I could make the lesson more exciting. In that
classroom the seeds of my teaching career were sown.
Paula M. Willig
John A. Logan College
Teachers that establish high standards, communicate clear
expectations, and show respect for their students will see students
rise to meet those standards and satisfy the expectations. The most
effective teachers are willing to learn.
Carl Sandburg College
My approach to teaching is inspired by several motivations. First
and foremost, I have a passion for biology. The operation of
biological systems fill me with a sense of excitement and
admiration that I try to transmit to my students. I am hopeful that
my students will respond to this passion and will achieve an
"everyday" understanding and appreciation of how biology
"works" and that this interest will be lifelong.
The statewide recipient of the 2001 Outstanding Faculty Member Award will be announced at
ICCTA's annual banquet on Friday, June 15, at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
For additional information, please contact
Kim Villanueva at 217-528-2858, ext. 1.
Illinois Community College Trustees Association|
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
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