ICCTA Outstanding Faculty Member Award

2001 Nominees


Neil Ackerman
Geography / data processing
Kaskaskia College

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 learn.

Chuck Beetz
Parkland College

My philosophy of teaching . . . includes only several very basic tenets: 1. Know whoIam. 2. Know whotheyare. 3. Know whoweare. . . . 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.

Joyce Genus
Chair, Counseling department
Malcolm X College

Education is conducted by parents first. Consequently, it flourishes when guided by teachers who have mastered both the artandscience 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.

Betty Guyer
Morton College

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.

Joe Hanley
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 authentic teaching.

Gy Hughes
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, mycommunity collegestudents.

Lynda Jerit
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.

Beverly Kiele
Radiologic technology
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.

Tom Lombardo
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!'"

Larry Lorensen
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.

Janette Maley
Kishwaukee College

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.

Pamela Mammano
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.

Janet Miller
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 the following:

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.

John Muench
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 person."

Jon Odell
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.

Curtis Oldfield
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.

Tom Pilat
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.

Hani Qasmieh
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.

Steve Schuerman
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.

Alan Wade
Chair, Science department
Triton College

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.

Jane Wagoner
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
Interpreter preparation
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.

David Wujek
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.