ICCTA Outstanding Faculty Member Award

2002 Nominees


Dr. Joan Ferrell
English and French
Southeastern Illinois College

Since many of my students must work outside the classroom, I try to give them the encouragement to persevere and am often rewarded when they thank me, as one student recently did, for helping her to "keep on keeping on."

Denise Anastasio
Health information technology
College of Lake County

My first baccalaureate degree was in English, and I have continued to believe that educated individuals are those that have developed an understanding of contemporary social issues, historical perspectives, economic issues, and a lifelong love of learning. I try to incorporate these aspects of a liberal education into our curriculum, even though it is considered a technical career program.

Marco Benassi
Speech communications
College of DuPage

My philosophy of education includes many strategies and goals:

Instill vision. Have humility. Value differences.
Be open/flexible. Face obstacles.
Trust your heart. Present a challenge.
Set no limitations.
Make it fun. It's a lifelong process.

Jeanine Bloyd
Spoon River College

I feel fortunate to teach within a discipline that strives to understand the human experience. Ultimately, my own greatest learning moments over the past 17 years have occurred in the classroom with my students. Perhaps that is because I strive to approach the unfolding of ideas and the excitement of discovery with an enthusiastic curiosity.

Dr. Ed Bridges
Shawnee Community College

My goal as an instructor is to correct or minimize limitations and to enhance the strengths. If the student gains confidence by mastery of one difficult concept, they then feel empowered to conquer more complex ones. We do no service to a student when we make the road too easy. It is the role of the instructor to provide a pathway that will ultimately lead to a better life and a better appreciation for the world around them.

Marion Carroll
John A. Logan College

Above all, I work towards helping my students understand the importance of writing, not only for career purposes, but to discover who they are and to share this understanding with those who care most about who they are and where they are going in their lives. If I can achieve this goal, I have fulfilled my primary objective in teaching.

Robert L. Carson
Wilbur Wright College

Thirty-eight years after I taught my first psychology class in graduate school, my classes are just as exciting, my students just as inspiring, and my colleagues just as supportive. The opportunity to spend my life in the most rewarding activity I can imagine has expanded my horizons beyond my wildest dreams.

Dr. Carol Chandler
Psychology and sociology
McHenry County College

As an educator I am in the position to pass on the enthusiasm that I have for my disciplines, to foster the importance of lifelong learning, and to validate each student's unique contribution to our mutual learning process. Education can open the doors to many and varied opportunities. I am proud to be an integral part of such an "honorable occupation."

Al Check
Machine tool technology
Triton College

By example, stand up for worthwhile causes. It may not be popular, but sometimes we must take chances for the betterment of education and society. If teachers don't stand by their convictions, they commit a grave injustice to those who could benefit by their actions. Remembering a plaque on my high school shop teacher's desk, "It is better to try and fail, than not to try at all," I hadn't realized it then, but the cornerstone of my philosophy of education had begun.

Lisa Putman Cole
Heartland Community College

Teaching is the complex act of facilitating others' learning. As teachers, it is our business to ensure than learning is an integral part of the process of education and that the terms "students" and "learners" become synonymous. . . . Teaching that fails to result in learning is time wasted – for teachers and for students.

Dr. Michael J. Cravatta
Richland Community College

Education is a learning process for individuals to grow and stimulate themselves both morally and mentally by acquiring wisdom and knowledge through study and experience. . . . Education promotes and assists human development and provides the freedom for the individual to discover one's self in life regardless of different race, color or religion.

Dan Davis
Athletic director
Malcolm X College

Every student can learn; it's a matter of nurturing, effort and mentoring.

Terese Dudek
Kishwaukee College

My role in the classroom is that of facilitator of student learning. I believe that college students should have a natural curiosity for learning, and ultimately be responsible for their learning. . . . My philosophy of education envisions students as well-rounded and socially responsible humans for whom teachers are role models.

George Evans
Criminal justice
William Rainey Harper College

We as educators must recognize each student's achievements at our point of contact. We must recognize each of our student's individual learning styles, and do whatever we can to meet his or her educational needs. This is a difficult role for today's educator facing the diverse backgrounds of students. Fortunately, as part of a community college family, I am part of a great team.

Murlen Garner
Kaskaskia College

Understanding that each student has many issues that they deal with on a regular basis, I know that it is important to be there for the students. The results that I expect are students that graduate with confidence, knowledge and, above all, a value for education, reflective of my own teaching standards.

Lori K. Garrett
Danville Area Community College

Each student is both reachable and teachable, and I must find the best path to guide them to success. . . . If I have a passion for what I teach, my enthusiasm becomes infectious and my students leave my classes assessing their worlds with newly opened eyes and minds that hunger for more knowledge.

Victoria Giambrone
Anthropology and geography
Oakton Community College

My philosophy is that everyone can learn. Every student has potential. No matter at what level a student is achieving, there is always something new to experience. This is true for me, too! . . . Critical thinking is essential to an education. I encourage students to question everything – their text, the news, even me. This is one of the most important skills we can teach our students.

Jan Hayes
Computer information systems
Lewis and Clark Community College

To build a good relationship with my students, I treat all students fairly and equally. I respect them, and believe they are all capable of learning the subject matter. Students must be able to trust me and know that I want them to succeed.

Janice Hill-Matula
Developmental reading
Moraine Valley Community College

John Dewey once said that education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. I agree with John Dewey. . . . Educators must continue to find novel ways to emphasize the lifelong attitudes necessary to further John Dewey's observation.

Don Jenkins
Agriculture & industrial technology
Illinois Central College

Teachers should value each student's involvement in their education. Students who know little and learn much benefit more than those who know more but learn little. Regardless of what administrative evaluations say, there are "good" teachers and "poor" teachers. If you don't believe that, ask the students.

Dr. Harold G. Johnson
Administration of justice
Southwestern Illinois College

Educational curriculum must address competencies but must also includes issues of a social and global nature. The teacher who facilitates the student's educational experience must nurture the student, in a safe environment, towards the acquisition of knowledge, skills and an appreciation of what it is to be human.

Mary Knepp
Adult education
Black Hawk College

These are the beliefs I bring into my classroom:

    • Students first
  • Learning is change
  • All learners have potential
  • The educator is a facilitator
    Education touches lives. Our students deserve our very best in helping them reach their potential.

    Norma Lestikow
    Highland Community College

    Teaching is a profession that provides rewards that few other occupations can give. Only seeing a new baby being born can outweigh the pleasure of seeing a student's academic growth throughout a semester.

    Dr. Ricardo Lorenz
    Richard J. Daley College

    History and techniques are part of what I teach, of course, but what fascinates me most is how human nature manifests itself through music. How music offers an interface space, devoid of social, political, cultural or language barriers, by which people that engage in it experience first-hand the joys of kinship and difference. This sounds idealistic, but it's true. Music is a universal form of communication.

    Mary Jean McHugh
    French / Italian
    Lincoln Land Community College

    The teaching process begins from the first moment that we make contact with our students. We can cause as important a change in our students' lives by modeling courtesy or patience outside the classroom as we can with chalk or wireless mouse in hand inside the classroom.

    Mark W. Moore
    Chemistry and physics
    John Wood Community College

    Jaded colleagues often complain that today's students do not have inquiring minds. Isn't it the teacher's responsibility to stimulate curiosity by constructing experiences that challenge the student's misconceptions and superstitions? . . . One knows that a passion for teaching has been recognized when a student comments on an evaluation that the teacher is proud of his/her students.

    Mark Pelczarski
    Computer science
    Elgin Community College

    Never stop learning. Let your students share your own joy in learning new things. Know enough to be confident. Know that there's a lot that you don't know. Take risks. Don't just stick with what you've done before. Be honest with your students when your risks fail. Be honest always. Never be afraid to say "I don't know." Letting your student know you are human helps their confidence.

    Marilyn Quas
    Chair, natural sciences department
    Prairie State College

    I see education as a lifelong process. My goal in teaching parallels my goal in life: to explore the world, live life to its fullest, and continually broaden my knowledge. I strive to instill this goal in students directly in the area of Earth Science and indirectly in their personal lives.

    Larry Schroeder
    Carl Sandburg College

    One of my favorite teachers and past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics used to say, you cannot expect things to grow unless you put down some fertilizer. I have followed that principle and used his stories as well as adding my own.

    Larry Sidwell
    Accounting and economics
    Rend Lake College

    I come to the classroom with the sober realization that professor are role models. As a student myself, I looked to my professors as experts in their respective disciplines. Likewise, I have been periodically reminded of the power of teaching when I hear myself quoted by former students. Accordingly, I am consciously aware of the influence I have and the duty to use my position responsibly.

    Larry Sileven
    Heating and air conditioning
    Sauk Valley Community College

    As a teacher of students who often are working adults who can complete their certification in the field in less than a year, I encourage students to commit themselves to taking at least one class a semester beyond their certificate training. . . . Realistically, I know that while opportunities may be plentiful, preparedness is a prerequisite for taking advantage of them.

    Judith Straffin
    Composition and literature
    Rock Valley College

    I once approached a wise colleague whom I knew students loved. Like him, I was feeling deluged by the numbers of young people seeking my help – in matters personal as well as academic. I asked him, "How do you survive? What do you do for them all?" He smiled. "I've learned," he said, "that I need not pay special heed to a given student . . . as long as someone does." His credo lies at the core of my philosophy of teaching.

    Harold Strangeman
    Social science
    Lake Land College

    Caring for our students and sharing with our students our own educational knowledge and information are as important as ever. It is the combined caring for our students and sharing the material with our students that makes teaching so rewarding.

    Audrey Styers
    Computer information systems
    Morton College

    Education is a great equalizer. It doesn't matter who your family is or what they do. People who have received an education can be what they want and work to fulfill their dreams. The ability to receive a quality education needs to be available to everyone. It should be affordable and accessible. An education is not just given – it has to be earned. Students need to work hard and be willing to make sacrifices in order to receive their education. As educators we can make a difference in people's lives.

    Tod Treat
    Parkland College

    My role is to create a "community" that will motivate, guide and cajole my students to new heights. In doing so, I have noticed that students are asking better questions, are choosing topics related to their work or interests, and are finding information for us, the community, to discuss.

    Dr. Audrey Turner
    Social science
    Kennedy-King College
    The 21st century will bring a global society with new careers and a unique, culturally diverse society. Education cannot be limited to preparation in a single society and its cultural system. This global society will be more influenced by technology than 20th century societies. . . . My philosophy of education recommends an important addition to the list of cross-curricula skills – the development of cognitive processes that promote lifelong successful adaptations and achievements across time and space.