With 2015 now in the record books, a look back shows just how busy and…
For Valentine’s Day we asked students to tell us about an NIU instructor or class they love. Here’s what they shared:
Sophomore nursing student Laura Zehr says she will forever remember her communications 100 instructor, Madelyn Anderson. Anderson’s enthusiasm and caring is what makes her stand out, Zehr says. “You could really tell that she cared about every student in the class. She frequently mentioned that if we were going through a rough time and needed some guidance, her door is always open,” Zehr says. Anderson’s support continues outside the class. “I am a member of the marching band and she even came to the Sycamore Pumpkin Parade to watch us. When we marched by I could hear her loudly cheering, “GOOO LAURA!! WOOHOO!” I’ll be the first to admit that I was dreading taking a speech class, but I ended up enjoying it because of her. She is a professor I will remember forever.”
CRAZY 4 U
Senior journalism major Desni Norton gives a shout out to two of her instructors: Aimee Barrows and associate professor Joe Bonomo. Both instructors provided Norton with extra help when she needed it. Norton said she felt comfortable talking with Barrows and looked to her as a mentor, while Bonomo’s enthusiasm made her excited to go to class and opened her mind to critical thinking. He even allowed the students to call his home if they needed to. “I just appreciate teachers that are willing to help all the way around, not just in the classroom,” Norton says.
Graduate student accounting major Akintunde Folaju says assistant professor Meghann Cefaratti’s teaching manner is what he loved in his audit and assurance services class. She is personable, friendly and helps make the material easy to understand. “It’s the one class I’ve gotten a ‘B,’ in,” Folaju says. “And she’s still my favorite teacher.”
U + ME
Interesting and helpful is the winning combination for junior corporate communications major Ariel Lawrence, and Civic Leadership instructor Cheronda Everett possesses both. Lawrence is starting her own business and finds Everett’s class particularly useful. “Her class is helping guide me down the right path,” Lawrence says. “And she makes me want to come to class,” Lawrence adds. “She doesn’t make it boring.”
I CARE 4 U
It’s that extra effort to be attentive to her students that makes psychology professor Lisa Finkelstein a favorite of junior psychology major Keeayla Jones. Finkelstein answered all the questions in her emails quickly and stayed late during finals to help Jones. “She’d always check in with us,” Jones says. “Once I came in to class upset and she said ‘you don’t seem right today. Is something wrong?’”
The expert-level instruction senior biology major Ahmadou Babana receives in his biology 355 class is impressive. “It’s the first class I’ve taken that makes sense about what I want to do,” Babana says. This is part in thanks to associate professor Kenneth Gasser who Babana says can explain the subject material well, impressing Babana with his ability to lecture. “He knows this material so well he can lecture from his head.”
Senior kinesiology major Victoria Castaneda loved associate professor Todd Gilson who taught her sports psychology class. Gilson was able to help her understand an athlete’s mindset, she says. “He would relate to us by telling personal stories and incorporate his own life into our life. He just knew how to teach well and was a good guy,” Castaneda says.
U R AMAZING
It takes special instructors to start a true love story. Graduate student Rita Shadle studied deafness rehabilitation during her undergrad work. She took for American Sign Language classes at NIU and loved them. “I found a true passion through these classes which lead me to becoming both the secretary and vice president of NIU Deaf Pride,” Shadle says. She continues to use her skills as an ASL teaching assistant, attends Deaf Coffee Chats, and works alongside a Deaf teacher. Deafness rehabilitation instructor Taylor Hartman is one of Shandle’s favs. “He’s an amazing teacher who will get you hooked on the language!”
Pointing out that while every faculty member in the music department is wonderful, professor Ted Hatmaker is freshman music performance major Lauren McCombe’s favorite. “Dr. Hatmaker is one of those very rare, one-in-a-million professors. His genuinely cares about each and every one of his students. He wants the very best for them and is extremely inspiring,” McCombe says. One big plus: Hatmaker makes his aural skills classes fun, McCombe adds. “The class is always full of laughs, love, and learning, and the students enjoy being there.”
GOOD 4 YOU
An interesting subject delivered by a great professor is how junior computer science and mathematics double major Darronta Banks describes economics 160. He loved the class instructed by visiting assistant professor Harlan Holt. “It made me care about a lot of different stuff I didn’t care about or think about before,” Banks says. Banks appreciated that specific topics were covered versus models of economics. “The class gives just enough understanding about economics to be vocal about it.”
Two students give props to English instructor Jeanne Jakubowski for patience, caring, and encouragement. Marielle Jones, a freshman fashion merchandising major, says Jakubowski pushed her to dig deep into her personal life experiences while completing her writing assignments. She also cited her for being easy-going and for her ability to bond with the class. “She was patient yet challenging,” says senior rehabilitation services major Antoinette Green. “She wanted us to be our best in class even if English wasn’t our major.”
First year graduate student industrial engineering major Varun Naik say he loves his class on engineering and information systems. It’s the combination of a subject he likes and Professor Murali Krishnamurthi who Naik says not only teaches well but provides students with all his notes, making a textbook purchase unnecessary.
Sociology student Jonathan Chereck didn’t limit his praise to one instructor or class. In a recent facebook post he shared his list of instructors who inspire him. Sociology instructor Mary Landeros stands out as exceptional: “She created an atmosphere of trust, and clearly expressed an enthusiasm for the material we covered,” he says. Political science instructor Rebecca Hannagan inspired Chereck to minor in political science. And, mathematics instructor Lance Vobornik gets kudos for this: “Engaging students in a class of 200 is very difficult, but he seemed to manage it with a high level of energy that reached even me in the very back of the auditorium.”
U R PERFECT
Senior sociology major Raven Cole never missed sociology 354 with instructor Jan Reynolds. “She is an amazing teacher,” Cole says. “She opened my eyes to different things I hadn’t even thought of before and she was fun and great to be around.” Cole added. “You just wanted to go to class. I had perfect attendance that semester.”
Fostering creativity is key for freshman illustration major Danielle Gross, and she says visiting professor Benjamin Stone provides that and more. She took his sculpture class and it was “energetic, open and fun,” and allowed the students to explore different mediums and be creative. He also provided a lot of assistance when needed. “I was constantly emailing him, showing ideas and asking advice,” Gross says. “And he was always available.”