New Ruge Fellows “humbled” by honor

Apr 26, 2013

North Central College has rewarded three faculty members for their outstanding teaching by naming them Ruge Fellows. Mara Berkland, associate professor of speech communication, Stephen Maynard Caliendo, professor of political science, and Nancy Peterson, professor of chemistry, were recognized at the April 25 faculty meeting by R. Devadoss Pandian, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.

“Teaching is an art and a science,” he said. “These professors have an enthusiasm for working with students and a passion for their discipline that’s unfathomable.”

The Ruge Fellows program was established in 2006 to recognize, celebrate and reward faculty for their contributions to teaching and learning. The program was named for the late Daniel Ruge ’39, M.D., a neurosurgeon, White House physician to President Ronald Reagan and former chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Senior faculty must apply to the program and submit extensive personal statements about their teaching. They are evaluated by a professor from another institution, two North Central College faculty endowed chair holders and Pandian.

The new Fellows agreed they were humbled by the distinction in light of North Central’s mission to cultivate superior teaching. “At a College that is known for teaching excellence, to be placed among the best is humbling,” said Peterson, who coordinates the College’s undergraduate research program.

Berkland noted that she was “honored to be among this group, who represent the very best in teaching at North Central.” Berkland also served as co-chair of the strategic planning process during 2012.

A published author and chair of the Human Thought and Behavior Division, Caliendo said, “My scholarship is very important to me but I became a professor because I wanted to teach, and I came to North Central College because I wanted to be surrounded by excellent teachers. To be recognized by my peers in this way is powerful to me.”

The new Fellows join the current Ruge Fellows: David Fisher, professor philosophy, Karl Kelley, professor of psychology and Lisa Long, professor of English.