Feature News

North Central College recognizes faculty and staff excellence

Aug 08, 2018

North Central College has awarded an endowed chair, the Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professorship in the Humanities, to Jennifer Jackson, associate professor and chair of the English department.

John Bramsen ’60 established the chair in 1992 in honor of his parents, and it was the first endowed chair in the College’s history. His mission was to advance interdisciplinary connections at the College, provide and encourage outstanding teaching and pursue scholarship in the humanities to ensure its values are sustained and shared.

“Learning I’d been awarded the Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professorship in the Humanities was a life-changing moment,” said Jackson. “It was made even more meaningful because my long-time colleague and friend Francine Navakas, professor emerita, was the first to hold this endowed chair.”

Jennifer Jackson poses as newly selected endowed chair

Jennifer Jackson poses as newly selected endowed chair

Stephen Caliendo, dean of the college of arts and sciences, has worked closely with Jackson as the chair of the English department. “I was thrilled with the announcement of her receiving the chair,” said Caliendo. “She is a tireless champion of the humanities, both on our campus and beyond.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to carry out the vision the Bramsen family described,” said Jackson. “My goal is to help students learn to read closely and critically, understand the ethics and efficacy involved in dialogue, recognize reasoned arguments, and believe they have the curiosity and abilities to enact meaningful change.”

In addition to the endowed chair, North Central College has recognized three faculty members for their outstanding teaching by naming them Ruge Fellows. Leila Azarbad, associate professor of psychology, Amy Grim Buxbaum, associate professor of communication and William Muck, associate professor of political science, were announced by Abiódún “G-P” Gòkè-Pariolá, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“Our new Fellows clearly model innovative and exemplary pedagogical practices and sustained and extraordinary commitment to student success,” said Gòkè-Pariolá. “As campus leaders, these faculty colleagues model our highest aspirations for teaching and mentoring.”

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., White House physician to President Ronald Reagan and former chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Senior faculty apply to the program and submit extensive personal statements about their teaching. They are evaluated by a professor from another institution, as well as representatives of North Central College faculty, including a previous Ruge Fellow.

“It is a distinct and humbling honor to be recognized as a Ruge Fellow at an institution that so deeply values and promotes outstanding teaching,” said Azarbad. “It is a true privilege to teach, mentor and be involved with students in a meaningful way.”

“I feel lucky to be on a campus that values not just excellent teaching, but creative teaching as well,” said Buxbaum. “One of the things I love about teaching at North Central is the range of students I get to educate every year.”

“I am honored to be part of this tradition and the wonderful history of teaching excellence at North Central,” said Muck. “My most memorable moments have been when students let go of their inhibitions and dive deeply into the world of ideas.”

Furthermore, North Central presented six Dissinger Awards to faculty and staff. These endowed awards were established in memory of two North Central College alumni—Clarence F. Dissinger ’21 and his sister Ruth C. Dissinger Althaus ’22. The recipients are:

Senior faculty: Suzanne Chod, associate professor of political science

Junior faculty: Nicholas Boaz, assistant professor of chemistry

Scholarship prize, senior faculty: Perry Hamalis, Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion

Scholarship prize, junior faculty: Rebecca Stafford, assistant professor of English

Administrative manager: Jesús Velasco, International Student advisor

Administrative support staff: Michelle Deetjen, Campus Postal Center supervisor

Distinguished teaching awards recipients were:

Part-time faculty: Kenneth Helberg ’82, adjunct instructor of chemistry and physics; assistant men’s and women’s track & field coach

Adjunct half-time faculty: Marisa Fontana, half-time assistant professor of sociology

The senior faculty service award went to Jennifer Jackson, associate professor of English.

Endowed chair awarded to Jennifer Jackson

Endowed chair awarded to Jennifer Jackson