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Teaching excellence awards

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C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1

DR. DANIEL MEISSNER

 EPARTMENT OF HISTORY D KLINGLER COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Dr. Daniel Meissner, associate professor of history, is an expert on East Asian civilization who teaches surveys and seminars focused on promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding. One of his colleagues wrote that Meissner has the ability to transform the classroom into “magical places where students pass through a Narnian wardrobe only to find themselves transplanted in Confucian cosmological workshops, Qin calligraphic practice with ink and brush, Buddhist tea ceremonies and walking tours through China.” Meissner received a Fulbright Award to teach in China during the 2011–12 academic year, which prompted him to deepen students’ educational experiences by developing two interdisciplinary summer study abroad courses in China for undergraduates. In the classroom, Meissner makes it a point to call on each student every class. “I challenge my students to recall information, draw links to other lectures or courses, express opinions, formulate hypotheses, question interpretations, or anticipate outcomes,” he says. Meissner strives to have a positive impact on students inside and outside of the classroom, in Milwaukee and around the world in China. He has served as the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History since 2010 and also works to assist Chinese exchange students adjust to life in the Midwest.

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DR. TERENCE T. OW

 EPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT D COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Dr. Terence T. Ow, associate professor of management, regularly teaches an introductory course that is critical for undergraduates, as it can often set students on a positive trajectory. And it is clear from his teaching evaluation scores that he consistently does just that. The course is an enriching experience for students because they are engaged in semester-long projects, applying their knowledge and creating much-needed database solutions for local service organizations. Many of Ow’s former students decided to pursue careers in informational technology after taking his introductory course. Students appreciate Ow’s use of the Socratic method and his rigorous expectations because they push them to perform at a higher level. A former student said, “There was never an ‘easy’ day in his classroom, but there was also never a day I didn’t grow and develop in my knowledge.” Outside the

classroom, Ow has an open door policy, and students often attend his office hours for questions about coursework, career choice, internships and job interviews. Ow holds himself to the same high expectations he holds his students, challenging himself to be as relevant as possible in the dynamic area of technology. “I recently shadowed partners in an accounting firm to explore and examine the various roles our students will be expected to take on in their careers,” Ow says. “It was also a reality check for me to see if the knowledge and skill sets that I teach were relevant for our students. I always want to be sure I set them up to be as successful as possible in their chosen field given today’s ever changing technology.”

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DR. JOHN SU

 EPARTMENT OF ENGLISH D KLINGLER COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Dr. John Su, professor of English and director of the Core of Common Studies, is known to be one of the most popular professors in his department, and one of the most challenging. A former director of the University Honors Program noted that Su is able to “challenge the very top students without losing the students who struggle more with the material.” Both graduate and undergraduate students echo this ­sentiment, noting that Su’s expectations for his students are always very high. One undergraduate student said, “He took me off cruise control. He made me work to succeed. He made me push myself. He inspired me to earn achievement rather than accepting it.” Su pushes no one harder than himself, saying revision is the key to his success in the classroom. “I fail all the time — every semester,” Su says. “I experiment with new approaches, assignments and topics. Often, they don’t work the first or second time, or ever. I try to be a relentless critic of my pedagogy, to learn and revise.” As director of the Core of Common Studies, Su has worked to refine assessment procedures and ready the university for an extensive program review. He has developed and taught more than 20 courses while at Marquette, which is highly unusual. Having taught in the Department of English, the University Honors Program and several common core courses, Su’s teaching reach extends to students in majors and disciplines across campus.

Haggerty Award winner tackles the tough topics His career as a researcher is as varied as it is prolific, but Dr. James Holstein’s start as a sociologist was a bit shaky. Now a professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, he started as an undergraduate who “bounced around for seven years” at the University of California– Berkley during the height of the Vietnam War before declaring a sociology major. Holstein completed his doctoral work at the University of Michigan disenchanted, but was reenergized during a postdoctoral experience at UCLA. Thirty-five years later, he’s a sure-footed scholar and this year’s recipient of the Lawrence G. Haggerty Faculty Award for Research Excellence for his scholarship on social problems, deviance, mental illness and family life. An internationally known sociologist, Holstein has served as editor of a leading journal in his field, Social Problems, and has published nearly 100 journal articles, 12 books and 28 edited volumes. Holstein describes his work plainly: “I’ve been interested in how people construct the meaningful contours of their everyday lives through their routine actions and interactions,” he says. “For me, sociology deals with how our social surroundings and interactions condition what we see, say, do, feel and who we are.” Holstein’s research has far-reaching implications for important societal and legal problems. Take mental illness, for example. His research

Photo by Dan Johnson

By Christopher Stolarski

into involuntary commitment hearings found that the process by which individuals are committed against their will is not uncaring or arbitrary. “It’s vastly complex because it often pits the rights of individuals and their personal wellbeing, however it might be defined, against the well-being of the community at large,” he says. “The legal system has struggled for decades to try to find a balance between individual liberty and community welfare.” The veteran researcher is now applying a similar analytic lens to a decidedly different

phenomenon: professional football. “I’ve always had a secret urge to work on something from my personal life that really grabs me,” Holstein says. “Since I was a kid, I’ve been a sports enthusiast, playing and following just about every sport imaginable.” Perhaps serendipitously, Holstein and fellow Marquette Professor of Social and Cultural Sciences Dr. Richard Jones were dissertation advisers for former Green Bay Packers linebacker Dr. George E. Koonce. The three have expanded on Koonce’s research into the aftermath of football careers, and a new book, Is There Life After Football? Surviving the NFL, will be published this fall by NYU Press. “Writing Is There Life After Football? has probably been the hardest writing project I’ve undertaken, but it’s also been the most fun,” Holstein says. “I’m pleased with the work we’ve done, but, to be honest, I’ve heard enough about profligate spending, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Richie Incognito to last a lifetime.” Marquette Matters is published every other month during the academic year for Marquette University’s faculty and staff. Submit information to: Marquette Matters – Zilber Hall, 235; Phone: 8-7448; Fax: 8-7197 Email: marquettematters@marquette.edu Editor: Lynn Sheka Graphic design: Nick Schroeder Copyright © 2014 Marquette University

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May 2014 Marquette Matters