University News

WIU Names Outstanding Teachers and Adviser for 2002

September 23, 2002

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Photo of Mark Callister.

Mark Callister.
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Photo of Barbara Ribbens.

Barbara Ribbens.
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Photo of Dennis Papini.

Dennis Papini.
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Photo of Cathy McMillan.

Cathy McMillan.
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Photo of Chris Ramsey.

Chris Ramsey.
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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University’s Faculty Development Office has announced the Outstanding Teachers and Adviser for 2002.

The award recipients receive a recognition plaque and a $250 award to be used for teaching/advising activities from Faculty Development and a $250 stipend from the WIU Alumni Association. They will be recognized Wednesday, Oct. 9 at an invitation-only reception at the University residence.

The Outstanding Teacher in the College of Fine Arts and Communication is Mark Callister, an associate professor in the department of communication, who has been at Western since 1995. He completed his master’s degree in business administration from Brigham Young University and his doctorate in communication from the University of Arizona. His research area of expertise is in visual communication and advertising.

“I believe that students, for the most part, want to play a larger, more active role in learning and that with some creativity and changes on my part, they can become more involved and motivated to learn and participate at a higher level. Motivated students energize a classroom and make a course come alive,” said Callister. “I don’t presume to know all the answers, nor even a few of them, but I have learned that students sense how a teacher perceives them and will often live up to or down to those expectations.”

The Outstanding Teacher in the College of Business and Technology is Barbara Ribbens, an assistant professor of management who has taught at Western since January 2000. She received her doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut.

“My teaching style has been shaped by my experiences as a student, the teaching related mentoring I received during my Ph.D. Program, and my involvement in professional organizations which focus on the development of quality teaching. I have developed three central tenets of my philosophy of teaching: I need to connect with the students as valuable human beings; Learning must be grounded in student experience as a means of mastering theory; and I empower students to be responsible for their learning,” said Ribbens of her teaching style.

The Outstanding Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences is Dennis Papini, a professor in the psychology department, who has been at Western since 1990. A Western Illinois bachelor of psychology alumnus, he holds master’s and doctorate degrees in life-span development psychology from West Virginia University.

“My approach to teaching is quite simple: Surround yourself with talented and dedicated teachers and assimilate those professional qualities and instructional strategies that contribute to their effectiveness in the classroom. The best way to optimize instructional effectiveness is to teach and learn in contexts in which good teaching is valued and modeled. Good instruction is quite dependent on students who understand that university academic life demands an active approach to learning,” said Papini. “My goal in the classroom is to get students to think critically -- to use information to facilitate problem-solving.”

The Outstanding Teacher in the College of Education and Human Services is Cathy McMillan, an assistant professor in the physical education department, who has taught at Western since 1985. She is a 1985 master’s degree alumna of Western Illinois and is currently a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University. Her professional interests include physical fitness trends and obesity in youth and adults.

“I try to provide the missing link between the theory of the classroom and the practical application of the theory. These learning experiences give the students a bank from which to draw. The learning process changes from a time perspective of learning for future application to learning for immediate application,” said McMillan. “I favor collaboration between the teacher and the student. One where student participation is on an equal basis -- where the teacher and the student together investigate the problems.”

The Outstanding Adviser is Chris Ramsey in the College of Business and Technology. She began her career at WIU in July 1990 as an accounting clerk in the Business Services Office and moved to the Billing and Receivables Office in 1991. While working fulltime she completed her Board of Governors (Trustees) bachelor’s degree in May 1997. Ramsey, appointed to her current position in December 1999, is pursuing a master’s degree in education and interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in multiculturalism.

“I am proud to be a representative of a group of exceptional academic professionals on staff at WIU. My philosophy of advising emerges from my philosophy of education, which is the continuous pursuit of learning,” said Ramsey. “I enjoy watching the developmental changes that occur as students come to a conclusion as to what area in business their interests lie. Knowing that I have assisted students and later witnessing the enthusiasm that follows when they participate in an internship or study abroad program, and ultimately graduate, gives me as much fulfillment as it does the student.”

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