University News

Western Illinois Names Outstanding Teachers, Adviser

October 2, 2003

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois UniversityÂ’s Faculty Development Office has announced the Outstanding Teachers and Adviser for 2003.

Outstanding teachers are Tama Baldwin, English professor, College of Arts and Sciences; Mandeep Singh, associate professor of marketing, College of Business and Technology; Dennis Sigwart, health professor, College of Education and Human Services; and Peter Jorgensen, associate professor of communication, College of Fine Arts and Communication. The outstanding academic adviser is Gloria Barr, assistant director, adviser and program coordinator of Travel and Study Abroad Programs, School of Extended and Continuing Education.

The 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 Tuesday, Oct. 21 at an invitation-only reception at the University residence.

Baldwin, who teaches creative writing and literature classes, "not only wins excellent evaluations from her students but also makes them winners in the highly competitive market they enter after undergraduate school," wrote Syndy Conger, former English chairperson, in a support letter.

"Undergraduate creative writing minor students under her tutelage are regularly admitted to leading MFA writing programsÂ…," Conger added. "Students under her direction also publish with impressive frequency."

Baldwin, who has taught at Western since 1989, has received many honors including being named the College of Arts and Sciences 2002-03 Outstanding Teacher. She earned her doctorate (1986) in 20th century literature and creative writing from Ohio University; master's degrees from The John Hopkins University (1983) and the State University of New York (1982) and a bachelor's degree (1980) from Salisbury State University.

Singh, a bachelor's (1986) and MBA (1987) graduate of Western Illinois, joined the marketing and finance faculty in 1995. Last year (2002) he received a top national honor when he was named the Distinguished Teacher by the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA). His application to the national competition highlighted his teaching philosophies and methods, which include providing students with real-world applications.

"For me good instruction is a journey of continuous learning and improvement," Singh said. "I am privileged to be in an environment where there is an abundance of exceptional teachers."

Singh earned his bachelor's degree (1983) in commerce from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, and his doctorate in business administration (1994) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He was co-winner of the American Academy of Advertising's doctoral dissertation competition for 1993.

Sigwart, who has been a member of Western's health education faculty since 1973, has obtained more than $175,000 in federal grants and served as a post-doctorate fellow at Tulane University School of Medicine. He was named the College of Education and Human Services 2003 Teacher of the Year, and he received the Teacher of the Year award from his departmentÂ’s students in 2002.

Prior to joining WesternÂ’s faculty, Sigwart was an environmental sanitarian in West Virginia and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam.

“The teacher of the year is not necessarily the best teacher in the college, but rather a person who reflects the ideals, philosophy and mission of the college," Sigwart said. "That said, there are no perfect classes or periods of instruction. Something usually goes wrong, or is not exactly what the instructor wants but good preparation and practice/rehearsals can overcome these hurtles and keep them to a minimum.”

Sigwart earned his bachelor's (1966) and master's (1972) degrees from West Virginia University and his doctorate (1981) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Education Resource Division of the National Safety Council.

Jorgensen, who joined Western's communication faculty in 1994, teaches primarily organizational communication. As the department's 2001-2002 Wayne N. Thompson Professor, Jorgensen researched organizational politics and presented the Thompson Professor Lecture.

He was nominated for the current honor by Western's Communication Student Society. The nomination letter stated: "He teaches us as adults. ... He challenges us, but helps us to succeed. Â… His teaching style is very objective. He educates us on theory and practice, but allows us to critically think for ourselves."

Jorgensen, who often serves as a consultant to national and area organizations and companies, earned his bachelor's degree in speech from San Francisco State University, his master's in professional communication from San Diego State University and his doctorate in communication from the University of Arizona.

Barr, who began working at Western in 1973, is a product of the School of Extended and Continuing Education, having earned a Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts (BOT/BA) degree in 1995. Following a 20-year career in the registrarÂ’s office, Barr served as a College of Business and Technology academic adviser for six years before being appointed in 1999 as the academic adviser and program coordinator of WesternÂ’s Study Abroad program.

Barr also serves on the University's Council on International Programs and the Risk Management Task Force. She is a former member of WomenÂ’s Center Advisory Board. She has worked as a victim services volunteer for the Western Illinois Regional CouncilÂ’s Sexual Assault Program and helped coordinate WesternÂ’s first WomenÂ’s Leadership Conference in 1987. Barr also was instrumental in coordinating the first area school visits during Western's 2000 international education week; and at last year's event, Western shared the cultures of 11 countries with more than 400 area school children.

"Not only does Gloria work with her students and co-workers in a fair and caring manner, but she also does it with dignity, honesty and respect for those around her," read one of the nomination letters.

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