About this time every year, the UA community, along with others across the nation, celebrate the contributions of teachers, professors and other educators.
Among the UA faculty are those who have helped us to find our life's path, who encouraged us to think bigger and better, who have supported and encouraged us through challenges and crises and who helped to remind us of our humanity. When was the last time you gave thanks to your UA faculty member, or any educator? Take the time now. (Photo credit: FJ Gaylor)
In advance of the third annual Teacher Day at UA on April 27 and National Teacher Day on May 7, we asked members of the UA community to share stories of some of their favorite faculty members at the UA. Some of the responses are below:
"My favorite professor was JoAnne Behling (English) because she is about fostering a students passion for writing. Her sternness and compassion with her students helps them to succeed and grow. She helped to rejuvenate my love of writing. Her work with the southern Arizona writing project has also inspired me to give back to communities who need it. In large part due to her influence, I will be working as a Teach for America corps member. Thank you for helping me find my way." -Paige K. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Dr. Kathy G. Short (right, teaching, learning and sociocultural studies) because she has challenged me to think critically about children's literature and teaching practice as a teacher educator. Also, she has stood by me as a lifelong mentor." -Jeanne F. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Dr. Bruce Bayly
(mathematics) is surely a professor who has had a very positive impact on me, younger generations – middle school and high school students – and organizations. He is currently my differential equations professor and teaches with such passion and dedication to each student. Aside from teaching Dr. Bayly focuses in many outreach events for middle school and high school students as well as college students from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He is a role model to me and many others!" -Erick Leon Gastelum, a UA junior studying systems engineering and executive vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
"Don McCarthy (astronomy) because he is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He widened my perspective of the universe. Every time I look up into the night sky, I think of all the things I learned in his class. Best. Professor. Ever." -David H. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Suzanne Eanes (left) from the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies! She's extremely passionate about her field and was a big part of the reason I switched my major to Russian Studies." -Joseph S. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Favorite professor by far is Prof. Gerald J. Swanson!! His 8am Econ 101 class was the reason i majored in it! even at that ungodly hour he was amazing, funny, intriguing, motivating and incredible. thank you SWANSON!!!" -Hilary K. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Susan Quinn Williams (dance), she inspired me to be better than I thought I could be. She was a mentor and inspiration and instilled a passion and confidence in me about dancing and just who I am that I had never experienced before. She changed my life." -Kristin P. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Cody Patterson (mathematics) because he challenged us to think critically. We really learned the material instead of memorizing it. I can apply what we learned to my other classes easily. He made vector calculus my favorite class, if you can believe that. Thank you, Dr. P." -Becca Levy, a UA student studying astronomy and physics
"Thank you Dr. Kathleen Wells (UA South, family studies and human development)... by graduation I was fully prepared to take on the dynamic role of high needs case manager for kids and families with intense needs." -Markie C. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Cindi Gilliland (right, management), because she actively participated in the refugee community in Tucson, and inspired her students to do likewise. She was truly an inspirational teacher." -Jayne T. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Professor Steven Reff doesn't just teach economics at the UA. In his class, you basically become enrolled in Reff University: he always has life lessons and open ears available for everyone. I know I'm not the only whose college experience has been greatly improved having had Steven Reff as a professor." -Kelley Carson, a political science sophomore with a concentration in international relations
"@UofA definitely Dr. David Gibbs (left) in the history department. Only class I ever wanted to write down every single word the prof said." -Nick B. via the UA's official Twitter page
"I hate science, but the great Prof. Steven Leavitt (Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research) has made his class so fun and interesting that I'm always excited to go to his lectures. Mr. Leavitt is by far one of the best science professors I have had at the U of A; he is smart, considerate, and super fun. He is the reason why I love that global change class so much." -Graciela Morales, a UA sophomore majoring in elementary education.
"Paul Ivey in Art History! So passionate and engaging and knowledgeable. I took all of his classes every semester. He made some of the deepest concepts totally accessible." -Suzanne S. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Dr. Steve Wright (right, physiology) has been an outstanding teacher to me in the classroom and as my research mentor. I have been an undergraduate research assistant in his lab for two years and I am so grateful that he entrusted me with my own research project and helped me analyze and articulate my results, which we published and presented at multiple big conferences. His faith in undergraduates to step up and be scientists themselves has been foundational in my growth as a professional throughout college. Dr. Wright has taught me more about physiology and the scientific process than I ever could have imagined and I am grateful he is here at the UA teaching our future doctors and researchers. I am graduating in May and going on to medical school, and I know my research experience with Dr. Wright was a huge part of getting me there." -Jaclyn Harper, a UA Honors College senior majoring in physiology and political science
"Professor Deborah Hughes-Hallett (left, mathematics) because she not only taught the class but stayed late in her office to help her students succeed." -Janelle C. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Patti Harada (right, psychology). She was an amazing teacher. She taught so many life skills that were so valuable. She always had a waiting list to get into her class and after having her I knew why. She completely changed my view of death and how to deal with it. (Psychology of death and loss)." -Melissa H. via the UA's official Facebook page
"I LOVED Professor John W. Olsen (anthropology)!!! He always held true to his office hours and was willing to accommodate students if their schedules did not match up with his available times. I met him a few times for a critique of my papers for the class and his feedback was genuine, analytical and always provided useful and meaningful suggestions. His passion for Anthropology helped me to determine that Anthropology would be minor and I have loved it!!" -Katy B. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Henry Perkins from the AME department and Miklos Szilagyi from the ECE dept. They would make class both attainable and enjoyable. In addition, they would spend some time talking about issues/topics not related to class which would be a nice break from the lecture and also add personality and liveliness." -Michael D. via the UA's official Facebook page
The UA is hosting, along with Tucson Values Teachers, its third annual Teacher Day at UA on April 27 to coincide with National Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations. The luncheon is full, but other events are open to all educators at no cost and will include networking opportunities, professional development opportunities centered on the Common Core State Standards and an expo offering information on UA programs and resources. The day of events begins at 8:30 a.m. at the UA College of Education and the Flandrau Science Center.