Skoblow officially joins the “SIUE Great Teacher” legacy

Professor Jeffrey Skoblow reads poetry on the campus quad Photo courtesy of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Marketing and Communications department

At first, English professor Jeffrey Skoblow was not convinced by his instructor in college who suggested he become a teacher. Years later, however, he is doing the exact same thing-instructing students and encouraging some to teach.

“I thought he was crazy,” Skoblow said. “But he arranged for me to do some tutoring, and I immediately found the work powerfully compelling and rewarding, and there was no looking back at that point.”

Skoblow is the 2013 SIUE Great Teacher award recipient, selected through a nomination process among faculty, staff, students and alumni.

According to the SIUE website, “The Great Teacher Award is given to professors who have gone above and beyond the typical classroom lectures. Each recipient has had a tremendous impact on students’ lives through creative teaching and mentoring.”

Skoblow said earning the Great Teacher award has been affirming.

“It was very nice to win. It means people who have been in my classes still remember the experience years later and appreciate the experience,” Skoblow said. “That means a lot to me as a teacher.”

Lynn Casmier-Paz, an SIUE alumna, said Skoblow believed in her even though at first she did not believe in herself—“and it made a difference.”

“I am a literature professor primarily because Professor Skoblow inspired me with his example and convinced me that such achievement was possible,” Casmier-Paz said. “I left SIUE with a master’s degree and the belief that I shouldn’t stop there. I believed because Jeff said I could do it…”

Casmier-Paz said she became the first member of her family to achieve a doctoral degree at the age of 38. She is now an English professor at the University of Central Florida.

“Skoblow was the intellectual wind beneath my wings,” Casmier-Paz said.

Mark Mossman said when he studied under Skoblow, his professor was willing to give him and every other student in the class “an extraordinary amount of effort and time.”

“As I look back on it now, I think the most amazing thing about Professor Skoblow is the amount of work he puts into each course,” Mossman, who is an English professor at Western Illinois University, said. “In addition to the intense, heavy reading, we wrote constantly.”

Mossman said he realizes now that this meant that Skoblow was writing constantly too, engaging in their work and responding to their work each week.

“We did not get grades on this work, these essays, which would have been the easy way to do the class,” Mossman said. “Instead, Professor Skoblow would essentially write an essay back to each student in response their work, and then request that you write back to him.”

According to Mossman, it was “by far the best writing experience [he] ever had in a course.”

“In that class, which was the first one I had with Professor Skoblow, I started to do the kind of intense writing that would eventually lead to a book publication for me on Irish literature in 2009.  It began in that class,” Mossman said.

According to Skoblow, he enjoys the fresh challenges his career presents continually.

“I love the freedom my work affords me to shape my days, my classes, my semesters, in meaningful ways and to make adjustments continuously as I go along,” Skoblow said.  “I love working with students, and helping them discover the contours and limits and powers of their minds.”

Casmier-Paz said Skoblow teaches his courses with compassion, humor, and academic knowledge from every angle.

“The scholarly material that helps a student interpret the text, the artistic angle that shows its beauty, and the political angle that shows the students the context and impact of the text–for a college professor, it just doesn’t get any better,” Casmier-Paz said.



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