Oswego honors adjunct professor for teaching excellence

Katie RiegelKatie Riegel, an adjunct professor of English and creative writing, is the first recipient of the college’s Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Part-time Faculty.

Riegel teaches poetry writing, among other English and writing courses, and co-coordinates the summer Writing Institute. “I believe that a good part of her excellence as a teacher has to do with her excellence as a poet,” said Leigh Allison Wilson, associate professor of English and creative writing, who nominated Riegel for the award.

Wilson and Riegel’s students praised the inviting environment she creates in her classroom that allows students to freely share their thoughts. “Katie makes students feel very comfortable and open in her classes,” wrote student Bailey Garfinkel. “Katie is able to make people think for themselves and participate, with any topic.”

Another student, Derek Holst, was one of several students to single out Riegel as the best teacher they ever had. “No other teacher, on this campus, or in any other school, has had such a positive influence on my writing and my life,” he wrote.

In articulating her teaching philosophy, a requirement of the award, Riegel wrote, “I believe the best way for students to learn is for them to take responsibility for their own learning. . . . Learning is a door, or a series of doors, that students must walk through under their own will. I just try to be there to open them.”

In addition to classes, Riegel participates in informal writing workshops weekly in her home with students, faculty, alumni and local residents. “These informal group meetings have made Katie’s household a kind of ‘hub’ for creative writing in the area,” Wilson wrote.

Before coming to Oswego in 2002, Riegel taught full time at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and at Illinois Valley Community College. She received her master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.

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(Posted: Jun 13, 2006)