Seven Northwestern State University faculty have been recognized with the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Here is a profile of one of this year’s honorees.
Name: Michael Yankowski
Academic college/department: Department of Fine + Graphic Arts in the School of Creative and Performing Arts
Number of years at Northwestern State: 35
Why is teaching important to you? I have a wealth of knowledge and experience which I enjoy sharing with people with similar interests. It is a joy to exchange ideas. Our youth need a point of reference from which to build their own life and attain their personal creative goals. I believe I can help.
Why do you believe you are an effective teacher? I have been doing this for a long time in various situations. I have had much positive feedback. It is my passion for my art, and to help our students, which drives me.
As a teacher, what brings you a feeling of accomplishment when working with students? There is an “Ahh haa” moment when they grasp the concept or discover a creative solution. Their hard effort is a reward for me because I watch their passion ignite.
Have the last 2-3 years made you a better teacher? The past few years have been a challenge because of reduced contact. Whether on-line or in person. The mask is a greater barrier than we might think. Not seeing a smile or a sneer of frustration inhibits a personal understanding of what the student is experiencing while listening, grasping an idea, or creating.
While learning can be accomplished thru personal research and experience, teaching in the arts, is a process of sharing and guiding, best accomplished by face-to-face interaction. This is greatly inhibited by a mask.
Not seeing a complete face can leave questions for the teacher. Are they confused by a lecture? Do they grasp what you are presenting? Did they get the joke?