Excellence in Teaching Award: Michael Yankowski

· · Excellence in Teaching Award: Michael Yankowski

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?






About the Author:

Director of Communications at Northwestern State University. I have worked in the University's News Bureau since 1991.