The Lakeland Mirror

Rick Dodgson wins Underkofler Award

Skye Sieglaff, Copy Editor

The Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2012 was presented to Dr. Richard Dodgson on April 4. This award recognizes faculty who have given outstanding performances in undergraduate teaching, and is a student-nominated accolade. Dodgson joins the 20 other Lakeland professors who have received the award.

Dodgson lives in the Sheboygan area with his wife, Alexandra, and their two daughters: Lilee (15) and Willow (12). Originally from the Manchester area in North West England, Dodgson has lived in the United States since 1998.

“I came here to study for my Ph.D and haven’t been back home since,” he said, adding that he has been “very happy” with this decision.

Since joining the Lakeland community in 2007, Dodgson has taught four classes each semester in addition to teaching a May term class every year. Although for the past four years he has taught a “History of Rock and Roll” class during May term, this year Dodgson has decided to switch it around and instead teach “The History of Television.” The course will trace the history of television and the impact it has had on society. Dodgson loves all forms of history, but said that his favorite classes to teach are those dealing with recent (post-WWII) American History.

Junior History major Matthew Bauknecht filled out the initial nomination form for Dodgson, and, in a recent interview with the Sheboygan Press, said “Sitting in his [Dodgson’s] classes is providing me an amazing opportunity to be mentored and absorb a teaching style I hope to one day emulate in my own classroom.”

The Underkofler Award is given out every year, and the process is simple. A student, or students, nominate a professor and write a letter stating why they think the award should be given to this individual. Professors can also write letters nominating a specific candidate. The Underkofler Selection Committee (which is comprised of staff members and previous Underkofler award winners) then chooses one of the nominees as the winner, and writes to the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) informing them of their choice.

Dr. Alan K. Mock, professor of sociology, in a letter to the Underkofler Selection Committee, said “He [Dodgson] has that scintillating combination of a deep knowledge of his discipline coupled with a contagious enthusiasm for the subject.”

Assistant Professor of Writing Nathan Lowe also wrote a letter to the committee, stating “The art in Rick’s teaching comes from his instincts, the way he quickly innovates as a class discussion unfolds or surprises students with quirky scenarios or unique challenges, challenges that inherently require them to justify or rethink beliefs and assumptions.”

As for the man himself, Dodgson said, “I am thrilled to receive this award, and very proud that it comes from students – that makes it mean a little bit more.”

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