Alumna Jodie Liedke boomerangs back as professor


Callah Kraus

Jodie Liedke graduated from Lakeland in 2006 and has now returned to teach the next generation of Muskies.

Leah Ulatowski , Copy Editor

Assistant Professor of General Studies Jodie Liedke sports a pair of green earrings and chic thick-rimmed glasses while sitting in her new office—at first glance, one can tell that Lakeland College’s newest addition is certainly a breath of fresh air.

“A couple of years ago, I pictured myself [working at] a small private school, and Lakeland was in the back of my mind,” said Liedke. “Even my family said they always knew I would come back.”

Liedke graduated from Lakeland College in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in writing. She went on to earn a master of fine arts degree from Wichita State University, where she also began her career by serving as a graduate teaching assistant.

Prior to returning to Lakeland, she was a general education coordinator and a writing and humanities instructor at Globe University.

Liedke says it is important for professors to remain enthusiastic in the classroom, and students respond well to her praise and encouragement. She also enjoys coming up with unique educational activities to keep her pupils engaged.

“We do musical peer editing,” said Liedke. “Each student is assigned a grammar rule they must focus on, and then we start the music. They get to pick the station—I tried classical once, but it didn’t work. Every time I cut off the song, the students exchange the paper they are editing with the next person. It’s something different, and we have fun with it.”

While Liedke loves to brainstorm new teaching methods, she also utilizes a lot of the material she learned during her undergraduate days at Lakeland.

“All of my professors offered something. Meg [Albrinck, Lakeland College dean and professor of literature and writing,] taught me about structure and how to write a thesis statement,” said Liedke. “She taught the acronym MEAL for body paragraphs, which stands for main point, evidence, analysis and linking back. I’ve taught MEAL ever since leaving Lakeland.”

Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and Poet in Residence Karl Elder was also one of Liedke’s professors during her undergraduate days. Elder personally invited Liedke back to Lakeland College in 2012 for the annual Great Lakes Writers Festival. She was a featured reader at the event and helped orchestrate workshops for aspiring writers.

Elder is pleased that his former student has now returned as a colleague.

“The bolt of energy that would arrive in my office with the Angelina Jolie smile that was the undergraduate Liedke has boomeranged back as a dynamo,” said Elder. “Watch her work if you ever want a model of the epitome of interpersonal intelligence.”

“I’m preparing students for the Elder experience,” said Liedke in regard to her colleague’s tough teaching style. “They need to know the three big no-no’s: the run on sentences, the comma splices and fragments. I always tell my students that they will thank me later!”

All joking aside, Liedke says that she enjoyed having close relationships with her Lakeland professors and hopes to have the same positive influence on her own pupils. She encourages students to drop by her office and friend her on Facebook at “Jodie Liedke Lakeland.”

“One reason why I came back to Lakeland is the family environment that has always been here,” said Liedke. “When I was a student, professors supported their students, and not just academically. They went to students’ sporting and writing events on campus; I always appreciated that. It was about more than academics—it was about guiding an 18-year-old in growing up.”