Tim Pierce spent a lot of time working as a child at his parents’ building supply company in Oswego. He could have run the family business one day, but it wasn’t his dream. Pierce wanted to be a teacher.
He began his college career at the University of Illinois, majoring in computer science education. He began taking math classes per the recommendation of a counselor “just in case this computer thing doesn’t take off.”
Bored with math, Pierce took a couple years off school to refocus before returning to the U of I as a speech major. Later, it was his speech methods teacher who would suggest he transfer to NIU to better accommodate his student-teaching opportunities in the suburbs.
Pierce would graduate from NIU with a bachelor’s degree in communication education in 1990, and a master’s degree in communication studies in 1992.
He spent a few years teaching at DePaul University and Waubonsee Community College before returning to his alma mater in 1996. Now, Pierce shares an office space with one of his former NIU instructors, David Simon.
“I have known Tim since he was an undergraduate in my group discussion class,” Simon said. “I have seen him grow and develop, and there’s nobody who is more committed to student success than he is.”
Pierce credits Simon and the Department of Communication’s Matt Swan with helping mentor him over the years.
“What I’ve learned from the people that I really admire is that you have to spend time with your students,” Pierce said. “Students sometimes just need someone to talk to, someone to give them reassurance. It’s that kind of one-on-one interaction that resonates with students.1”
Pierce currently teaches Fundamentals of Oral Communication and Business and Professional Communication. Students who have had the opportunity to experience Pierce as an instructor value not only his approach to teaching, but also his guidance.
“Tim’s consistent encouragement, feedback, reassurance, faith and support helped me achieve my potential,” former student Ashley Catizone said.
Past student Colin Phelan also praised Pierce’s mentorship for playing a role in his current success as a student.
“He is truly a remarkable professor who has left a lasting impression on me,” Phelan said.
When Pierce learned that he received the award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction, he was floored by the positive responses he received from former students.
“I was shocked and speechless,” Pierce said. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact I really had. It’s certainly not about the money; it’s that I love my job.”
Pierce currently resides in Oswego with his husband, Louis, a high school Spanish teacher.