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Waubonsee professor selected as NIU History Department’s alum of the year

August 8, 2014

Amy Powers-xAmy Powers, an assistant professor of history at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected by NIU’s Department of History as its alumnus of the year.

Powers, of DeKalb, obtained a Ph.D. in history from NIU in 2007 and has taught classes at Waubonsee since 2003. She will be formally presented with the award this fall.

Powers was recognized for numerous academic and scholarly achievements and her continuous commitment to teaching and students.

Stephen Foster, distinguished research professor emeritus at NIU, guided Powers through her doctoral dissertation on poverty relief efforts in New York City in the early 19th Century.

Foster noted that Powers, while working hard through the years to complete the doctoral dissertation, also worked diligently on “developing a very individual and successful teaching style” at NIU and Waubonsee, as evidenced by Powers’ recognition in 2013 as the Illinois Community College Faculty Association’s Instructor of the Year.

“She had a familiar, easygoing relationship with her students that must have been based as much on out-of-classroom activities – written comments, conferences and so on – as what happened in class on any given day,” Foster said.

Vera Lind, associate professor of history at NIU, said the selection committee was “also impressed by her engagement for issues of women and gender.”

Lind further noted Powers’ involvement with the American Historical Association’s Bridging Cultures Project. It seeks to boost historical scholarship among cultures across both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and bring that scholarship into classrooms. Waubonsee has participated in the project since 2012.

Lind said the project can “serve as a guide for other community colleges to incorporate more global aspects into teaching.”