Engaged Learning Exemplar: Kurt Thurmaier

Professor Kurt Thurmaier

Professor Kurt Thurmaier knows first-hand that engagement benefits not only students, but also the public sector. That’s why his colleagues from the Department of Public Administration nominated him to be recognized as an engaged learning exemplar for his outstanding commitment to engaged learning, teaching and scholarship.

Learning through engagement with the subject in an active way is superior to simply memorizing facts from a book, says Presidential Engagement Professor and Chair Kurt Thurmaier in the Department of Public Administration.

“Engaged learning connects with the emotional aspect of learning, and retention of that knowledge is long-lasting,” he says.

As a case in point, Thurmaier highlights his study-abroad course in Tanzania, which requires students to work directly with NGOs in the communities they explore. Students learn firsthand the challenges and joys of learning while doing public service in poor communities.

“NIU students have helped to build a dormitory for 160 girls, to build a library and computer resource center, and to create a business plan for a start-up women-owned social enterprise, among many contributions during their study abroad program,” he notes. “And their reflective essays show they have a new view of themselves as well as of the world in which they live.”

Join Thurmaier, along with other faculty, staff and students for the first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference. This new event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, and uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.

Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call 815-753-8154 or email rkersh@niu.edu.

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