Professors Making News

Swedlow selected to receive NIU's 2011 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

Professor Brendon Swedlow has been selected to receive NIU's 2011 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. This is one of NIU's most prestigious awards and stands as the institution's oldest faculty honor. Brendon is one of only three faculty members across the university community to receive this award this year; and he is only the sixth political scientist at NIU to win this award. Past POLS recipients include Little (1966), Dionisopoulous (1971), Glenn (1995), Hilton (1996), and Jones (2002).

The award, which was established in 1966, honors excellent undergraduate teaching in the university, encourages the improvement of instruction, and seeks to promote discussion among members of the university community on the subject of teaching. Recipients should be among the most outstanding teachers on campus. This fact is attested to by those with direct knowledge of effective teaching and instruction on the part of the nominee, such as students and alumni who have been taught by the nominee and/or faculty who have observed the nominee’s teaching.  As part of the nomination process, evidence is provided by students, faculty (including those in departments other than the nominee’s), administrators and others who know of the nominee’s reputation. The selection committee especially seeks the following qualities in a nominee:

  • One who instills and develops in students an intensity of interest in, and an appreciation for the value of, his or her subject while applying rigorous standards to student performance and stimulating student growth. 
  • One who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to students and their welfare, who is not only knowledgeable and prepared for class but also available to them outside of class. 
  • One who works actively with students, faculty, and administrators to improve under­graduate education at NIU, through extra-classroom programming, curricu­lum improvement, and other activities directed toward the improvement of instruc­tion. 
  • One who has previously been recognized for outstanding teaching and service to students and/or who has published or given lectures, presentations or public speeches related to instructional improvement or teaching excellence. 
  • One who has demonstrated continuous teaching excellence over the period of time employed at Northern Illinois University.

This is Brendon's second campus-wide award. He received NIU's Outstanding Advisor Award in 2007 for his work in establishing our department's Pre-Law Society. While Brendon possesses a number of positive qualities as an undergraduate teacher, it should be noted here that his special dedication to helping students outside the classroom through the Pre-Law Society, pre-law advising, and extra-classroom program is especially well-recognized by the POLS student body and across the university community.  "I want to express the department's gratitude to Brendon for his efforts in this area and thank him for his many contributions in support of Political Science's undergraduate teaching mission," says Political Science Department Chair Chris Jones. More>>