Zurek declared best in state

By Jillian Milam
December 8, 2005

Amy Gardner

From kindergarten to college years, students have had their fair share of teachers. There were the mean ones, the nice ones, the funny ones and the “I-just-can’t-remember-your-name” ones. But what about the professors and teachers who leave lasting impressions on the hearts and minds of many? Out of all the teachers students have had throughout the years, there’s always that one teacher who students can lean-on for academic assistance, life-long advice and a quality education.

For many students at Cabrini College, that special teacher is Dr. Jerome Zurek, English and communications chair and professor. His achievements and mentoring caliber go without being neglected, as he was named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The Professors of the Year Award Program chose exceptional educators in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. Each university in the nation can nominate one person, and then one professor is selected from each state. Three hundred nominations were made this year. Zurek received the award for Pennsylvania. All honorees were announced on Nov. 17 at a Congressional Reception at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Since joining Cabrini College in 1971, Zurek has revamped the English and communication department, pioneered a social justice curriculum and created a four-year long career development program for all majors. In addition, he supervises the student-run weekly newspaper. By teaching courses such as Journalism, Mass Communications, Shakespeare and Social Justice education, he plays a large role in edifying students about significant matters. He serves as the advisor for many students, aiding them with the directions they take and what future paths they choose.

The Cabrini community, including students, professors and associates, all appreciate Zurek’s work not only in the English and communication department, but all of his genuine actions for the well-being of others.

“In the three years I have worked with Jerry as a colleague, I can tell you that he continues to teach me how to live to my fullest potential. He serves as a mentor in helping me achieve scholarly excellence,” Dawn Francis, assistant English and communication professor and Cabrini graduate, wrote in a supportive letter regarding Zurek’s nomination. “Long ago, Jerry made me a better student. Today, he shows me how to be a better teacher to my students.” Like many others, Francis recognizes Zurek’s role in life-altering decisions. “I firmly believe that without Jerry’s guidance, I would not have identified my niche. He opened a door to a future I did not know existed, and he did so based upon a dedication to the success of his students.”

Nina Scimenes, a senior English and communication major and graphic design minor, said, “He’s definitely one of the reasons why I came to Cabrini. I knew I wanted to do communications and when I met him on my tour while I visited the campus, I knew I wanted to come here.”

Scimenes speaks for many students at Cabrini when she says, “He really cares.even after students graduate. He’s one of the most organized teachers I’ve ever had! He takes advantage of technology.I think the best work I’ve ever done was for him.because of the way he teaches.”

According to www.carnegiefoundation.org, Professor of the Year state winners are chosen on the basis of their extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching, determined by excellence in the following four areas: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community, and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate students.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@yahoogroups.com.

Posted to the web by Matt Schill

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Jillian Milam

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