Lakeland names 2008 Underkofler Teaching Award winner
Academics - posted on 4/18/2008
Peter Sattler, an associate professor of American literature and a Lakeland faculty member for a decade, is the 2008 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
A champion of Lakeland's interdisciplinary core curriculum and a teacher that's driven to help students mature intellectually, Sattler is Lakeland's 17th winner of the Underkofler, an award that recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching. The Underkofler Award was presented at Lakeland's Honors Convocation Banquet in April, which honors academic accomplishments of students and faculty.
"Peter is recognized by students, faculty and other professionals as a true Renaissance figure," said Meg Albrinck, chair of Lakeland's Humanities division and Lakeland's 2003 Underkofler winner. "He is deeply committed to our interdisciplinary core curriculum, and has demonstrated passion and excellence in fields as diverse as science, gender studies and the visual arts. He has helped students strategize the road to a bachelor's degree, centrally positioning the key skills of reading, writing and oral communication in every single class."
Sattler, who came to Lakeland in the fall of 1998 after teaching at the University of Chicago, has taught in Lakeland's honors program, the English program, the writing program and the interdisciplinary core. He is currently one of the authors of Lakeland's self-study which is being prepared for the college's re-accreditation visit from the North Central Association.
Albrinck said Sattler's students leave his classes talking about how their minds have been opened and they are thinking more deeply and clearly than they ever imagined, and colleagues are impressed with the way he uses whatever medium necessary - computer software, group readings or discussions, dramatic presentations - to bring students along for the journey.
"Peter has been able to ask students to step off of the road to intellectual maturity and question their assumptions about it," Albrinck said. "He has asked students and colleagues to view the road from above, from below, from beside. He asks students to figure out where the road has come from, why it has the importance it has, where it's heading, and who's paving it. He has asked students to question the composition of the road itself, to ask about the value of the materials they are to collect along the way, to ask whether the road itself is even there, to ask themselves why they're on the road.
"Peter doesn't just teach students what to learn, how to communicate, and how to believe in themselves - he teaches them how to think."
This past year, Lakeland's student newspaper asked its readers to identify one professor who they thought every student should take at some point in their time at Lakeland, and Sattler's name topped the list.
"He works harder than almost anyone I know to make his classrooms humorous and inspiring, rigorous and accessible," Albrinck said.
Sattler's American literature courses have informed and inspired his wider professional academic life. He has presented papers at numerous national academic conferences, addressing topics that have ranged from Puritan literature to 20th-Century realism, Ralph Waldo Emerson to American cinema.
Sattler is also an expert on the art of comics and graphic novels, and he created Lakeland's first course dedicated to the study of comic art. He has presented within this field at national and international conferences, most recently last fall in the Modernist Studies Association Conference in Los Angeles and the Modern Language Association convention in Chicago. In 2006, he taught sessions on the art and history of comics at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
He has a bachelor's degree in English from Lawrence University, and both a master's and doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Chicago. He also serves Lakeland as writing center director of the college's Academic Resource Center. During his years at Lakeland, Sattler has served as chair of both the On-Campus Curriculum and the Fine Arts and Convocation Committees, as faculty representative to the college's Enrollment Management Team, as a member of the First-Year Experience task force, and as co-coordinator of the 2000 and 2003 faculty workshops.
Sattler has contributed to Lakeland's curriculum, both inside and outside the English program. In addition to "Word and Pictures: The Art of Comics," Sattler also helped to create and pilot interdisciplinary courses for the General Studies Core ("Science, Anti-Science, and Pseudoscience"; "Ideas of Human Nature") and the college's newly revamped Honors Program ("Revolutions in Thought").
The Underkofler Award is presented through the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc. The Underkofler Endowment Fund was created in honor of past Wisconsin Power & Light president and chairman James R. Underkofler to recognize his 48 years of service to the utility industry.
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