Professor speaks to students about prestigious award

by James Tillison

Tuesday Nov. 13 Professor of German Patricia Calkins gave a lecture about her exemplary award and her life in the German studies. She has been studying German since 1976 and hasn’t regretted a minute of it.

Calkins is the first recipient of the Harold Watson Exemplary Teaching Award. The award is in honor of a Harold Watson, a former Simpson professor. It is given to a faculty member who has been recognized by the rest of the faculty for exemplary teaching.

Awarded during graduation 2012, Calkins wasn’t aware that she had won the award.

“When they started to say the award is being given to somebody who came to Simpson in 1997 and then they started saying this person studied at Indiana University,” Calkins said. “Then it started to dawn on me. That’s when this expletive, which I will not repeat, started to be said by me in the graduation context area.”

Calkins immediately thanked her colleagues at her Tuesday night lecture for all of their hard work and inspiration. During her lecture she made many jokes, which kept the audience laughing a majority of the time.

Calkins told of one experience that has stuck with her for years.

“I got a paper back from a assignment. The assignment was to write a paper about the It’s a Small World After All ride, and my professor had written ‘what has happened about your curiosity of other people?’ and that has stuck with me ever since.”

That is when she realized the most important things to America are similarities. She tries to combat seeing only similarities by finding cultural middle ground. Rather than smiling as a greeting, which is the typical thing to do here, whereas in Germany it is to shake hands, she wants her students to be able to learn to adapt.

She encourages students to join her classes and learn the about the rich culture of Germany and its language. This spring term, she will be taking a group of students on a trip to Germany for her seventh time. Looking back on her studies in German, she is very pleased with what she has done.

Calkins is very appreciative of the award and is overjoyed to have received it. This April it will be given again to another deserving professor.