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Leonard L. Gambrell
Professor Emeritus Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
2002 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Recipient
and Experience (Selected)
years as a teacher, scholar, and university citizen on the UW-Eau
- Ph.D. from
the University of Virginia; B.A. and M.A. from Oklahoma State
- Chair of
Political Science from 1992-2002, a position in which he demonstrated
exemplary leadership in the recruiting, hiring and retention of
new faculty focused on teaching excellence.
courses on International Relations Theory, National Security Policy,
U.S. Defense Policy, Global Politics and Business, International
Political Issues, Dilemmas of War and Peace, and The Vietnam War.
- Led several
for-credit trips to Vietnam for students and community members
as part of his course on Vietnam (considered a "signature
class at UW-Eau Claire").
on and developed a variety of interdisciplinary courses with colleagues
in the School of Nursing (World Health and Politics), and Management
and Marketing (Policy for an Entire Society), among others.
an extremely successful, credit-based mentoring program that uses
top upper-division students to mentor other students in introductory
classes, a formative experience for the student mentors and an
inspirational model for the introductory students.
- Taught University
Outreach Courses, some of them broadcast over Wisconsin Public
Radio's University of the Air on topics like The Vietnam War,
and Issues in War & Peace.
of "Dilemmas of War & Peace, Annenberg/Corporation for
Public Broadcasting Audio-Print course package, 1993.
by the Chancellor to serve as UW-Eau Claire's representative to
the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (1986-1991).
Chairperson, Consortium on Peace, Research, Education and Development
(COPRED) from 1979-1981, with responsibilities for program planning
and grant writing.
Gambrell's own words:
- "Successful teaching is not at all
about 'covering' a certain amount of material. . . . It is far better
to teach a few ideas or principles well than to leave the student with
a pile of notes but little understanding.
If I have done my job right, students can continue to learn, on their
own, about my particular subject matter for the rest of their lives.
Experience has taught me that developing the capacity to think is at
least as important as the specific content of a course. My success is
directly related to the extent that I am able to help
students develop the capacity to engage regularly in critical thinking,
analysis and synthesis. These are life-long learning skills valuable
in all walks of life."
my methods must include ways to engage the class
on a regular basis. Seldom can there be much success if the instructor
is not listening carefully to the students. This means paying
careful attention to the silences as well as the puzzled looks."
In the words
of his students:
- "Dr. Gambrell takes a marked interest in his students, pushing
them to excel beyond their perceived abilities. His enthusiasm for the
subject inspires students to pursue political science as a major and
as a career beyond the University."
- Erin Brandt, 2002 UW-Eau Claire Political Science Graduate
- "[Professor Gambrell] rewarded me for all of my hard work with
what I consider one of the greatest experiences as an undergraduate.
The summer before my junior year, I received a letter from him. He asked
me to serve as one of his mentors in his "Dilemmas of War and Peace"
class. In his letter he told me that he thought I would make an excellent
student teacher and that this would be a great way for me to learn to
express the information I had trapped in my head. He was right. Acting
as his student mentor gave me the confidence to express my opinions
in front of a large group of students."
- Ally Clark, Political Science Major, UW-Eau Claire
- "In essence, [Professor Gambrell] taught me how to think about
issues versus teaching me what to think about issues, and that valuable
asset has carried me through a number of challenging situations both
in and out of the classroom."
- James Hanke, UW-Eau Claire Political science Graduate, Assistant
City Planner, City of Chippewa Falls, WI
In the words
of his colleagues:
- "As Department Chair, he has particularly emphasized improvement
of our Department's teaching by his tireless work in recruitment, his
encouragement to us all in the development of a wide range of teaching
methods, and participation in the teaching community. As the Chair of
our Department Personnel Committee, I can see his hard work paying off
as we have achieved steadily improved teaching evaluations that began
well above average and now are almost universally outstanding. In short,
he has shown that excellence in teaching is more than just what he does
with his students; it also reflects what he does as a leader in the
Department and at UW-Eau Claire. . . . [As a teacher and colleague,
Leonard Gambrell] made me think about issues in ways that made me a
better teacher and in ways that have undoubtedly affected my students.
Len is one of those colleagues that can find time to have that hour-long
discussion that keeps us alive as thinkers and fights the cynicism that
can too easily develop after decades of piles of papers to grade."
- Michael Fine, Chair, Department of Political Science, UW-Eau Claire
- "'Learner-centered education' is at risk of becoming another
cliché. But if you have the opportunity to watch Len Gambrell
in action, you begin to understand and to appreciate what it means to
put students first. While other department chairs' first concern might
be their faculty, Leonard's first question is invariably, 'How will
this make things better for our students?'"
- Ted A. Wendt, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UW-Eau Claire
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