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Four UW-RF Faculty Named Outstanding Teachers

October 23, 1998

Four faculty members have been named Outstanding Teachers in the College of Arts & Sciences at UW-River Falls.

Selection of the faculty was based on polling of recent graduates.

Recognized by division were:

•Science and Mathematics: physics Professors Neal Prochnow and Earl Blodgett.

•Social Sciences: psychology associate Professor Barbara Rebuhn.

•Humanities: English and journalism associate Professor Richard McNamara.

A member of the physics department faculty, Prochnow presently serves as interim director of the School of Business & Economics, a position that he assumed after retiring last spring as the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. He joined the University in 1964 and holds a doctorate in nuclear physics from Duke University.

Prochnow, from Gilman, Wis., was a previous recipient of the award in 1986.

Alumni supporting Prochnow's nomination wrote: "Awesome project learning-type teacher. Good role model and great person who actually is involved in the community and outside the classroom." Another contributed, "He is an excellent role model and teacher. He has high expectations and is willing to help students meet those expectations. He answers questions and welcomes students in his office. And his eyes light up when he is teaching because he likes the subject and is enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge."

Blodgett joined the faculty of the physics department in 1986 and holds a doctorate in experimental physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches general through advanced physics courses including general physics, quantum mechanics, advanced mechanics, and advanced electricity and magnetism.

He has coordinated summer elementary science workshops for teachers and National Science Foundation Young Scholars Programs, and he represents the University to Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network, an association dedicated to increasing the number of women who enter engineering.

Those who nominated Blodgett noted, "Dr. Blodgett served as my adviser over several long and difficult years in my undergraduate career, and was extremely supportive of my non-traditional student status. As an instructor, he excelled in explaining the unexplainable, and simply made learning a fun experience."

Another added, "He communicates well with students and makes physics fun! He really makes students try hard."

Blodget is a graduate of Boyceville, Wis., high school.

Rebhuhn has been a member of the psychology department since 1991 after serving five years as director of special education in the River Falls School District. She previously worked as a teacher of learning disabled or educable mentally retarded students in the St. Croix and Ellsworth school districts.

Rebhuhn holds a doctorate in educational administration-special education from UW-Madison and has completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Kennedy Kreiger Institute, the Center for Learning & Its Disorders.

At UW-RF, she coordinates the Learning Disabilities teacher certification program and supervises graduate practicums. She teaches courses in exceptional children, the gifted child, introduction to learning disabilities and mental retardation.

Alumni who supported Rebhuhn's nomination wrote, "She was an excellent communicator, both on the professional and personal levels with her students. She was extremely dedicated to her profession and instilled in her students a great depth of understanding of her topic areas, particularly that of learning disabilities."

Another noted, "Dr. Rebhuhn has experienced in her career and research a vast array of exceptional experiences that when presented in class engage student interest and inspire dedication to make a difference in the special education population, as she has! She has motivated me to pursue my master's in special education."

McNamara has been a member of the University faculty since 1970 with an assignment split between the English and journalism department. He teaches freshman English, children's literature, literary genres and freshman English composition. He has taught introduction to mass communication in the journalism department since 1976.

A Red Wing, Minn., resident, McNamara holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and was a doctoral candidate at Drake University.

In addition to his teaching assignments, McNamara was a columnist and sports writer for the Red Wing Republican Eagle for more than 20 years. Related to that at UW-RF, he is a member of the Faculty Senate athletic committee that oversees athletic issues and gender equity compliance.

An alumni who supported McNamara noted, "I had Professor McNamara my freshman year for English. He takes a bit of getting used to, but he's a great professor and really changed and challenged my outlook in college!"

Another added, "He brought literature to life!"

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