Jill Lahrmer Receives Kent State’s Outstanding Teaching Award

Since 2008, Jill Lahrmer, assistant professor in Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, has consistently shared her passion for interior design with her students. But Lahrmer’s ability to relate to the lives of college students has led to her being conferred with a 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award.

The Outstanding Teaching Award honors exceptional nontenure-track and part-time faculty members at Kent State. Sponsored by the University Teaching Council, the awards are given every year to three Kent State faculty members for their outstanding achievements in teaching.

"After teaching sophomores, juniors and seniors at Kent State University for nearly eight years, my biggest teaching accomplishment is playing a part, however large or small, in their quests to become design professionals,” Lahrmer says.

Lahrmer says she believes students can relate to her real-life stories because she shares the stress of balancing a full workload.

“I’m a mom to three daughters, I have worked in the private sector, I take graduate classes and I’m teaching six courses this semester,” Lahrmer says.

Teaching was not always the plan for Lahrmer. She started as an art major at Bowling Green State University, but she did not know exactly what she wanted to do with her degree. She decided that interior design would be an easy transition because she began working for architecture firms when she was 16 years old.

“My first time teaching, I was more nervous to stand in front of a classroom to teach than I was to present to the second largest law firm in Cleveland,” Lahrmer says.

Kent State senior interior design major Mariah Schlegel nominated Lahrmer for the Outstanding Teaching Award.

“Jill Lahrmer has demonstrated a balance in her life that seems hard to achieve from our current standpoint in school,” Schlegel says. “She works hard, but still has time for her family and other activities that she enjoys, which shows that it can be done.”

Schlegel says that Lahrmer genuinely cares about her students learning and always has their best interests at heart.

“I was shocked,” Lahrmer says. “It’s a humbling experience to know that your students took the time to write letters on your behalf for the award.”

Lahrmer says she still communicates as a lifelong mentor with former students after graduation.

“I try very hard to be not just their teacher in terms of the coursework, but also their mentor in any guidance they need in their career,” Lahrmer says.

Lahrmer says many of her interior design students embrace their concerns and fears in order to learn how to develop their skills by exposing their personal design ideas.

“She only gives us purposeful work that we can truly apply in our future career experiences, and challenges us to the appropriate extent,” Schlegel says. “Jill is a queen.”

Learn more about the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit www.kent.edu/caed.