Mentoring While Teaching Is the Perfect Match
The combination of passing on a love of Earth science while acting as a mentor for students is a perfect match for Eric Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Kent State University at Stark.
“People say once you start doing what you love for work, you tend to not love it anymore,” Taylor said. “But that hasn’t happened for me. There’s plenty of reasons to be happy at work, and my students make it worthwhile.”
Teaching gives Taylor a chance to inspire his students to appreciate the Earth as much as he does.
“Earth’s rocks, minerals and fossils have inspired and humbled me since I was a little kid,” Taylor said. “I find genuine satisfaction in sharing the beauty and relevancy of geology. I love to see the spark that comes when students get in the field and start to truly see the geology around them.”
Taylor also strives to make a deeper connection with his students, outside of the curriculum.
“By teaching, I’m providing, not just knowledge, but wisdom, experience and opportunity,” Taylor said. “For me, teaching is a service, but it’s one that brings me a source of joy. It’s an opportunity to share what I love, to help people excel and do better in their skills.”
Making this connection with students doesn’t require going out of his way, Taylor said.
“You don’t have to go an extra mile,” Taylor said. “You might have to go an extra 100 yards or so. We don’t need to do a marathon of extra work, but it does require some consideration outside of class or office hours.”
This effort has resonated with his students as Taylor earned the 2022 Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA), which honors full-time, non-tenure track and part-time faculty. The OTA is sponsored by the University Teaching Council (UTC) and is presented annually to three faculty members who consistently showcase astounding skills in classroom teaching.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to honor educators that really invest in their students and in their own practice,” Taylor said. “There are certainly more people that deserve the award. I’m just grateful someone nominated me.”
All 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) and OTA honorees were acknowledged at the UTC’s Fall Celebration of Teaching Conference on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.
To learn more about the Department of Earth Sciences, visit www.kent.edu/stark/earth-science-major-ba.
To read more about the 2022 Outstanding Teaching Award, visit www.kent.edu/utc/teaching-awards.