Get to know Kim Knesting!

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Dr. Kim Knesting is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department

 

 

What is your educational background?

I have a PhD in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in School Psychology. I earned my PhD from Indiana University. Because my undergraduate degree was in German Literature and Language, I studied psychology at the University of Minnesota for a year before beginning my coursework in school psychology.

What courses do you teach at UW-Whitewater?

I teach undergraduate courses in Introductory Psychology, Psychology of Women, and a course called Field Training in Psychology- it’s a class where students have a field placement for four hours a week, and then we meet for two hours a week. I also teach graduate courses in our school psychology program in foundations in the field, in cognitive behavioral therapies, and behavioral therapies.

What are your research interests?

My primary research interest is in looking at how better to support students who are at risk for dropping out of high school- so looking at how we can support their persistence. And that has begun to focus more and more on how it is that we can communicate caring and belonging to students who often times don’t have that sense or that feeling at their school. We are looking at how to help teachers better do this. I also look at how schools support sexual minority youth, specifically looking at the support teachers need in order to provide that support to students in their classrooms and hallways at school.

How long have you been teaching at UW-Whitewater?

This is my fourth year at Whitewater.

What inspired you to become a professor?

To be honest, I was really torn. When I was finishing up my internship for my doctorate degree, I was applying to jobs both as a school psychology practitioner- so working in schools, as well as faculty positions. The faculty position came through with an offer first, so I accepted it. Since then, I have really come to love teaching and working with students.

What do you like most about teaching?

I like the one-on-one interactions with students- I like trying to help them figure things out, help them think about something differently, or expose them to a new idea.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I have a wonderful department- really supportive colleagues. I think there seems to be a relatively positive energy among faculty about trying to do things better and improving- yet understanding that sometimes we do the best that we can, and that is the best that we can do. That support really makes a difference.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

Traveling. We have been working on a huge house project since we moved to Wisconsin, so sanding and painting and pounding and nailing and doing those types of things. I’m a new mom, so that is also taking up lots of my time. I have a little girl, and she’s five months old.

What’s your favorite movie?

Off the top of my head, I would probably have to say The Princess Bride.

Who inspires you and why?

When I was in graduate school I had a professor, and when I started to think about possibly pursuing a career in academia, she became my mentor. She still is in many, many ways; from just little things- like how she would approach handling a conflict with a student, to how she makes career decisions, how she handles being a mom, faculty member, and all of that. She is always a guide in the back of my mind about how she would handle a situation or what she might suggest I do in a situation.

Get to know Karl Brown!

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Karl Brown is an Assistant Professor of History at UW-Whitewater

 

 

 

What’s your educational background?

I got a PhD in Modern European History from the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to that I went to Lawrence University. I graduated in 1994 with a BA in History and a lot of work in the Russian Language.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach a lot of GenEd 120- Historical Perspectives. I also do a couple of courses on this History of Europe, like a History of Russia this semester. I’m teaching a course in the Film Studies minor next fall on Russian Cinema, and I do a course on the History of Beer that is strangely popular. I’m probably teaching that next spring.

What are your research interests?

My research is on everyday crime in early Communist Hungary. Scholars tend to look at the statistics for crime, which are significant for the population, and see it as a straightforward example of state oppression. What I do is unpack those numbers a little bit more, and look more broadly at what crime tells us about this historical context.

How long have you been teaching?

I came here as a lecturer two years ago, and this is my first year on tenure track.

What inspired you to become a professor?

My dad was a prof, and it just seemed like a really good job. You get to work in an academic environment with other people who are interested in asking and answering questions. I’ve always enjoyed being a student- which is good because being a grad student is 5-8 extra years of that. I’ve also always wanted to study history- since the 6th grade or so.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

Nowadays I like in my upper-level classes how students tackle a term paper as a substantial portion of work- we scaffold it throughout the semester, so they’re building up to a pretty significant accomplishment on their part. What I’ve found is that I’ve gotten some really good papers, and I can just see these students getting better at the writing process. That’s really rewarding both because they put out a good product, and I’ve had a direct hand in helping them along.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I love my colleagues. I’ve taught at a number of places, and the departmental politics can be awful. But they aren’t here, and we all get along very, very well. I also like my students a lot. If you don’t like teaching you don’t go into being a university prof. Students here are enthusiastic and willing to do the work. I like being in the classroom- it’s fun teaching. The town of Whitewater is also great.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

Outside of teaching I do a lot of home brewing. I actually helped set up a craft brewery here in town- Second Salem, which is doing well. I also enjoy Frisbee golf, playing with my children, and parenting… well most of the time I enjoy that.

What’s your favorite book?

Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus, and Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?

About me and a lot of other profs here- we’re a lot cooler than you think we are. I have colleagues that have been to Dead shows and some other crazy stuff, I canoed down the Yukon when I was in my 20s.

Who inspires you and why?

I think figures like Ghandi and MLK, and just people who see something wrong and figure out how to change it without causing harm. The whole notion of with the right ideas and right organization, people can take to the streets and make effective and significant changes in their lives.

Get to know Matt Lange!

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Dr. Matthew Lange is an Associate Professor of German.  He has taught at UW-Whitewater since 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (German) from The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina. I then pursued a Master’s degree in German Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. At that time I studied for a year in Erlangen, Bavaria. After that I came to Madison for my PhD program. I lived in Berlin for a year working while on my dissertation.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach Beginning German, Advanced German, German Conversation, German Phonetics, German Civilization, and two survey courses of German literature. Up to this year I also taught Intermediate German, and at one point I even taught Business German.

What are your research interests?

My dissertation research was on antisemitism in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. I looked at the figure of the Jew in German literature and culture as a metaphor for capitalism, and my book entitled Antisemitic Elements in the Critique of Capitalism in German Culture, 1850-1933, examined how nationalists attacked laissez-faire capitalism in German culture by labeling it Jewish. Then I branched out a little bit into the history of the department store in Germany, since it was pioneered by Jewish entrepreneurs. Most recently, I am beginning to transition into German-American history.

How long have you been teaching?

I was a Teaching Assistant at CU-Boulder and UW-Madison since 1994. In 2005 I started working full-time as an instructor in Whitewater.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I appreciate what my former teachers and professors have done to educate me and, in their own way, bring me closer to Enlightenment – as Kant outlined in 1784 – whether I realized it at the time or not. I am committed to the idea that the purpose of the university is to “improve the human condition” through a “search for truth”, even if the current regime attempted to purge such lofty sentiments from state statutes. Sapere aude!

What do you like most about teaching?

I love getting students to have that a-ha moment when they learn something new. Particularly in the earlier levels when students have issues with language learning in general, and they come to the realization that perhaps it’s not as hard as they thought, or when they finally master a skill that they thought initially they wouldn’t be able to master. After that they can take control of their own learning.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I guess it depends on the way people look at what a teacher is. Some people look at a teacher just basically professing knowledge while students absorb that knowledge, but I look at it as a process in which I help students learn by developing skills. I can’t make students learn, but I can open doors for them and make them aware of opportunities that education provides.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I love my colleagues. They’re very supportive, wonderful people. It makes it easy to come to work every day to become inspired by them and share ideas with them.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

I love to travel, I love to sail, which of course I can only get done here in the summer. I love spending time with my family, and just going on hikes outdoors.

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie would be Wings of Desire. It’s a beautiful film, set in a divided Berlin during the 1980s, and the protagonists are angels. One angel falls in love with a mortal and chooses to give up his eternal existence to share an ephemeral bond.

Is there anything that your students might be surprised to learn about you?

They might be surprise that I went to a military college, participated in ROTC, and became US Army Airborne qualified. I was also on the boxing team in my senior year and won the silver medal in our regional tournament. A few years ago I ran with the bulls in Pamplona – not that I am encouraging them to do the same.

Who inspires you and why?

There are a lot of people who inspire me for different reasons. One is my former professor and mentor at The Citadel, because he started me on my current trajectory and still serves as a model academic. He convinced me to go to graduate school, told me about opportunities, and guided me throughout my career. I try to do the same thing with my students – try to convince them to do things that they may not have considered to begin with and help them, where I can, along the way to achieve great things.