The influence educators have on their students is often immeasurable, but Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History Mark Wyman is well able to gauge his influence on former student, Stephane Booth.
Booth and her husband, David Booth, established the Mark Wyman Scholarship to honor her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation advisor and subsequent colleague. The first recipient of the scholarship was Daniel Greer.
“Establishing this scholarship gave us an opportunity to honor a true scholar and teacher,” Stephane said. “Dr. Wyman brought his love for the subject and for research into the classroom. Hopefully, this scholarship will help other history students learn from and with as great a mentor as I had while at Illinois State.”
The Booths also endowed The Kenneth N. Berk Lecture Series in Statistics and contributed to the Herman E. Brockman Alumni Seminar Series in Genetics in honor of those faculty members’ influence on Illinois State alum David. “They, along with faculty members Douglas Bey and Robert Ritt, were all outstanding teachers and influenced my work in statistics and its applications,” David said.
Stephane earned her master’s degree in 1979 and doctorate in 1983 from Illinois State in history and then taught in the History department. David earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971 in Chemistry and his master’s degree in 1977 in mathematics from Illinois State and then earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The Booths met when they joined the Civil Air Patrol, and they married in 1971. Stephane grew up in Bloomington, attending St. Mary’s Grade School and Central Catholic High School. Her mother still lives in Bloomington, so the Booths return to the area frequently.
Stephane fondly remembers wandering in the old stacks of Milner Library when it was housed in what is now Williams Hall. “I loved going up those cramped, steel stairways and pulling out the drawers of books,” she said. “The new library was great, but the ambience of the old Milner was missing.” David enjoyed the football games, where he and Stephane would sit in the Red Bird Block and David would serve as a row captain.
The Booths currently work at Kent State University; Stephane is the Associate Provost for Academic Quality Improvement, and David is a professor who teaches all the graduate level business statistics courses in the College of Business Administration. Stephane deals with all aspects of assessment and accreditation within the University. She handles all activities associated with the continuous improvement process, the Academic Quality Improvement Program. Stephane also focuses on student learning assessment by working with faculty and units assisting in developing assessment tools and incorporating assessment practices.
“It has gotten to the point that I don’t have to say anything in meetings regarding assessment,” Stephane said. “My presence triggers people to build in an assessment component.”
The Booths’ experiences at Illinois State are just two examples of what a profound influence higher education faculty have on their students.
“The History department faculty were very supportive,” Stephane said. “One of my first courses was with Ira Cohen, and I was petrified and visited his office several times. He reassured me that I was on the right track and, in fact, was doing quite well. Mark Wyman had the ability to guide but not push. He allowed me to find my own way and define my own projects, but was always there to help me and give me advice and encouragement. He even went with me when I presented my first professional paper at the Illinois Labor History Conference in Chicago. He was always encouraging in his very quiet way. I found the entire History department faculty to be that supportive.”