Dr. Jan Murphy, provost and vice president for academic affairs, joined hundreds of Illinois State faculty, staff, and students to honor three professors as the 2019 Outstanding University Teachers. Murphy made the announcement at the annual Teaching & Learning Symposium earlier this month. The award winners, selected by the University Teaching Committee after an extensive nomination process, represent teaching excellence across a wide variety of disciplines.
Outstanding University Teaching-Tenured Track
Adriana Ransom, School of Music
Dr. Adriana Ransom is the School of Music’s professor of cello. Every semester, Ransom works one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate cello majors as they progress on their individual journeys toward musical mastery. She also coaches chamber music ensembles and teaches String Pedagogy and Literature, Cello Pedagogy and Literature, and String Methods.
Ransom is the director of Illinois State’s nationally recognized String Project, an after-school music program that brings 140 local students to campus each week to work with preservice teachers, under the supervision of string faculty.
Ransom also leads a Professional Practice course for string majors, co-teaching group violin class at a Heartland Head Start preschool each week. Ransom led the development of the successful proposal for the new Master of Music in string pedagogy degree, which will have its first graduates this year. She currently serves as the advisor for the Continuo String Orchestra registered student organization (RSO) as well as the Illinois State University Student Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Ransom’s work with the Illinois State University String Project, Heartland Head Start, and the National String Project Consortium contributed to her recognition as a recipient of Illinois State’s Outstanding Service Award and the Illinois American String Teacher’s Distinguished Service Award. As a professional musician and role model for her students, Ransom frequently performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. She believes that music has the power to connect, stimulate, heal, soothe, inspire, and transform lives and communities. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Minnesota in 2005 and joined the Illinois State faculty in 2006.
Joseph Zompetti, School of Communication
Dr. Joseph Zompetti, M.S. ’95, is a professor of communication at Illinois State University. He teaches courses in communication and social issues, classical rhetoric, and political communication. He is internationally known for his research and teaching of argument, critical thinking, and political rhetoric, as he has taught these and similar subjects in nearly 30 countries, including three Fulbright grants.
Zompetti’s research interests include the rhetoric of critical cultural studies and the rhetoric of civic engagement. His work has appeared in Theory and Critique, the Journal of Promotion Management, and Argumentation: An International Journal of Reasoning, and Cultural Studies. He is the author of Divisive Discourse: The Extreme Rhetoric of Contemporary American Politics and Essential Readings on Rhetoric.
Zompetti holds what he calls, “a deep-seated belief that our students can make the world a better place. “I know the teachers I had believed that which is why they were so impassioned. I try to emulate that sense of hope and dedication.” Zompetti earned his Ph.D. from Wayne State University.
Outstanding University Teaching-Non-Tenured Track
Terry Lowe, Department of Management and Quantitative Methods
Terry Lowe ’72, MBA ’77, is an instructional assistant professor in the Management and Quantitative Methods Department in the College of Business. He joined the faculty in 2006 after retiring from State Farm Insurance where he had been manager of learning and development.
Lowe served for three years on the College of Business Curriculum Team, and is currently serving on the University’s Academic Freedom, Ethics and Grievance Committee. He recently served as interim director of the Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, an institute in the College of Business devoted to supporting aspiring Illinois State student entrepreneurs. He has assisted with the College of Business annual Startup Showcase for nine years. He has been a faculty advisor for the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi for 10 years. And he received the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award of Teaching Excellence in the College of Business in 2014.
Lowe’s teaching philosophy includes a focus on preparing students for their futures by sending them out of the classroom to interview and network with business professionals as part of course projects and assignments. He embraces advances in technology by encouraging the use of devices in the classroom and utilizing the university’s learning management system to its fullest extent. He believes effective teaching goes well beyond the classroom. He takes great pride in helping students grow into professional and well-prepared candidates for the jobs that lie ahead of them. Most importantly, Lowe believes his students teach him more than he teaches them, and he never stops incorporating their lessons into his outlooks and approaches to education.
Lowe earned an MBA from Illinois State University. He holds six professional insurance and financial service designations and is a senior certified professional in human resources. Lowe teaches a variety of courses including management, organizational behavior, human resource management and development, management of employee benefits, and small business management and entrepreneurship.