Written by Craig Schreiner | Photos by Craig Schreiner
In WHY I TEACH, Eylem Ersal-Kiziler, an associate professor of economics, talks about the human element of undergraduate- and graduate-level economics courses in the College of Business and Economics.
“I get regular feedback from my students that helps me improve my courses and myself as a teacher. At mid-career, I discovered another dimension to teaching that was beyond perfect course material and design, thanks to a letter I received from a student. This student was in his senior year and taking a course with me, but his letter was about a course he had taken with me during my first year of teaching at UW-Whitewater. We had discussed his poor progress at the time, and I told him not to label himself as ‘I’m bad at….’ I did not realize that this was all he needed. My response was not a calculated one. He did not need the expertise of a Ph.D. — he needed encouragement to make the shift in his mental state and attitude toward his courses. He told me in his letter, ‘That semester was the first of many that I made it onto the Dean’s List.’ This human element is what I find the most meaningful and satisfying about teaching, with ripple effects far beyond the classroom.”
Eylem Ersal-Kiziler, an associate professor of economics, teaches students in a graduate-level economics course. Ersal-Kiziler is one of the advisors of the Economics Society and the supervisor for UW-Whitewater’s chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an international economics honor society, and she has also helped coach teams of economics students competing in the Collegiate Fed Challenge. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)
As Eylem Ersal-Kiziler considered the human element of teaching, she remembered the following quote, which she said correlates with her my intention to focus on students and to bring a growth mindset to the work she does.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou
WHY I TEACH is a series about the dedicated faculty at UW-Whitewater’s two campuses who make every day a teachable moment — and every place a learning place — by their expertise and example.