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McLaughlin Earns JALC and Statewide Teaching Honors

Steve McLaughlin (left), photography and digital imagining instructor at John A. Logan College, was named the 2013 Term Faculty Member of the Year at the college and then was also chosen the 2013 Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member for Illinois by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. McLaughlin, pictured with JALC President Dr. Mike Dreith, is the first JALC faculty member to receive the statewide honor.

Steve McLaughlin (left), photography and digital imagining instructor at John A. Logan College, was named the 2013 Term Faculty Member of the Year at the college and then was also chosen the 2013 Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member for Illinois by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. McLaughlin, pictured with JALC President Dr. Mike Dreith, is the first JALC faculty member to receive the statewide honor.

BY TERI CAMPBELL
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Steve McLaughlin has a passion for teaching. That passion was recently recognized and rewarded as he was selected the 2013 Term Faculty Member of the Year at John A. Logan College and then was also named the 2013 Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member for Illinois by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association, which recognizes the high achievement of Illinois’ part-time community college instructors. He is the first JALC faculty member to receive the statewide honor.

McLaughlin, a resident of Herrin, worked full time at Logan as the director of distance learning until his retirement last summer. He has been teaching photography and digital imaging part time at the college since 1998 and said he was surprised to receive the awards.

“This just came out of left field,” McLaughlin said. “I never expected to be named Term Faculty Member of the Year at John A. Logan. There are a lot of great instructors at the college that I really respect and appreciate, so that in itself is very humbling. Then to get recognized by the state is just unbelievable.”

Although the honors were a surprise to McLaughlin, Tom Bell, associate dean for learning resources at Logan, said McLaughlin is deserving of the awards.

“I worked with Steve for 15 years as he served as the director of distance learning and taught part time,” Bell said. “As a teacher, he is truly outstanding because he cares about his students. He’s a photographer and a Photoshop artist, and he wants his students to learn these skills. He’s very patient and devotes a lot of time to them.”

McLaughlin’s road to the classroom was an unconventional one. He worked for several years as a coal miner before he was severely injured in a mining accident in the 1980s.

“I was disabled and could hardly function and that went on for a number of years,” McLaughlin said. “It was quite a struggle for me to go back to school, but I felt like it was my only escape. I didn’t just want to sit at home and vegetate. A lot of my motivation came from the fact that I had three daughters. I didn’t want them to see me just waste away. I wanted them to go to college, and I felt like I needed to be an example for them.”

Mclaughlin enrolled in classes at JALC where he excelled and was chosen a USA Today Academic All-American in 1993. He transferred to Southern Illinois University where he completed his bachelor’s degree and discovered his love of teaching.

“When I was working on my degree in photography, I knew that I not only wanted to learn to take pictures, but to teach others how to take them as well,” he said. “So I graduated from college at the age of 49 and began a new career in education.”

McLaughlin said he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Logan.

“Every day I got up, and I was happy about going to work,” he said. “I was excited about my job, and I got to do work that I loved. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with the professionals and students at John A. Logan.”

Dr. Deborah Payne, vice president for instruction at Logan, said McLaughlin has been a true asset to the college.

“Steve’s leadership in distance education at John A. Logan College has been extraordinary,” Payne said. “His knowledge of learning management systems and instructional design enabled him to be a primary resource for faculty and staff. He encouraged all of us to move ahead with instructional technology for the benefit of our students. He is so deserving of this honor as Illinois Term Faculty of the Year. The faculty, staff, and administration at Logan congratulate him and thank him for his commitment to his students and to excellence in distance education.”

McLaughlin will receive the JALC term faculty award at the college’s commencement ceremony on Thursday night. He has a message for the graduates.

“I’m going to tell them what I try to teach my students,” he said. “I will tell them to follow their passions. Find something they really enjoy and pursue it with all they have. If they can find something they love to do and are able to do that as a profession, I don’t think it gets any better than that.”