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Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Renaissance man’ makes education enjoyable

Called a ‘Renaissance man,’ hard worker and all-around great guy, W. Robert Midden has spent nearly 22 years of his life trying to make science and math more enjoyable for students at the University. ‘He’s the closest person I know to a Renaissance man,’ Tom Klein, emeritus professor of English, said referring to Midden’s dual roles at the University and his affinity for Irish folk music. But while Midden, director of the Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education: Opportunities for Success (COSMOS), plays a mean antique wooden Irish flute, his real love is teaching. After coming to the University in July 1987, he realized getting students excited about science was more difficult than he thought it would be. ‘My interest gradually shifted to how you can better educate people,’ Midden said. ‘A lot of the ways science and math are taught don’t always stimulate interest. I wanted to find better ways to do that.’ Multiple choice exams and memorization weren’t compelling students into lecture hall seats, so Midden brainstormed new learning strategies that would get students involved. But designing research projects that were challenging and not overwhelming or mundane was no easy task. ‘You can know something in principle, but the challenge became putting that into practice,’ he said. ‘It’s more enjoyable to learn about science when you’re actually doing science.’ Midden created projects and modified curriculum to involve students in actually practicing science. One course he designed requires students to collect water samples and measure the quality of water in Wood County wells. At the end of the semester, the students present their results to the Wood County Health Department, other professionals and even the families who use the wells. Because of his work improving learning strategies at high school and college levels and his dedication to students, Midden was recruited to help start the Chapman Learning Community in 1997, the first of its kind at the University. Midden was one of a select few Klein chose to develop the Kohl Hall learning community that houses students and professors all in one residence hall. ‘Bob was key,’ Klein said. ‘I went after him to leave the chemistry department.’ Midden worked his way up to assistant and then director of the Chapman Learning Community, and because of his success there, he helped write the grant proposal that started the Partners in Context and Community (PCC) Learning Community for education majors in Kohl Hall. Junior Alysia Martin, who got to know Midden her freshman year in the Chapman Learning Community, said he definitely made learning science more fun. ‘He helped me start my college career on a good foot,’ she said. ‘He’s really friendly. If he can’t help you, he’ll find someone who can.’ Martin also said while she loves science, she isn’t the best scientist, and Midden was very patient with her. ‘He likes to make sure his students are succeeding, not just in the classroom,’ she said. Klein said one example of Midden’s devotion to students is when a couple students were going before the judiciary committee for creating a still in their dorm room. Midden went before the board and explained the scientific value and knowledge needed to create it. With Midden’s support, the students got lighter punishment. ‘He went to bat for them,’ Klein said. ‘That was Bob’s dedication to students.’ Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Simon Morgan-Russell echoes Midden’s commitment to student success. Some faculty get caught up in their research, but Midden never loses sight of his students, he said. ‘He’s a great example of an educator dedicated to undergraduates,’ Morgan-Russell said. ‘He’s really caught up with students. Bob has a tremendous work ethic.’ Mark Gromko, interim vice provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said he thinks very highly of Midden. ‘I don’t think Bob shies away from challenging students,’ he said. ‘He’s done numerous great things for BGSU.’ When Midden isn’t playing Irish music or helping students, he takes time to dabble in photography or spends it with his wife, Mary, their four grown children and grandchild. ‘There are too many fun things [to do],’ he said. ‘It’s one of the luckiest things in my life.’ Even after 21 years at the University, Midden said he isn’t planning to leave anytime soon. ‘As long as I can keep going, I’m happy to stick around,’ he said. ‘It’s all about the students ‘hellip; they’ve given me a lot of great ideas.’ ‘

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