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Jeffrey Boshart Named 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year

Nov-15-2013

Jeff and Karen Boshart

Eastern Illinois University’s Jeffrey Boshart has been named the 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students.  It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Boshart, who was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States, was honored at an awards luncheon Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.  The announcement was made public on Eastern’s campus today during a meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“I am pleased and honored to represent Illinois and, specifically, Eastern Illinois University as the CASE Illinois Professor of the Year,” Boshart said.  “I have spent my career striving to become a better teacher, mentor and student-centered activist, asking myself, ‘How can I help my students engage their profession, achieve better results and find success in their chosen field sooner?’

"It has been a challenging goal but one that has never left me without options, and the exploration of those possibilities has made the struggle worth every dime I’ve spent and every hour I’ve devoted to the quest.”

He added that his efforts in teaching, creative activity, research and service have been consistently supported by his family, colleagues and administration.

“I am humbled to have received this recognition but gleefully share it with my family, peers and students, both past and present,” he said.

Boshart joined the EIU Department of Art in 1988.  He routinely teaches classes from the introductory level all the way through graduate level.  He works with independent study students, is a departmental academic adviser and, on the high school level, has been both an instructor and the director for the EIU Summer High School Art Camp.

As an outreach educator, Boshart conducts workshops and symposia, ranging from kindergartner classes through professional art associations.  He is an ongoing visual arts guest curator and, most recently, developed several exhibitions, lectures and workshops in cooperation with Eastern’s Tarble Arts Center.

While Boshart is primarily a sculptor, he also engages in drawing, watercolor, photography and various other art forms as situations dictate.  He has installed large-scale and/or site-specific sculptures and has been featured in solo exhibitions, group shows, competitions and traveling exhibitions.

Boshart received the inaugural Master Educator Award from the international professional association, Foundations in Art:  Theory and Education, in 2007.  While at Eastern, he has received multiple achievement and contribution awards for his service commitment to students, his department, the university, community, state and nation.  Since 1980, he has received more than 35 grants in support of the classroom/studio activities, outreach programs and directed research assistantships.

Annie Cunningham, a 2011 EIU graduate and former student of Boshart’s, referred to her mentor as an outstanding instructor and an involved part of the community.  In addition to giving elementary students the “gift of expression,” she said, he provides “adolescents with ways to have healthy outlets for the pressures of life.”

Additionally, he helps young adults explore what they are capable of and introduces “the older generation” to new techniques, as well as the “classic ways” of doing things, Cunningham added.

“Jeff Boshart is many things to many people, but for me, he will always be a symbol as to what a true artist ought to be:  supportive, versatile, knowledgeable, creative and forever curious.”