2016 Silver Circle winner Ronald Pavone
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
Ronald Pavone’s teaching style is influenced by outstanding teachers he had — as well as his students.
“One of my past professors told me the following quotation, ‘I have learned very much from my teachers, even more from my peers, and most of all from my students,’” said Pavone, lecturer in psychology. “The more I teach, the more I’m understanding that.”
The four-time Silver Circle winner teaches psychology and statistics courses to undergraduates. One of his favorite courses to teach is statistics. “Other psychology courses are more intrinsically fascinating, yes — but I like this course because students often don’t yet have much practice with systematic and procedural problem-solving skills,” he said.
“Students get to apply their head knowledge to statistical exercises and challenges, and it’s really rewarding to see that light bulb go off above their heads when they realize that they, too, can successfully discover solutions.”
Pavone reached a milestone at UIC this year — his 20th year of teaching. He bases his teaching style on meaningful teachers he had, who gave students a lot of individual attention and offered interactive discussions.
“I’ve had some outstanding teachers who have really helped me, and I’m just passing on to my students something that was freely given to me,” he said. “I think that’s a great privilege to be able to do so.”
Pavone’s own passion for what he teaches helps make his courses interesting. “I try to engage my students, and a lot of students very actively participate in problem-solving and decision-making processes,” he said.
He was humbled to receive the honor from graduating seniors. His advice for them as they enter the real world?
“Keep on welcoming more learning all through their future lives, and continue to creatively apply what they’ve been learning in college,” he said.