Silver Circles: John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley
John Coumbe-Lilley
(Photo: Vibhu S. Rangavasan)

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.

John Coumbe-Lilley
Clinical associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition
Silver Circles: 1
Years at UIC: 10

What does it mean to win this award from the graduating seniors?
It’s a great honor because I feel like I did my job well and I did it in a way the graduating class felt they had a valuable and positive experience in my courses. Their voice matters so much because my focus at UIC is making sure every student has a good experience, and feels stronger and more confident to face the world. This award makes me feel I achieved these outcomes and motivates me to continue to do my best and work at a level students are used to from me.

What do you teach?
I teach KN 337 Psychology of Sport Injury and Recovery, KN400 Entrepreneurship for Applied Health Professionals, KN436 Health Coaching, and the AHS Study Abroad program.

How do you engage students in your courses?
I start every course thinking about the needs and goals of my students, and every course session is aimed at satisfying their needs and achieving their goals. I use any method possible to engage my students. I often experiment to elicit original work, develop emotional intelligence and grow academic capability. Reading, writing, discussion, creation, practice and low-stakes assessments are just some of the ways I operate. I feel learning experiences stick and I aim to make sure at least once in every class a student might think, “Whoa!” and be encouraged to think about or approach something in a new way.

What is your advice to graduating students?
Face the world and have courage. Remember who you are, where you come from, what you have accomplished and what your strengths are. The future is unwritten — go write your own chapter.

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