Silver Circles: Sonja Koontz
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.
Silver Circles: 1
Years at UIC: 2
What does it mean to win this award from the graduating seniors?
I am honored by the students’ nomination. It is a heart-felt award and provides me with a sense of appreciation and accomplishment. I have taught these students in three out of their four semesters and have formed a close teacher-student relationship. I will always remember the students who make up this first graduating class from the Springfield campus of the UIC College of Nursing.
What do you teach?
I currently teach “Professional Nursing 1,” “Pathophysiology and Pharmacology,” and “Acute Care Nursing and Care Management” at the Springfield campus.
How do you engage students in your courses?
I use humor, give compliments and provide frequent feedback to students. I adapt my teaching approach based on each course and the students’ learning styles. I respect and value the students’ perspective and frequently ask them for input and provide them various opportunities to apply new knowledge through group projects, case studies, interpretation of results and evaluation experiences.
What are your research interests?
My research interests are in safe medication practices, and influencing and affecting health care policy through grassroots efforts.
What is your advice to graduating students?
My advice to the graduating students is to smile, be accepting, and treat everyone with respect; acknowledge what you don’t know and seek the answer; communicate clearly and ask for clarification; promote an environment to change the lives of those that are confronted with social and economical inequities; and participate in influencing health care policy.