North Central College - Naperville, IL

Kathy Guy '98 Guthrie: Inspired by Great Teaching

Teaching at Florida State Univeristy in Tallahassee, FL, Kathy Guy '98 Guthrie still has flashbacks to her days at North Central College. When she ponders how to best reach her students, she reflects on her days as a student of Tom Cavenagh, Schneller Sisters Professor of Leadership, Ethics and Values. " I still think about his teaching today, how he would get students to care about a topic," she says.  "He was one of the people at North Central who changed my life."

Guthrie is an assistant professor in Florida State's department of educational leadership and policy studies within the College of Education. Her duties include teaching and mentoring students at all levels in leadership studies—undergraduates, master's students and doctoral candidates. In addition, she serves as the faculty advisor to the University's Union Board, which focuses on community-building activities. "This was a perfect fit for me since I was involved in North Central's College Union Activities Board as an undergraduate," she says.

She was recently named winner of an Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs Award for the southeastern region of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

While earning her Ph.D. in educational organization and leadership at the University of Illinois, Guthrie worked in community organizing and became director of the office of volunteer programs. She became specialized in the area of "civic education" and her dissertation looked at the motivation of students to become involved in co-curricular volunteer and service-learning activities.

Today, engagement and active learning in the classroom are her passions as a professor. She views the students in her classroom in a much larger context. "The goal of all education is simple—to make the world a better place," she says. "That's why we gain knowledge—to create positive change. So I'm always considering how my students can apply their knowledge. You can teach them theory, but will they use it for the greater good or let it sit in their backpacks?"