Profile - Karl Wielgus

Karl Wielgus teaching

Instructor Profile

Meet Karl Wielgus
Instructor of Sociology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Columbia University; Bachelor of Arts (BA), Roosevelt University

Question and Answer

  • Question

    Would you list some recent accomplishments?

    Answer

    • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 1966
    • NIH Research Fellowship, 1970
  • Question

    What is your approach to teaching?

    Answer

    In my classes, the overall objective is to promote practice and use of Sociological knowledge and methods for understanding the processes in daily life. This will often entail working with what is familiar and helping to develop a framework for analyzing and understanding what is familiar. A secondary goal is to enable students to engage with alternate frameworks and models to understand life in society and, as a result, increase the ability to critically engage with routine practices and assumptions.-

  • Question

    What inspires you as a teacher?

    Answer

    I have been fortunate in having many teachers as role models. One, in particular, is worth mentioning. Helena Z. Lopata nurtured and helped me develop a spirit of inquiry about social processes and engaging in analysis of it. She made the field of Sociology and the profession a path for illuminating our lives and the possibilities of our lives.

    The second person who deserves mention is Peter McHugh who helped me to understand that in the most ordinary moments of interactions, human beings create both structures they live with and the sense of identity that they hold onto.

  • Question

    How would you describe what happens during one of your most successful classes?

    Answer

    Routine and ordinary events come to seen in a new light, and students come to be able to know the ways that their daily actions produce the structures they live with. Secondly, the world they take for granted is worthy of close attention, and it is possible to imagine alternative ways for things to be.

  • Question

    What makes your curriculum interesting or valuable to students?

    Answer

    One of the more valuable matters for students to engage in is the realization of the qualities that they assume are inevitable can be understood as options. The other important matter is the appreciation that in daily life the question of what is good, moral, what is required and established may be more a result of social convention and acceptance of group opinion than an actual engagement with the question of the good or the desirable. Habit and custom can make anything right. Realizing this is a powerful learning.

  • Question

    How do you think students describe your teaching methods and classes?

    Answer

    Some find it engaging, some find it tedious. I sense that the students who want certainty and step by step guidance find my classes confusing and uncomfortable.

  • Question

    What are some ways that you help students succeed when they need extra help?

    Answer

    I respond to all such questions and take any work they do, provide feedback and discussion with them on ways to improve what they write. I tend to not make absolute judgments on work but try to particularize praise or criticism to encourage more engagement.

  • Question

    How do you help your students get the most out of your class?

    Answer

    By the involvement of the course, I focus on the everyday and typical events and experiences that the students live with. Connecting the big questions about social structure with the everyday interactions they live with is essential.

Fun Facts

  • Fun Fact #1

    I have had a lifelong interest in music and have played various instruments. I was once a music major. I still play piano, used to play the cello and for about 12 years was a drummer in various bands.

  • Fun Fact #2

    I became a different person when I realized I could cook, and since that discovery at age 24, I have explored world cuisines and find new forms of cooking, spicing and preparation. I enjoy preparing food to eat rather than buying pre-cut, pre-diced, pre-assembled dishes.

  • Fun Fact #3

    I am a very long-winded talker. To balance my life and behavior, I have gradually incorporated some meditative practices into my daily routine. In the last ten years, this change has freed me from issues, such as boredom and impatience, and I find myself relishing the minutes, hours and days I am living.

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