Q&A: 2016-2017 Outstanding Faculty, Karan Oliver-Tucci
April 12, 2017
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Every year students are invited to nominate their favorite professors and faculty members, and every year an outstanding faculty member is recognized above the rest. This year, Anatomy and Physiology professor, Karan Oliver-Tucci has been recognized for Outstanding Faculty member after being nominated eight times by eight separate students over the past two years. The Courier sat down with Oliver-Tucci to get to know a little more about the Outstanding Faculty member.
Caroline Broderick: What is your education background? Where did you attend school and where are you originally from?
Karan Oliver-Tucci: Undergrad- Secondary Biology- DePaul University
Grad- Biological Science with Concentration in Human Anatomical Sciences- NIU
C: Was teaching something you always aspired to do? What about teaching science courses?
K: It was my love of animals that first drew me to the field of biology. I worked jobs as a veterinary technician and seasonal zookeeper during college but as soon as I started teaching high school biology, I was hooked. I love being in the classroom. After earning my graduate degree and specializing in Human Anatomical Science, it made sense to transition into a college setting where I could teach more advanced material.
C: Do you know who nominated you for Outstanding Faculty? How do you know this person?
K: Over the past two years, I’ve been so lucky to have had eight student nominations. I realize that it is not a quick process and really appreciate that all of these students took time out of their busy schedules to fill out then nomination forms.
C: What is your reaction to being named Outstanding Faculty?
K: I was caught off guard and initially very surprised. I am very honored to have been named Outstanding Faculty out of such an amazing pool of quality professors. The award motivates me to continue trying out new activities and labs with my students and be innovative in my field.
C: Do you have a philosophy for teaching? Maybe a specific way you like to approach a lesson?
K: I see how my students each learn a little bit differently so a key component to my teaching includes trying to reach all kinds of learners. I try to use different teaching modalities to make my visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners all feel included in my lessons. I believe that the best professors are experts in their field so I constantly try to stay abreast of new medical procedure and technological developments since things are so rapidly advancing in medicine. I visit the NIH and CDC websites to research the most up-to-date information quite frequently. I love to learn so I welcome questions and enjoy finding the answers to those I am not able to answer off the top of my head. Lastly, when explaining complicated material, I like to break it down into building blocks that students can master.
C: What are some things Karan, not Professor, likes to do when not working? Are there any things that a lot of students don’t know about you?
K: I love to travel during school holidays and breaks. I’ve been to Bora Bora, Argentina, Belize, Costa Rice, Italy, Switzerland and all over the Caribbean. I’m hoping to plan a trip to visit Thailand with my husband and kids (triplets). In the future, I would love to develop a field course so I could learn, teach and travel with my students.
C: If you weren’t teaching, what do you think you would be doing as a profession?
K: Honestly, this is my dream job. I’m so happy to be here at COD. I’m already doing what I love and feel so grateful for the opportunity.
C: Do you have any specific stories or memories from your teaching career that you look back on and think “That’s why I teach”?
K: When a students writes me a thank you card at the end of the semester or fills out a nomination form it means so much and reminds me of exactly why I teach!