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teacherfordayEach year, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) recognizes two outstanding alumni with a Professor for a Day opportunity.  

This year, Tammy Huenink ‘95, and David Farin ‘91, were invited back to campus to speak to students and be honored at a luncheon hosted by COEHS and the UW Oshkosh Foundation. The purpose is to honor alumni who have made significant contributions to their profession and to give them a day to interact with college students who are presently enrolled in teacher education, counseling and human services programs. The Professor for a Day program is supported through a fund at the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

Huenink currently teaches 8th grade science at Sheboygan Falls Middle School. Each day she shares her love of learning and passion for the natural environment.

“In my 21 years of teaching, it still makes me smile when a student states ‘I get it!'” she said.

Huenink and Provost Lane Earns.

Huenink and Provost Lane Earns.

Throughout her career, she has been honored for her outstanding teaching, including with a SMART Exemplary Educator award in 2008, a Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST) Excellence in Science Education award in 2011 and named to the Top 10 Sheboygan Falls Teachers list in 2015.

In addition to teaching, Huenink serves at the president of WSST, an organization she credits with helping to push her out of her comfort zone,  find her voice for science education and become a better educator.

“When it was time to nominate someone for Professor for a Day, I immediately thought of Tammy,” said Eric Brunsell, teaching and learning associate professor at UW Oshkosh.

Farin and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

Farin and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

Farin teaches specially designed or adapted physical education in seven different elementary schools within the Neenah Joint School District. Since 1999, he has mentored the human kinetic and health education adapted physical education practicum students in their field placements.

“Dave has been a valuable resource as a cooperating teacher in the school to our physical education majors,” said Christy Tipps, human kinetics and health education chair.

In his free time, Farin loves the outdoors and serves as the High Ropes Course Adventure Facilitator for Lutheran Social Services; is a whitewater kayak, canoe and swiftwater rescue instructor; a bicycle ambassador for the Appleton Police Department; a section chief for the Fox Valley Marathon and a volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of the Fox Cities Awareness Walk. Most recently, Farin has been working on the development of an app for use with special needs students within the physical education environment.

While on campus, Huenink and Farin were asked to comment on keeping the passion in the teaching, despite what is going on in the world of education today.

“Cheer on! It gets better,” Farin said. “Keep doing what is right for the kids and the institutions.”

“I like to tell my students teaching middle school is an adventure,” Huenink said.  “Education isn’t always easy.  We [teachers] have a passion for what we do.”

Since 1972, the College of Education and Human Services has sponsored Professor for a Day.

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