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Kayoung Kim, Ph.D., is the fourth professor at UW-Fond du Lac to receive the  UW System’s 2017 Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award recently announced by Ray Cross, UW System president.Kayoung Kim

A psychology professor, she is one of three recipients of the award this year in the state. This prestigious award recognizes extraordinary teaching at UW System institutions within Alliant Energy’s service area. A $2,500 award is presented to recipients, funded by an endowment from Alliant Energy.

“I feel immensely thankful for the recognition from students; support and encouragement from my colleagues; and I feel honored to be representing our campus as a recipient,” said Dr. Kim. “I will strive to follow in the footsteps of my incredible teaching colleagues in the UW Colleges so that I can continue to serve as the teacher/mentor my students described me to be.”

Kim has been a member of the UW-Fond du Lac faculty since 2015. She teaches psychology courses and is the faculty advisor for the Psychology Club. In the community, Kim has recently collaborated with the Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac under the National Science Foundation to initiate the Living Laboratory research program. Through this partnership, students will have the opportunity to design and conduct their own research and provide service to the community.

Kim’s philosophy is that successful teaching is measured by how excited the students are to come to the next class, ready for more. It is not about the increase in average exam scores. “In my classes, my main focus is not to passively descend the knowledge, but instead to facilitate students to take an active role in their learning,” said Kim.

Her students agree. Former and current students wrote letters of support for this award. “They all commented on her enthusiasm and dedication,” said Martin Rudd, regional executive officer and dean. “She has served as not only a teacher, but also as a mentor, to many students.”

Nicole Grahn, one of Kim’s students, said she saw her professor continually working with each student to make sure they were doing the best they could. “She did this because regardless of what your major might have been, she wanted you to succeed in her course. She has served as so much more than just a psychology professor to me and so many other students here at UW-Fond du Lac.”

Another student noted Kim’s enthusiasm for course content.

“Her enthusiasm is infectious and sparks interest beyond the baseline interest in new information,” said Grace Hudson. “Her enthusiasm inspired me to pursue a career in psychology when I otherwise had no idea of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go in my future endeavors. To put it simply, her joy for the subject inspires joy in her students for the subject and that joy in turn leads to better understanding and comprehension.”

Previous recipients of the Underkofler award at UW-Fond du Lac are Dr. Sayeed Payesteh, business and economics professor; Dr.  Michael Jurmu, geography and geology professor and Richard Gustin, communication and theater arts professor.

Kim will receive the award at a ceremony in Madison this fall. The Underkofler awards are given by the Alliant Energy Foundation as a tribute to the company’s long-time senior executive, James R. Underkofler, a strong supporter of excellence in undergraduate teaching.


Media Inquiries: Laurie Krasin