In the genes
Joe Kotowski’s passion for the classroom stems from his family lineage. His grandfather was chairman of the math department at Loyola University and his father taught sociology at Truman College. Two of Kotowksi’s brothers also teach at Loyola Academy and Parkland College.
Teaching runs deep in my family. It was pretty clear to me early in life I was going to do something with math and science. In the classroom, I realize that each student has a different strength and a wide range of personalities and abilities. That’s why I’m always focusing on teamwork to enhance communication and critical thinking skills. I also stress to my students that it’s important to be able to think on their feet so they will be attractive to employers as leaders and managers.
Not too long ago, I left the classroom to become the dean of Mathematics and Technologies. Serving as a dean gave me perspective of what’s needed in higher education. However, I missed getting to know students and having fun with them so I returned to my true passion – teaching. In the classroom, there’s always an audience for my zany sense of humor.
I’d stand on my head if it helped my students understand something better. I care that much about student success. I take great pride from the feedback I receive from my evaluations and from comments on ratemyprofessor.com.
I enjoy keeping tabs on my former students. Students are a great resource. I’ll often invite former students to come back to tell my current students what it’s like to attend a four-year school or be out in the workforce. When students leave Oakton, I want them to have a social network and not feel like they are at a disadvantage when they transfer.