The Rotary Club of Beloit has named Brian Duckwitz its Teacher of the Month for December.
Duckwitz has been an educator for 18 years, the last 16 years at UW-Whitewater of Rock County. He teaches English as well as fencing in Health and Exercise Science.
As part of his professional growth, Duckwitz has developed several new English Literature courses, including an award-winning course that involved an interdisciplinary collaboration between the English Department and the Health and Exercise Science Department. This course, titled "Is the Pen Mightier Than the Sword?," involved students taking a literature course, the fencing course, and a linking seminar to find connections between the disciplines. In addition, he has created a Science Fiction Literature course.
Duckwitz has served the Rock County campus as a club advisor for Altered Reality, the science-fiction and fantasy club, and the Sabre Rattlers Fencing Club.
During the last two years, Duckwitz has been actively involved in the campus' restructuring process with UW-Whitewater as a representative of instructional academic staff. He has served on the Steering Committee at UW-Rock County, and now UW-W at Rock County, for the last three years. During restructuring, he lead the Bylaws Committee. Over the 2018-19 academic year, he served as the Steering Chair for the campus.
Duckwitz is an active professional member of USA Fencing, the Olympic Governing Body of fencing in the United States. In the past, he served as the secretary for the Wisconsin Division of USA Fencing and is currently on the Executive Committee of the division.
When teaching, Duck-witz almost never lectures a class in the traditional model; instead, focusing on hands-on, active learning strategies. As an occasional freelance writer, he works to bring examples to the class of real-world application of the strategies and guidelines he gives his students. They spend time thinking analytically about the choices authors make in their writing. Duckwitz looks on in-class peer-review sessions as vital to student success, believeing they teach students how to give and receive feedback and gain insights into their own work.
It is his love for the collaborative nature of working with students that drew Duckwitz to becoming a teacher. He feels he has learned something during every class discussion and enjoys watching the progress students make from first encountering a new idea until they incorporate it with skill.