Teacher of the Week - Markus Crepaz
Markus M.L. Crepaz
Department Head and Professor, School of Public and International Affairs
“A successful teacher is one who can make students want to learn – the rest is easy!”
The Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes Markus M.L. Crepaz as CTL Teacher of the Week. Crepaz is Department Head and Professor in the Department of International Affairs in the School of Public & International Affairs
As a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, Dr. Markus Crepaz’s areas of expertise are as wide ranging as the countries to which his studies have taken him. From in-depth examinations of the welfare state to environmental politics, he draws on his experiences in places like Iceland, Zimbabwe and Taiwan to provide his students with a personal perspective on global issues. This firsthand experience plays an integral part in a teaching philosophy that emphasizes the importance of active student engagement. In witnessing Dr. Crepaz’s personal investment and deep knowledge of these places and issues, his students are inspired to become actively engaged in the learning process.
Dr. Crepaz understands that he cannot simply hand over information and knowledge to students passively sitting in a classroom, nor can he hand them the spark that will ignite their curiosity and attention. This drive to learn can only come from within and as such, he does everything in his power to help students find it within themselves. The methods at his disposal are many. Through role play activities and simulated scenarios, he encourages the students to put themselves inside of the subject they are learning. By exposing students to film and literature pertaining to international issues, he seeks to have them identify with the characters involved and thus become emotionally invested in the issues. On an annual study abroad trip to Stellenbosch, South Africa, Crepaz leads discussions about economic development which are contextualized against a daily backdrop of service-learning in an impoverished township. All of these methods serve to bring students into the subject they are studying, awakening their natural curiosity and desire to learn.
In Dr. Crepaz’s estimation, his most effective tool for putting students into the learning mindset is his own natural enthusiasm. The energy and passion which he brings to the teaching of international affairs conveys to his students that the subject is important and worth their full engagement. Sarah Henning, a student who experienced Dr. Crepaz’ leadership and teaching during the study abroad trip to South Africa, found this to be true, saying “Professor Crepaz’s best attribute is his ability to use his thoughtful understanding and immense passions to inspire his students to be passionate themselves.” Crepaz agrees, adding that once this step is achieved, “the rest is easy!”
See Crepaz’s departmental profile: http://spia.uga.edu/faculty-member/markus-m-l-crepaz