Published on June 16, 2023
John A. Logan College Communication Instructor Pat Idzik has only been at the College for a few years, but he has made a lasting impact on his students and fellow faculty members. Idzik was named the 2023 Outstanding Full-time Faculty Member by his peers and was recently recognized by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association at their June meeting in Bloomington.
The Chicago native is a first-generation American and community college graduate who has taught since 2017 and at John A. Logan College for the past two years. He is the son of Immigrants from Soviet Poland who came to America for a better life. Idzik grew up around his family’s Machine Tooling business, even helping design a cutter used by Clyde’s Donuts in Addison, Illinois, that was featured at McDonald’s. Like many of his students, Idzik left that career to pursue his passion for teaching. He has worked as a divorce mediator and adjunct instructor at the College of DuPage.
He left the family business because he felt his calling was to teach and that helping people see the importance of all aspects of communication was his passion.
“When you think about speech, most people think of it as standing at a podium and giving an address, but this discipline is massive, and it spans a million different things,” said Idzik. “The things that drew me to communication was studying people, like how to tell if they are lying, not by their speech, but by their facial movements and actions that is what drew me to studying and teaching communications, and that is what I try to share with my students.”
Idzik knows that most students fear public speaking, so he tries to show his students all sides of the communication process.
“Communication doesn’t always mean you are boisterous in front of many people. It means that you understand the people around you, and once students understand that, they can see the importance of this discipline.”
To help his students understand the importance of communication, he has offered several research projects to help students engage. The research projects have been successful, and students who have participated have presented and turned papers in at regional and national conferences covering various topics, from healthcare and social media to social psychology.
“I think engaged students do much better, and that is why we do the research,” said Idzik. “When you see numbers and information that tells you about your community, it has a bigger impact than just some word problem out of a textbook.”
The Outstanding Full-Time Faculty award is the third teaching recognition for Idzik in less than two years. An honor that he does not take lightly.
“This feels fantastic to get this recognition early in my career,” said Idzik. “I absolutely love it here in southern Illinois, and the family-like atmosphere at JALC, along with the small class sizes, is different than what I experienced in Chicago. I am so happy to be at John A. Logan, and being recognized by our outstanding faculty is incredible.”
John A. Logan College President Dr. Kirk Overstreet is excited to watch Idzik’s career take off.
“To win this award so early in his career is remarkable but not surprising,” said Overstreet. “Pat’s students are engaged, and he turns a subject matter that many students fear into something fun that makes them better overall students.”
Idzik has no plans to rest on his laurels. This fall, he plans to begin forming a competitive speech team at the College that will compete regionally and nationally while offering his students more opportunities to research.
The playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Fortunately, John A. Logan College students can learn the art of communication from one of the best and brightest in the field, and that is no illusion.