Dr. Timothy Kloberdanz Receives "Outstanding Teacher" Award"Dr. Timothy Kloberdanz Receives "Outstanding Teacher" Award." American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Newsletter, no. 112: 1, Spring 2004.
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, who teaches Anthropology and Folklore
at North Dakota State
University, was named the 2003 "Outstanding Teacher" in the College of Arts, Humanities
& Social Sciences. Dr. Kloberdanz was presented the award at a special luncheon attended
by administrators, colleagues, and students.
Dr. Kloberdanz has taught at North Dakota State University since
1976 and has developed
more than fifteen courses. During his teaching career, it is estimated that he has instructed
more than 8,000 students. Among the many classes that he has taught is a popular "Germans
from Russia" course that has been regularly offered at NDSU since the 1970s.
The enthusiasm of Dr. Kloberdanz's students is reflected in many
positive responses to his
teaching philosophy and style. "Fantastic instructor!" one student wrote. "Dr.Kloberdanz is
truly the `Teacher's Teacher.' So knowledgeable. He treated us as equals and didn't look
down on us. Terrific role model." Another student wrote, after taking one of Dr.
Kloberdanz's classes, "This was one of the best courses I've ever taken. The instructor is a
storehouse of knowledge! This course helped me to discover things about myself."
A German©Russian woman who worked as an elementary school
principal commented: "Dr.
Kloberdanz's enthusiasm for his work is contagious. Our son sought him out as a student at
NDSU, and I, too, was fortunate enough to be a student of his in a valuable multicultural
workshop that greatly expanded my understanding...If ever there was an instructor who
exemplifies the `ripple effect' in education, it is Dr. Kloberdanz." This educator went on to
describe how her daughter earned a Masters degree while taking classes from Dr.
Kloberdanz, and the daughter later became active in a chapter of AHSGR.
Dr. Kloberdanz is a long©time member of AHSGR and first joined
the Society shortly after
its inception. He served for many years on the AHSGR Board of Directors and the Board of
Trustees. He also has given dozens of presentations at AHSGR chapter meetings and the
annual conventions. In 1999, at the AHSGR Convention in Casper, Wyoming, Dr.
Kloberdanz was presented the Society's "Distinguished Service Award."
Despite his many awards and accomplishments as a teacher, Dr. Kloberdanz
maintains he is
still "a student at heart." He writes: "Ours is a world filled with many unexplored and
unsolved mysteries. We humans are like curious children, ever struggling to understand the
world around us. But we will not really mature until we realize how much people of diverse
backgrounds share in common. That realization is a frontier still to be mapped and still to be
explored."Ô Š& 0*W(W(° ° ÔŒ™Even in his "Germans from Russia" class, Dr. Kloberdanz continually compares the Germans
from Russia to other ethnic groups. Towards the end of his fifteen©week "Germans fromRussia" course, he and the students hold a "Schmeckfest" Äand prepare and share a variety of
German©Russian dishes. "It's a great way to end the class," Dr. Kloberdanz explains. "But
more importantly, it is a way for the students to realize that German©Russian foodways
mirror the influences of many, many different cultures: German, Jewish, Russian, Ukrainian,
Polish, Moldavian, Rumanian, Kazakh, Tatar, Uzbek. The list goes on and on. Even
something like sauerkraut owes its influence to Asia, most likely to the Chinese. And
realizations like these are quite eye©opening to the students. Human beings are great
borrowers and that's one of the many reasons we all share so much in common."
Due to his reputation as being a demanding teacher, Dr. Kloberdanz
is almost always
addressed as "Doctor Kloberdanz" by his students. But many in AHSGR know him as "Dr.
Tim." It is a nickname given him many years ago by the late Arnold Marzolf, a GermanªRussian writer and a fellow professor at NDSU. Dr. Kloberdanz's eyes light up and he
smiles whenever he hears the familiar nickname. He does not seem to mind one bit.
So Congratulations, "Dr. Tim"!
Reprinted with permission of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska