About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

For years, Bloom’s Taxonomy has been near the top of the list of college teaching advice. Recently, I wrote another article on this subject.

Note: Before you spend more than $100 on a used copy of Bloom’s original book, I encourage you to purchase Steven Banks’s book: ..... (read more)

Student Evaluations

Make Sure Your Evaluations Aren’t “Evil-uations”

Does this apply to you?

To many (most?) college instructors, “student evals” are a once-a-term event that prompts a bit of anxiety and not much more. Your students complete them, they are sent in a sealed envelope to someone at your college who reviews them, and later you receive the results. The moment arrives. Drum roll!!! With fear and trepidation, you open the envelope. There are the ratings and comments from students. They are good, bad or indifferent. You close the envelope, file it (possibly in the circular file), and you move on. That is, you move on unless they were really bad. ..... (read more)

A New Way of Looking at Students

I doubt you ever thought of students this way before.

Terms like raw material, assembly line worker, quality control inspector, product, and customer mean something to most of us. Just to be sure we are on a level playing field, I will put these in the context of a clothing manufacturer. Raw materials include the fabric used to make pants. Pieces of fabric are cut to shape and sewn together by an assembly line worker known as a seamstress to make the product, a pair of pants. A quality control inspector checks to make sure the product meets certain standards, for example the quantity of legs. Assuring there are two legs, the inspector puts a little slip of paper in the pocket that reads, “Inspected by No, 7.” Now, if there are fewer than two legs or there are no pockets, I am not sure what the inspector does. But, somehow, the pants make it to the store where I, the customer, shop. Unfortunately, I don’t realize the problem until I get them home and have no place to put my left leg. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?) ..... (read more)

Do I Need to Spoon Feed Them?

No, but you do need to help them learn.

A common complaint I hear from students is that their teacher doesn’t explain things well. It may be that the instructor actually explains things extremely well. However, students learn by more than hearing. They want to see how problems are solved, and they need practice solving problems themselves. These represent the three primary ways in which students (or anyone, you and me included) learn. Read on. ..... (read more)

Do Boy Scouts Make the Best Instructors?

Maybe so, because we know they will always be prepared.

( Note: If you use equipment of any kind when you teach, pay close attention to Item 6. )

The Boy Scout motto, everyone knows it. “Be Prepared.” There is no better advice of a college instructor. I want to couple this with the old Head & Shoulders tag line from half a century ago. “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” ..... (read more)

Is It Wrong to Grade on Class Participation?

No, not unless you do it like a former adjunct of mine.

He was a motivated and passionate instructor who had retired from a successful career in industry and was now teaching college science courses on a part-time basis. What he did, or actually what he didn’t do, led to hours of my time to sort through and rule on a formal grade appeal lodged by one of his students. This occurred because the instructor counted class participation for 15 percent of the final grade, but he neither defined what constituted class participation nor gave students feedback on their participation. ..... (read more)

Teaching Success Secrets

Do You Have the Personality to Succeed as an Instructor?

I found this presentation ( – – – open this post to see the presentation – – – ) on a website entitled SUCCESS 360. On slide 12 the author, Vadim Kotelnikov, suggests that one’s knowledge accounts for just 15 percent of that person’s financial success. Personality, he contends, is responsibility for the other 85 percent. ..... (read more)