Submitted by McHenry County College
Julie Freelove, department chair of Business Programs, was selected as McHenry County College's nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association 2012 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty member award. She was honored for her accomplishments, along with other instructors throughout the state, at the ICCTA annual awards banquet in Normal, Ill. on June 1.
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Freelove has been teaching skills-based technology classes for almost 20 years, with 12 of those years at McHenry County College. She currently teaches administrative office management courses, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software and administrative office procedures. She also has taught medical and legal transcription and keyboarding in the past.
"Teaching is something that I enjoy doing and truly believe that it is my passion," Freelove said. "I enjoy teaching technology skills-based classes because these are the skills that everyone can use, regardless of their chosen career or major."
She helped develop curriculum for a new medical billing and coding certificate program, which will begin in the fall 2012 semester. In addition to serving on the college's Curriculum and Academic Policy Council for five years, including leading as vice-chair for two years, she has served on a variety of special committees.
Freelove describes her classes as a learner-centered environment where students are able to spend less time listening to lecture and more time participating in activities that give the hands-on experience.
"My students delve into problem-solving projects, team-building exercises, mock role playing, document creating, keyboard activities and games, and real-world simulated software application assignments," she said.
Freelove embraces change and tries new teaching ideas to help her students become successful in learning the skills needed for future endeavors. Because students have different styles of learning, she presents material in a variety of ways.
"The best way to become proficient in a skill is by having the opportunity to practice, ask questions and experiment to see what the outcome will be, whether it's an academic, soft or computer skill," Freelove said. "These real-life experiences can help students be more confident, proficient and efficient employees."
In addition to teaching, Freelove keeps up with new technology to ensure her experience aligns with the skills and knowledge that employers seek in potential employees. She also is an active member of the MCC Integrated Career and Academic Prep System grant program for the Administrative Office Skills certificate.
Bev Dow, Ph.D., MCC biology instructor, expressed her appreciation for Freelove.
"Julie has a keen ability to see through distractors and tangential information to identify the major issues, and she is often able to suggest practical solutions to problems," Dow said. "Her intelligence and levelheaded common sense is a welcome addition to any group process."
Dow also took a word processing course from Freelove and said, " … through her patient and competent instruction, I was soon mastering functions that I had not even known existed," Dow said.
"Julie is an excellent faculty member," said Tony Miksa, Ed.D., vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. "She constantly goes above and beyond to contribute to the educational atmosphere at the college. Her recent involvement in creating a new certificate in medical billing and coding will help students each semester train for a new career and enter the workforce quickly."
Freelove earned a master's degree from Webster University and a bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University.