Faculty members, academic professionals retire
Between Sept. 1, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2007, 109 faculty members and academic professionals retired from the UI, according to the Office of Academic Human Resources.
About one week after Elbert Gentry retired May 30 from his position as a senior management methods analyst, he and his wife, Barbara, went to explore Ireland. After spending several days becoming acquainted with some of Barbara’s relatives whom they’d never met, the Gentrys were on the road to take in the landscapes and seascapes of the Emerald Isle. Gentry kept a journal of their adventures on his laptop computer and snapped 700 pictures, which, months later, he is still trying to organize.
Over the summer, the Gentrys spent about another month at a vacation property they own in Ft. Myers, Fla., and have been making the rounds visiting some of their six children and 10 grandchildren who live in Minneapolis and Chillicothe and Monticello, Ill. Their newest grandson was born Oct. 4, so another trip to Minneapolis will be in order soon so the proud grandparents can meet him.
Even after logging all those air and highway miles, Gentry wants to do more traveling, and said he and Barbara may go to Florida again after Christmas. Barbara, who is an emeritus professor at Parkland College, still teaches math and computer science classes at the college, although she plans to fully retire next year.
When they’ve been home, the Gentrys have rolled up their sleeves for a variety of home repair and renovation projects, some at their own house in White Heath – where they installed a fence around their pool – and others at the house that Barbara’s late mother owned in Lincoln, where they added two sets of exterior stairs, a deck, did some painting and other work. They are refurbishing the house in Lincoln in preparation for putting it on the market.
Despite all those projects, Gentry said he has a backlog of projects that didn’t get done over the years that will keep him busy into the foreseeable future. “More than I have time to do,” Gentry said. “I don’t know how I had time to work when I was working.”
Gentry earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carthage College, and was a member of the college’s final graduating class at its Illinois campus before the college relocated from Carthage to Kenosha, Wis.
Gentry began his career at the UI as an analyst in the Office of School and College Relations, which later became the University Office of Academic Policy Analysis. Several years ago, the office merged with the Office of Planning and Budgeting, and Gentry was promoted to a senior management methods analyst, the rank that he held until his retirement.
During his 20-year career, Gentry worked on many state and federal reports, including a number of statewide reports, such as the High School Feedback Report, a compilation of data about high schools around the state.
Gentry also participated in the creation of the Teacher Data Warehouse for the state of Illinois, a series of reports used by collegiate institutions in Illinois that train teachers and the Illinois Board of Higher Education to track teachers after they’ve earned their degrees.
For a period of time, Gentry also helped run the President’s Award Program, a universitywide initiative that honors and provides support services for high-achieving students. In addition to organizing the honorary luncheon, Gentry did the data analysis to determine which students qualified for the program.
“I really enjoyed the work, especially the computer programming,” Gentry said about his multifaceted job. “It was varied and interesting. I worked with a lot of different people at the university and from the 57 institutions that participated with the Teacher Data Warehouse that I probably never would have met otherwise. When the university used RAMOS programming, I was probably one of the experts on campus.”
Even though he enjoyed his work, Gentry said he was looking forward to retirement.
Gentry is a past secretary of the Illinois Association for Institutional Researchers and has applied for emeritus status in the association.
As a professor of history, of medieval studies and of educational policy studies, Sharon Michalove helped students understand the world through the exploration of exotic locales such as the North Pole, if only vicariously. And since Michalove retired Dec. 1, 2006, as the associate director of undergraduate studies in history, she has continued to broaden students’ horizons by leading group trips to Istanbul and Venice.
In the spring, Michalove will be launching yet another expedition with a different generation of scholars when she teaches a shortened form of her polar exploration course to older adults through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.
Michalove continues to explore the world on her own too. In March, she and her husband, Peter, who retired in 2006 as business manager for the Foreign Languages Building, will travel to Morocco. During their 16-day excursion, sponsored by the Road Scholar educational travel organization, they will explore the country’s Islamic and Jewish cultures and communities, and spend nights in a Kasbah, a Moorish palace and a tent in the Sahara Desert. “We’ll see how well my husband copes with that!” Michalove said with a laugh.
“I’m one of these restless people,” Michalove said. “Students complain that faculty teach the same things over and over and get really stale. I changed my courses every time, which meant I was constantly preparing new stuff, picking new books. It was more interesting for me and the students.”
One of Michalove’s methods for getting students in her medieval travel course to explore campus resources – while building skills in historical analysis – was a treasure hunt she created that required students to venture into unfamiliar territories such as the Music Library, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the stacks in the University Library in search of information, and then write about the experience. The course, one in a series of courses under the rubric of “Introduction to Historical Interpretation” in the department of history, became a requirement for all history students.
“And the students always complained that it was time-consuming and difficult, but at the end of the course when I asked them what they had found their most valuable experience to be, it was always the library project because it helped them in classes that they took all over campus. And it forced them to go into libraries that they hadn’t been in before, that they wouldn’t think of going to,” Michalove said.
During Michalove’s 22-year career with the UI, her appointments included academic adviser in the department of history for 16 years, library clerk in the Commerce Library, and editorial positions in the College of Engineering and the Soybean Insect Research Information Center, where she did cataloging while pursuing a master’s degree in library science. Michalove also holds a doctorate in the history of education, a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in the teaching of social studies, all from Illinois. Her research focuses on medieval education, particularly women’s education, and court culture and cultural exchange.
In honor of Michalove’s avid support of experiential learning, her colleagues in the department of history donated money to help establish a fund for history majors who want to study abroad.
Since taking up cycling last year, Michalove has logged more than 2,900 miles on her bikes, including a Trek Pilot that she received as a retirement present. Michalove, who is a member of and publishes the newsletter for the Prairie Cycle Club, spent four days in October at a women’s cycling camp learning new skills and testing her stamina on the mountainous terrain around Asheville, N.C.
Two days a week Michalove volunteers at Illinois Radio Reader, reading a book of her choice for an hour on Wednesdays and reading the news for half an hour on Thursdays. She’s currently reading her third book, “The Renaissance: A Short History,” by Paul Johnson, for the service.
“I have a stack of about 10 books that I’ve picked out that will more than get me through the year. I really enjoy reading out loud, and it’s a great service,” Michalove said.
Michalove also plans to continue volunteering for WILL’s radio and television fund drives, as she has been doing for the past 20 years or so.
Another of her passions is knitting, especially knitting socks. “My husband says I have enough yarn to last well past my death,” Michalove said. “I probably have enough yarn to knit socks for several hundred people.”
News Bureau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
507 E. Green St., Suite 345, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Telephone 217 333-1085, Fax 217 244-0161