Dr. Megan Foster-Campbell
ICC Class of 1994 (Associate of Arts and Sciences)
Transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, – Bachelor’s in Art History
Professor, Art History at Illinois Central College
Tell us about the career path that led you to your current job:
Having already completed my M.A. in art history, I was just completing my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Illinois when the opportunity presented itself to teach at Illinois Central College. I was thrilled to return to my first alma mater.
How did ICC shape your future or help you attain your professional goals?
My studies at ICC instilled in me with strong study and work ethics. I quickly recognized that my coursework at ICC was more demanding than past high school studies. If I wanted to successfully learn the course content and earn good grades, I needed to focus and work harder. The study discipline I learned during my years at ICC benefited me throughout my undergraduate and graduate education. My ICC professors also provided different learning perspectives and teaching methodologies. Each instructor taught in a distinct manner; in turn, these diverse modes of teaching provided me with varied ways of learning, which I still use today even as an instructor.
All ICC instructors had one thing in common: the passion and enthusiasm for the material that they taught. And more often than not, that enthusiasm was passed on to me. My ICC courses also expanded my horizons. If you had told “student me” that ICC classes in art history and the humanities eventually would lead me to archival research in France, England, Belgium, Austria, and The Netherlands, I would not have believed it. The course content from my ICC classes opened my eyes to history and visual culture beyond my rural hometown.
What does it mean to you to be able to teach at ICC and educate future ICC alumni:
I feel as though I have come full circle. It means so much to return to the college that started me on this academic career, to be teaching the same courses (and even in the same classroom!) where I started my journey as a college student. If I can start our students on a similar journey of curiosity and exploration in this field, expanding their own horizons, then hopefully I am passing on the torch.
What advice would you give current students at ICC to succeed:
Use our school resources, whether it is the library, the Studio, etc. Talk with your advisor regularly. Remember that there are scholarship opportunities if you are struggling financially. Do not be afraid to talk with your instructors if you have questions about anything related to the class. We were all once college students; we know that at times you might feel confused, stressed, even overwhelmed. We want to help you. We want you to succeed in our classes. Pace yourself and plan ahead. Work on those big class assignments and projects a little bit at a time, rather than waiting until the last minute to get started. One bite at a time! Participate in activities. Join a student organization. Go to a sporting event. Attend a talk or presentation. There is much to do at ICC beyond just attending classes–get involved! If nothing else, when you go to class, put away your phone and strike up a conversation with your classmate before or after class. Form a study group or a course chat group. Life-long friendships are just waiting to happen in the classrooms and hallways of ICC.
Maintain that grit and perseverance. There will be times during the semester when things are stressful when it’s “crunch time.’ You will be tired, frustrated, and stressed. Keep going. Finish the marathon; you’ve come so far. When each semester is over, and when your degree or certificate is awarded, celebrate and be proud of what you accomplished, because you worked hard, and you definitely earned it. Maintain that open-minded curiosity for learning. Don’t go into a class thinking, “I have to take this class and I’m not sure I want to be here!” Instead, go into each class excited about the possibility of learning something new each day, realizing that you will know more today than you did yesterday. And make that a life-long habit beyond your educational experience at ICC.