November 28, 2008


To Whom It May Concern:


I am writing in support of Dr. James Tomek. I have known Dr. Tomek for approximately fifteen years. He is highly respected by students and faculty at Delta State University.


Dr. Tomek is a scholar and teacher who truly thinks and acts in an interdisciplinary way. He has a unique perspective because of his background in literature, poetry, French language and culture, film, theology, and the arts.


Dr. Tomek is a scholar and master teacher. He seeks to look beyond the surface of a topic and address its deeper issues. As a colleague, he challenges me to be a better teacher and a more active scholar. He challenges both students and colleagues to join him in the search for truth and meaning.


Many students have commented to me that Dr. Tomek is "a different kind of teacher" who has opened their eyes to analyzing words, phrases, and ideas that are commonly taken for granted in our culture. He focuses on teaching students to communicate and think through the development of critical reading and writing skills. Students find him to be a challenging teacher who makes them work hard for their grade, but they also find him to be fair and compassionate and always willing to spend extra time helping those who truly wish to learn.  Personally, I have had the opportunity to study French with Dr. Tomek, and was enlightened and educated not only in French language and culture, but also in the realm of thinking and learning. I came away from the experience with much that could be applied to my own discipline.


Dr. Tomek began studying piano nine years ago.  During this time he has mastered and performed many piano works, including sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, contrapuntal pieces of JS Bach, and works by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, and Prokofiev.  He has a very keen sense of musicality and of what works on stage.  He can relate his experience as a teacher and scholar of languages to the musical idiom and help others to connect musical ideas in a more natural and logical way. Because of that, my piano students value his critical input on their performances and he is someone from whom I always seek advice when I am preparing for my own solo recitals.


Dr. Tomek is active in the sharing of ideas in the Delta State community and throughout the region through his poetry, papers, and lectures on a variety of topics. Several years ago, Dr. Tomek gave a very interesting presentation on Proust and musical memory to Delta State music students. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with him on several projects combining music with poetry, French language and literature.


Dr. Tomek is a fine educator, scholar, and colleague. I give him the highest recommendation.




Karen Fosheim 

Professor of Music

Delta State University