December 5, 2005
Kent Wyatt Hall
Dear Dr. Thornell:
I am writing in support of Dr.
As a teacher, Jim is known for his enthusiasm, his eagerness to try a variety of methods to reach his students, and his willingness to share his expertise with all of us.†† The Rassias strategy that he uses with his French classes is one that particularly interests me.† Several years ago Jim agreed to let a student in one of my upper division English classes videotape him using this method.† The tape became an effective part of the student's oral presentation on teaching strategies.† When I taught a World Literature course, Jim willingly came to guest lecture on the French symbolist poets.
Perhaps Jim as teacher is explained best in an essay
that one of his students wrote in our Writing Proficiency Examination.† This student was preparing to be a teacher
after graduation.† He writes of Dr. Tomek
that "teaching is not what he does; it's how he lives and how he feels
about living."† The student goes on
to say that he "began taking French because my advisor said it would 'look
good' on my English/Spanish major transcript," but that Dr. Tomek
"has taken my indifferent attitude toward French and transformed it into a
Jim has a deep interest in connectedness in the curriculum and enjoys teaching in areas other than French.† Each semester he teaches either a sophomore Introduction to Literature genre course on the novel and the short story or one on drama and poetry.† He also teaches a course in literary criticism which focuses on French film and was one of the lecturers in a special Psychology and Literature course. He is supportive of university activities of all disciplines.† One sees Jim at science seminars, music concerts, literary readings, play productions, art exhibit openings, anywhere on campus where students and faculty are engaged in learning.
As a teacher and a scholar, Jim is a valuable part of
our academic community here at
Division of Languages & Literature