Kendall Center Provides Resources for Lifelong Learning

Posted on September 27th, 2012 by

Margaret Bloch Qazi is the Director of the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning.

The best teachers tend to be the passionate ones, those who understand that learning is a lifelong pursuit, not something that ends as soon as they start decorating their faculty offices.

The best colleges, in turn, know how to foster and encourage that passion throughout a teacher’s career, enriching not only the instructor but also the students in their labs, classrooms, stages, or any area where learning happens with the newest information, the freshest ideas, and the excitement of discovery.

Such is the mission of the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning. The Kendall Center funds some types of faculty scholarship, provides workshops to improve teaching, sponsors forums for teachers to share their work with colleagues, and encourages faculty and student collaboration on projects and research.

“It’s important that faculty have opportunities to further their education, to interact with other educators from across the world, and to ultimately return to Gustavus with new ideas, concepts, and strategies,” says Aaron Banks, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and recipient of a Kendall Center-supported research grant. During the summer of 2011, Banks attended a San Diego program that provided physical education specialists and classroom teachers with best practices and the most recent research available.

“I was able to implement many of the ideas and concepts I had learned at the Institute,” Banks says. “Not only has my teaching improved but [so has] the learning experience and opportunity of students within my courses.”

Named after the former Gustavus president and beloved psychology professor, the Reverend Dr. John S. Kendall, the Kendall Center embodies the late instructor’s restless and joyous pursuit of continuous learning and collaboration.

“It’s a wonderfully concrete way of continuing John’s most loved aspect of being a teacher,” says Kendall’s wife, Joanne Kendall, whose family established the Kendall Family Endowment to support a portion of the Center’s work through presidential research grants. “John especially enjoyed always being able to explore new questions and share the stimulation of being involved in research with students. Through this endowment many more student generations and faculty members will share the excitement of research within and across disciplines.”

It was John Kendall’s enthusiasm and vision that motivated the Kendall family to support the Center through the endowment.

“My motivation and that of three generations of Kendalls comes from our having watched John delight in his work and share that delight with his family,” says Joanne.

Aaron Banks (far left), Associate Professor of Health and Exercise Science, is just one faculty member at Gustavus who has benefited from the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning.

Endowed funds have allowed the Kendall Center to support several opportunities for faculty development, including workshops throughout the year, curriculum development grants, “mini-grants” to support instructional development and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grants.

“Such activities contribute to improved student learning at Gustavus,” says Kendall Center director Margaret Bloch Qazi, “and help showcase the intelligent, effective, and impactful work faculty at Gustavus do with their students.” Bloch Qazi notes that funds are limited, making the Kendall Center a prime giving opportunity for Campaign Gustavus.

“I work with an incredible group of colleagues who exhibit high expectations for their teaching and scholarship as well as for student learning,” Bloch Qazi says. “They are intelligent, creative, inspired, dedicated, and compassionate. I have learned a great deal about how to be a more effective educator by working with them.”

To learn more about the Kendall Center and the scholarly achievements of Gustavus faculty visit

Campaign Gustavus is the College’s $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign that will help transform the recommendations of Commission Gustavus 150 into reality. Your gift to the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning will help the College provide lifelong educational opportunities for our world-class faculty. You can give today by going online to


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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