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Outstanding College of Lake County sociology instructor honored with regional award

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 18, 2020

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) selected College of Lake County (CLC) sociology instructor John Tenuto as the recipient of the 2020 Central Regional Faculty Member Award. ACCT’s regional awards recognize the tremendous contributions made by community colleges and their leaders to meet the needs of their communities.

John TenutoAbout to start his 23rd year teaching sociology this fall, Tenuto is a passionate and authentic educator who believes his students learn best when they personally connect with the lesson and apply it to their own lives. He reads each classroom differently, using familiar popular culture references to drive class discussions and debates. It makes complex concepts familiar and friendly.

“Learning is supposed to be fun,” Tenuto said. “Somewhere along the way, that fun is sometimes lost as education progresses. My classes are designed to be a little bit of entertainment and little bit of information.”

And since he’s been nominated for teacher of the year repeatedly, his students obviously agree – learning is fun in his classes.

"Tenuto is an A-1 Professor,” said student Le’Andres Callahan. The concepts he explains in class are easy to follow and he makes sure each student understands. He works with each student individually and he helped me understand the full, true meaning of sociology. I love taking any classes he teaches.”

Tenuto is dedicated to removing barriers for students. “I make textbooks free, ensure workload is reasonable and realize every student has a different reason to take my classes,” he said. “The key is knowing who your students are and recognizing their goals.”

Tenuto also takes seriously his ability to hide any religious, political or social ideologies so he doesn't isolate students. He believes students feel uncomfortable when teachers show their preferences and says he never wants to put something outside his office door that makes a student not want to come and talk to him.

Very thankful for his award and the opportunity to elevate CLC faculty recognition, Tenuto is conscious that students attend his classes to learn about sociology, not about him. He feels as grateful for the nomination as earning the award because it indicates his teaching resonated enough to make a difference in at least one student's life this year.

“There’s no doubt there are better teachers than I at CLC,” he says humbly. “I got lucky this year.”

"Community colleges and their leaders have been vital to our country's educational infrastructure and our workforce for over a century," said ACCT Chair and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Trustee Dawn Erlandson. "This year, perhaps more than ever before, community college leaders have proved themselves to be essential community service providers and educators in the face of unprecedented challenges and adversity."

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.