Lakeland University's Charlie Krebs, associate professor of theater and speech, is the 2019 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Krebs, who joined Lakeland's faculty in 2007, is Lakeland's 28th winner of the Underkofler, which recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching. The award was presented on April 24 at Lakeland's annual Honors Banquet.
Krebs has developed a reputation at Lakeland for being an inspiring teacher, one who encourages students to dig deeper in and out of the classroom to reach their full potential. He's also mentored a number of students outside the classroom.
In nominating Krebs for the Underkofler Award, students offered these thoughts:
- "He believes in you and knows you have what it takes to be great in this world. He is a tough teacher and challenges your thinking, and he does it because he cares. The lessons you learn in Charlie's classes are unforgettable."
- "He made my class so enjoyable. He brought so much energy and made me a better man and a better student. Charlie made me think critically and helped me with a conversation outside of class that impacted my life for the better because he cared for me as a student and as a person."
- "You cannot get away with being quiet in a Charlie class. You will have to discuss and collaborate with your classmates and in front of them while being graded. It will seem difficult and intimidating, but you will become stronger by the end of the semester."
- "When I took my first class with Charlie freshman year, I knew that he was one of those professors that I wanted to have a close relationship with. He is the reason my public speaking, acting and people skills have grown exponentially, and he is a professor that is always pushing me to keep doing better than the year before."
Krebs, who has directed dozens of plays and acted in more than a dozen around the nation, teaches acting, public speaking, interpersonal communication and orchestrates nearly all facets of Lakeland's theatre program. Krebs is an active member of the campus, having most recently brought the popular TEDx event to Lakeland and serving as emcee of the university's Movers & Shakers Gala.
An expert in the area of public speaking, He is a motivational speaker and CEO of Communication Arts, which focuses on training in business communications.
Krebs earned his master of fine arts in directing from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2000 after completing his master of arts in acting from the University of New Orleans in 1983 and his bachelor's in scenic and lighting design from the State University of New York in 1977.
Before joining Lakeland's faculty, Krebs served as a teacher and theater director at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan. He has also taught in Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The Underkofler Award is presented through the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc. The Underkofler Endowment Fund was created in honor of past Wisconsin Power & Light president and chairman James R. Underkofler to recognize his 48 years of service to the utility industry.