Lakeland University Blog

Lakeland names top teacher for 2020

Lakeland names top teacher for 2020


Lakeland names top teacher for 2020

Lakeland University’s Monique Brickham, assistant professor of graphic design, is the 2020 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Brickham, who joined Lakeland’s faculty in 2016, is Lakeland’s 29th winner of the Underkofler, which recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching.

Brickham has developed a reputation at Lakeland for being an innovative, rigorous teacher who challenges her students while creating an open and accepting classroom environment. She was also lauded for being available to her students to address a wide range of needs, often outside of traditional work hours.

In nominating Brickham for the Underkofler Award, students offered these thoughts:

  • “It takes a good professor to put in extra office hours for their students, but it takes an incredible professor to be there for students when we are texting at two in the morning. She continually goes above and beyond for her students.”
  • “She has pushed me beyond my limits as a designer and person and never failed to keep me on my toes, and for that I am truly blessed.”
  • “Monique is one of the main reasons that I chose to come to Lakeland. On my second visit I was able to meet with her and instantly I knew I liked her. She is so enthusiastic about graphic design that it makes me more passionate about all my studies.”
  • “Monique has taught me way more than just graphic design techniques. She has opened up students to a whole new world. She makes sure everyone is as involved as they can be and makes sure everyone has a voice.”
  • “Her involvement with local businesses and non-profits goes above and beyond what professional development entails. Her concepts and passion for design thinking have elevated students and non-students alike, be it in their co-op experiences, her interns or community members looking for that little piece of knowledge to help bring their ideas to fruition.”

Many of Brickham’s class projects require students to interact with off-campus clients to replicate real-world settings that prepares them for post-graduation success.

As one example, her students developed marketing materials for local non-profit organizations. Under Brickham’s guidance, the students met regularly with members of the agencies to assess their needs, discuss and set goals and review drafts of logos, fonts and brochures.

After months of work, the students presented their results at a public forum, which included representatives from the agencies. It allowed the students to create materials that none of these organizations would have been able to afford.

Brickham led the creation of Lakeland’s graphic design major as a standalone program. She has also been instrumental in the redesign of the Mac lab and she has chaired the Program Development Committee.

She came to Lakeland as both a graphic design practitioner and teacher, with, at the time, more than a decade of experience in the industry, including serving as graphic designer at Lawrence University and working in freelance roles.

She has a master of fine arts in graphic design from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a bachelor’s in communication and the arts with a graphic design emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and web design and development certificates from Fox Valley Technical College.

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.