- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2003)
We can’t expect to learn anything if we don’t ask questions. Yet during class, many students are reluctant to raise their hands and reveal their confusion.
That’s why Iztok Hozo treats his students’ questions as golden opportunities. Comments from his students form a chorus of praise for his talents in many areas, such as his knowledge of the subject matter, his organization of materials, his class presentations and the fairness of his exams, but above all else, students laud him for the way he handles questions.
Giving his full attention to questions is, of course, only one aspect of his approach to teaching. “As a teacher of mathematics, my job is twofold,” said Hozo, “to teach the subject matter of the course, and perhaps more important, to make students think and enjoy thinking.”
Hozo created a class, Mathematics in the Workplace, which is offered in the Swingshift College program for IU Northwest students who work at local steel mills. After observing Hozo in action, Cathy Iovanella, Swingshift College coordinator, said: “I was struck by the seemingly effortless and painless way Dr. Hozo engaged the students in the process of learning how to solve problems. Math, a word that strikes fear into many students’ hearts, became understandable and practical for most of the students in the class, and many were surprised to find they enjoyed the class. Dr. Hozo is an excellent teacher who has a talent for bringing out hidden abilities in students while dispelling the stereotypes that surround math classes. And he brings a sense of humor and reality to the classroom that adds another dimension to the subject.”
In addition to this class, Hozo created another course, Mathematics and Politics, which provides a view of mathematics in political and social contexts. Work outside the classroom includes developing two new bachelor of science majors at IUN, acting as co-director of a pre-calculus reform project, and taking a turn as leader of the Gary Youth Gifted and Talented Program for local middle school students.
Along the way, Hozo has accumulated an impressive array of awards, including the IUN Founders Day Award in 1997 (co-winner) and the Teaching Excellence Recognition Award on three occasions. He was elected to the university-wide Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching in 2000 and received the Board of Trustees Award in 2001.