Associate Professor of Educational Studies
At Knox Since: 2006
Jason Helfer joined the Knox faculty in educational studies in 2006.
He also serves as co-chair of the educational studies department.
His teaching areas include philosophy of education, ethnography and the
development of teaching identity. Among his publications is "Identifying Gifted Students: Educator Beliefs Regarding Various Policies, Processes, and Procedures," co-authored with Stephen Schroth, assistant professor of educational studies at Knox, and published recently in "Journal for the Education of the Gifted." A graduate of Millikin University, Helfer earned M.Mus. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I was made aware of Knox in the early 90's. The best man when Jen and I were married is Tim Heimann's oldest son, Kerry. Then, while in graduate school, I was completing a seminar and there was a young women who was (is) a fantastic thinker and exceptionally articulate. During a break, I went up to her and asked her where she completed her undergraduate degree. Without looking at her shoes, she said "Knox College." She also told me a number of things about the strong teaching and learning environments at Knox. Sadly, I do not recall her name, but I do know she was a philosophy major. After meeting someone with that level of engagement, I looked into Knox a bit and decided that if a job ever opened up, I would apply for it.
What is your most memorable moment at Knox?
Every year I enjoy the College 4 Kids program. Stephen Schroth and I begin preparing for the program in December of each year. The first day it is always special to see so many excited children, and, as the program progresses, the kids appear to stay excited! It is also neat when children and parents come up and ask when next year's catalog will be mailed.
Describe your current research/creative work. What is most interesting about this work?
Currently, Stephen Schroth and I are completing a series of studies on fine arts and gifted children, and teacher preparation with first generation and/or minority students. What is most interesting about these projects is who they feed off one another. That is, neither project stands alone; both assist us in thinking about what we do as teachers and scholars. Also, we are committed to preparing articles for teachers as they are the individuals who are working with children on a daily basis.
If you weren't a professor, you would be a . . . ?
An opera singer.
What is your favorite thing about Galesburg?
Jennifer and I enjoy the pace of life in Galesburg. It is slower than in places we had lived, and for us this is a very good thing.
What were the last three books you read?
1. The Voice of Liberal Learning - Michael Oakeshott
2. My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture - Susan Blum
3. The Sittaford Mystery - Agatha Christie
What did you do to celebrate receiving tenure?
Jen and I had an impromptu cookout (after the hailstorm).