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Opall named the 2020 Tomkovick award recipient

| Carrie Ottum

Dr. Brent Opall, assistant professor of management and marketing, is the recipient of the 2020 Chuck Tomkovick Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Kristy Lauver, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing, recognized Dr. Opall with a plaque and a monetary award at the department's fall virtual meeting.  

The Chuck Tomkovick Teaching Excellence Award is named for Dr. Charles Tomkovick, a UW-Eau Claire marketing professor who passed away from cancer in July 2013. Recipients of the teaching award demonstrate a passion for teaching, connection to alumni, and a commitment to servant leadership, all qualities Dr. Tomkovick possessed. 

Carrie Ottum, Outreach Program Manager, spoke with Dr. Opall about receiving the award. 

CO: First off, congratulations on receiving the 2020 Chuck Tomkovick Teaching Excellence Award. What does it mean to receive this award? 
BO: It means a great deal. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to know Chuck, but I've often heard colleagues talk about his exceptional teaching ability. I'm humbled to be recognized by this award in his honor.  

CO: Recipients of the teaching award demonstrate a passion for teaching, connection to alumni, and a commitment to servant leadership-all qualities Dr. Tomkovick possessed. How do you demonstrate these qualities? 
BO: I endeavor to make my classes engaging, interesting, and rigorous, My goal is to have students learn a great deal yet enjoy the experience. I do so by providing students with the opportunity to apply what we are studying, interact with content and each other, and share current examples and stories of companies and people who demonstrate the strategic management concepts we are looking at.

CO: What do you enjoy most about teaching at UW-Eau Claire? 
BO: The students. Students in my classes are engaged, eager to learn and keep me sharp by asking thought-provoking questions. 

"Brent is very deserving of this award. He has a passion for teaching and is always working to improve his courses," said Dr. Lauver. 

Lauver added, "He has a strong connection with the students and keeps them actively engaged, continues to explore and use innovative teaching methods, and has a true dedication to his students and the learning community."

Outside the College of Business, Dr. Opall is an active member of the University Planning Committee (UPC) tasked with strategic planning at the University, serves on QTAC (Queer and Trans Action Committee), and is a board member on the Alumni Board of Directors for The University of Wisconsin-Superior. On a personal note, he shows his Bulldogs (Lincoln, Woodrow, and Liza) in AKC Confirmations (e.g. dog shows!).

About Chuck Tomkovick
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Tomkovick, an outstanding UW-Eau Claire marketing educator, taught undergraduate and graduate marketing courses for the Department of Management and Marketing, and led marketing seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners through UW-Eau Claire Office of Continuing Education. An active researcher, Tomkovick engaged dozens of students in collaborative research, instilling in them a love for scholarly inquiry. He also used his talents to help others become better teachers. He was a charter member of the UW-Eau Claire Network for Excellence in Teaching Council and was a mentor to new faculty members in the Department of Management and Marketing.

Tomkovick received many awards throughout his academic career, including the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Teaching Award, which he received twice. He was nominated three times by the university for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) U.S. Professor of the Year award.