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Bringing enthusiasm into the classroom

Cameron Cloyd, Staff Writer

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One of the biggest challenges in a college environment is passion. Many students struggle to find something they care about, something they can really work hard on. For the first one or two years of college, most students spend their time in the generals. Professor Mark Jendrysik sees this problem and challenges it.

“If you’ve studied something your whole life, then you should care about it,” Jendrysik said.  “You have to care. You have to think what you’re doing is the most important thing in the world.”

His biggest frustration with campus life is students who are just putting in the time. He wants to provoke discussion, to get people thinking about what they are doing.

“It can be so frustrating when someone is not as passionate about learning as you are,” he said. “A lot of people try to drag you down and discourage your learning.”

One of his professors in school had emigrated from Poland. He was tortured in Auschwitz, and would share stories from that time. Yet he persisted and stayed strong. This teacher was fantastic when he would have a perfectly good excuse not to be.

“When you cross paths with someone like that, how do you not at least try to match that passion?” Jendrysik said. “If someone like that can live this kind of life, then how do you not try to be great?”

This professor was a major influence in his trajectory in life. Jendrysik has served as a professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration since the fall of 1999.

He did not know initially if he wanted to be a teacher, but during undergraduate and graduate school, he fell in love with school. “I never wanted to leave!”

When asked why he decided to come to UND, he said, “I wouldn’t say that I necessarily chose UND out of a certain leading. When I was a grad student, I made a vow to go anywhere to pursue my career. So when they offered me the job, I gladly took it.”

He has been here ever since. He explained that his main mission as a professor is to “spark the

passion” in students. He desperately wants a student to take over the class, not out of laziness,

but out of sheer passion. He believes that when a student cares so much about the subject that

they are willing to defend their position, that is the ultimate success for a professor.

“It’s exciting to be around young people,” Jendrysik said, “They have so many new ideas and things they might care about. Of course, I don’t like when they are passive. But when they share what they’re thinking, it is usually insightful.”

Jendrysik said that he plans to stay. He doesn’t like the weather, but he loves his job. He enjoys

interacting with students.

Though he does have one awkward story. He explained that there have been many times that he seen students making out in the back of Gamble 1. There is not much that can be done, he says that he just calls it out and hope that they stop.

He enjoys reading people’s papers. He explained that he grades in complete silence so that he can focus. Occasionally, he even puts on noise cancelling headphones. He wants to know what

people have to say. That is the purpose of teaching.

Cameron Cloyd is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at cameron.cloyd@und.edu

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Key to sucess