Craig Upright: Profile on professor of the year


Morgan Reddekopp

Professor Craig Upright, a sociology professor at Winona State, won the 2017-18 “Professor of the Year,” after having won the same award last year as a result of his efforts to help his students.

Kellen Brandt, Features Reporter

Every year Student Senate organizes a survey given to all students at Winona State University to vote for Professor of the Year. Winona State students voted Craig Upright, assistant professor of sociology, as the 2017-2018 professor of the year for the second year in a row.

Many professors at Winona State were nominated and recognized by students for their hard work and dedication to teaching.

The five runners up nominees for Professor of the Year include, Ted Wilson, biology professor; Mary G. Anderson, elementary and early childhood education professor; Jonathan Mauser, chemistry professor; Roger Riley, recreation tourism and therapeutic recreation professor and Kristi K. Mally, physical education and sport science professor.

These professors and many more were recognized for being outstanding professors by going above and beyond what is expected of them in and outside of the classroom.

The award humbled Upright because he works with so many other hardworking and deserving colleagues. Upright highly praised all the staff and faculty members at Winona State.   

“This award is incredibly meaningful because it comes from the most important group on our campus, the students. I am gratified that my efforts have been recognized, especially because I work with so many wonderful colleges on this campus,” Upright said.

Upright has been teaching at Winona State since the fall of 2011. Through the years, he has taught introduction to sociology, social problems, social class and power and sociology of race and ethnicity, but his favorite to teach is introduction to sociology.

“I really like teaching introduction to sociology because it is exciting to introduce my discipline to students who have never taken a class like this,” Upright said. “I have 15 weeks to help give students a new way of seeing the world around them, a world that they have probably taken for granted most of their lives.”

Upright does not just enjoy teaching his classes, but he enjoys working with his students and colleagues to make the entire college experience smoother.   

“I really enjoy working with wonderful, thoughtful, engaged students at a very special time in their lives. I have a great set of colleagues and we support each other throughout the year as we are working with students and moving them towards graduation,” Upright said.

Kevin Hawn, first-year nursing student, was one of Upright’s many students.

“I had professor Upright for introduction to sociology fall semester of my freshman year. It was one of my first classes here at Winona State and I am so glad I had professor Upright because I learned so much,” Hawn said. “It was such an eye-opening class because in high school I never took anything like this. I am so happy for professor Upright because he is so deserving of this award. He is so hard working and really cares about his students.”

Upright does more than just teach the material needed to pass the class, he helps his students to be successful their entire time at Winona State and beyond.

“Students have much more agency than they realize. I want my students to take charge of their education and invest themselves in their studies,” Upright said. “It is a challenge to create that in the classroom, but the payoff for all involved in immeasurable.”