Evans driven by idea of service
After being named an Outstanding Educator at M State, science instructor Bill Evans said the idea of service is what drives him to teach.
Evans' students study Wadena programs like nursing (LPN or RN) and massage therapy. In addition, students transfer into other programs like dental assisting or lab tech, while also getting their generals. A couple have gone on to medical school.
Evans said that because many of his students will be counted on to save lives in the future, he wants to give his best as an instructor so they can be prepared.
For spring semester 2012 Evans taught human anatomy and physiology, as well as medical microbiology.
In the past he has also taught chemistry and other general biology classes.
Evans has been a full time M State instructor since 2004, but also taught part time a few years before then. He initially went to college for pre-med, but veered toward laboratory work and realized he wanted to go into teaching.
"After I graduated from college, I owed the Army for scholarships, so I went there and actually ended up staying there 10 years," Evans said.
Although Evans was in communications and electronics in the Army, he also got some teaching experience.
After that, he decided to pursue a college teaching career.
Evans described himself as an "Army brat from everywhere," although he grew up mostly in South Carolina.
His oldest sister ended up settling in Minnesota, and the rest of the family followed.
Evans and his wife live in Wadena, where they enjoy golfing and engaging in other outdoor hobbies. They have five grown children.
Evans said students are paramount when it come to teaching.
"In a two-year community college, we have small enough classes that we get to know the students pretty well," he said.
Evans added that he likes helping students achieve their goals. The students are motivated, he said, and many are going into the health care fields.
Evans also said college students keep him entertained.
"Maybe I should pay to work here because I have too much fun," he said. He added that he does what he does because he loves his job and it is very rewarding.
It is also important that students are well-instructed, he said.
"I've seen that in the military when somebody isn't trained the way they need to be, then there is a really big price to pay for that," he said. "For me it's about serving the students."
Evans also said faith plays a role when he teaches students.
"I wanted to see people for what they were," he said. "I want to do the best that I can to sacrificially serve them, like Christ serves me."
As for some of the challenges for teaching at the college level, Evans said there is dwindling funding for higher education. Student services are going away, he said, and although the college is doing its best with what it has, some students are not doing as well as they could because of the loss of certain services.
Evans said that funding has shifted. More than 30 years ago, the students funded one-third of the cost of their education through tuition and the state funded two-thirds. Now it is flipped the other way around because the state funds one-third and students pick up double the tab, he added.
Instructors were first notified of nominations in December, and Evans was named Outstanding Educator in April for M State. Another award for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Educator of the Year, went to Paul Carney, a faculty member of the M State campus in Fergus Falls.
Dixie Fjeld, an instructor at the Moorhead campus, was another Outstanding Educator within the M State system.
"This is our college's first year participating with this," Evans said.