I haven't blogged much about my hubby, besides our family adventures and date nights. Truth be told, he's a pretty swell guy. He's the fun one. The one responsible for keeping laughter in our home. The easy going one. He's kind, brilliant, forgiving, and patient. He's really funny too and the best story teller I've ever known. (plus he puts up with ME!)
Nobody works harder than Mark. He's been lucky enough to find a career where his skills and passion collide. This man is a fabulous professor. He has been working as a visiting professor for a couple of years and has been simultaneously on the market for a tenure track job. His area is Russia and Eastern Europe in political science. He also teaches international relations and comparative politics. If you have any ins, please send me a message, as the job market has been brutal, to put it mildly. His website is HERE. Check it out and you too will see how dedicated he is to his field.
Mark's first book The Political Power of Bad Ideas (cover art by his brother Dan) is being published by Oxford University Press and is due out in a few months. You can take a peek and pre-order HERE or HERE. He has a contract with the New York Times for an op ed (date TBD) and a couple new articles coming out soon in various journals. (yes, I am a proud wifey)
The thing is, it's not just me, his mom, and his kids that think so highly of this man. His students love him, and they should. Have you ever heard of a professor staying up regularly till 4 am to hold online review sessions before tests? Bending over backwards for every student and honestly wanting each and every one of them to be interested and succeed?
At our Buddy Walk this Saturday, our opening remarks were by by Mary Beth Versaci, whose little sister Patti has Down syndrome. You may remember her as the university student columnist for the Daily Illini who wrote THIS piece about some local nastiness. She also happens to be a student of Mark's and she also was involved with our Spread the Word to End the Word 3.31.09 event on campus. With her permission, I'd like to share a little of the speech that kicked off our Buddy Walk, because besides being an amazing professor, husband, and dad, this man is Sophie's biggest advocate.
"Last semester, I took the class Introduction to Political Science taught by a professor who is actually here today, Professor Mark S. I believe it was in the first class after we had watched the Presidential Inauguration (because it happened to be that same day) that Prof. S. introduced himself and talked about his family, including his daughter with Down syndrome, and then went on to talk about the r-word. He told a story where he was walking with his family down Green Street in campus town and I think it may have actually been after the Buddy Walk or some sort of event for Down syndrome awareness, and he heard a group of college students throwing the r-word around like it was no big deal. I remember distinctly that he described hearing the r-word as being like a dagger, and not only was that the first time that I heard someone else talk about how much they hated the r-word, but he also described exactly how it felt because as I mentioned earlier, in my own mind, I had always described hearing the r-word as feeling like I was being stabbed. And I just want to say thank you, Prof. S., so much for using your position as a professor, where you have the opportunity to talk to so many students everyday, to speak about the hurtful use of the r-word, and I also want to let you know that I know for a fact it makes a difference. One of my friends who was in the class with me actually stopped using the r-word, and not only that, but he also helped out on the Spread the Word to End the Word Day, a day dedicated to encouraging people to stop using the r-word out of respect for those around them, on campus with passing out fliers, buttons and stickers and getting signatures from people pledging that they would stop using the r-word, and even now, he has one of those buttons on his backpack. So, even though he doesn’t have a sibling with an intellectual disability or anything like that, he changed his ways and actually became a big advocate of the cause all because of what you said in class."
Ya, that's MY guy!
Mary Beth's entire speech was wonderful (not just the part about Mark). Here are her concluding remarks: