Dr. Kent Scheller, Physics
What Dr. Kent Scheller, professor of physics, brings to the classroom is passion, fun and an intense desire to connect with students and teach them the skills they’ll need to pursue their dreams. “I grew up in a small town and worked in the fields and the factories to enable my attendance in a college,” he said. “I was always told by my father that the best of talent can be outworked. So… I outworked everyone and was given many opportunities in high school, undergrad and grad school that others weren’t afforded. Those same opportunities are available to all my students… if they work for it.”
A USI Distinguished Professor Award recipient, Scheller earned his doctorate in physics from Notre Dame and accepted a faculty position at a small private college before he was “lured to the dark side of industry” after three years. “I was being offered a VP of operations position when I applied for an opening at USI back in 1999,” he said. “I got the USI offer and took it instead. I have fun in the classroom, and that’s why I stay.”
Science is about asking questions. If you stop asking questions, you stop doing science.
Scheller’s method of teaching physics is physical, visual and intuitive. This trifecta approach empowers and impacts learners exponentially more than one or two components by themselves. “Most people learn better when they can see and feel the concepts being taught,’” he said. “I do many demonstrations and try to connect the physics concepts being considered to real-world applications. I get a better understanding of things when I can see it within the context of something I have experienced, so I give my students that same context.”
Students are everything to Scheller, who maintains an open door. “I work to have a very personal relationship with my students,” he said. “They want to understand, and I truly want them to understand. I tell them that I’ll work as hard as they will, so if they want to be in my office every day for help, I will be there for them. When students have that comfort in working with me, then a large barrier to their learning has been removed.”
In and out of the classroom, Scheller is acutely aware that his chosen passion in life makes him a role model for thousands, something he takes seriously. “Whether it’s as a parent or a teacher, the younger people under your tutelage will model the behavior that they observe,” he said. “I want them to see a caring, responsive, empathetic and hard-working professor.”