On February 1, during KWPC’s Moving Forward Broadcast Feature, the Voice of Muscatine sat down with Jeff Kaufmann, a history and government professor at Muscatine Community College.
Kaufmann has been with MCC for 28 years and plans to stay for at least another ten. He believes that MCC creates an opportunity for students to forge a path to making their dreams come true, and he wants to see all students have a chance at achieving their ideal career.
Throughout his years of teaching, Kaufmann has seen students transfer into hundreds of schools, including Harvard Law School, and he believes none of this could have happened without the support of the residents and businesses of Muscatine County. Contributions from places like HNI, GPC, MCC alumni, and countless other donors allow MCC to hand out hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars.
“Our industrial support in the town is second to none,” Kaufmann says.
Scholarships may be based on GPA but are not solely awarded on this criteria. College staff encourage anyone who has a drive for learning and is ready to prove it to apply for a scholarship.
A community college allows a real connection to be made between the professor and the student. This connection something MCC takes pride in and hopes that a student also cherishes as they navigate achieving their goals.
Though Kaufmann himself is a staunch Republican, he prides himself on never bringing personal opinion into his classroom. He believes that a student cannot truly learn in this way and steers clear of affecting their opinion due to his own. He adds that professors or teachers who do this should have their professionalism questioned, because the core of being a college professor is remaining unbiased.
Kauffman described the new president of Muscatine Community College, as well as their dean, as glass-half-full individuals. He says they are always striving for more, to the point of never seeming satisfied, which is a compliment to their work ethic.
The recent update of Loper Hall affected Kaufmann on a personal level, as he was friends with James Loper, a former Dean of MCC. Kaufmann feels that Loper would be very proud of the updates to the library dedicated in his honor. The new interior accommodates students and professors alike.
Many students find themselves congregating in the updated work space, especially around the new cafe selling donuts, bagels, and coffee. Nooks for studying and small-group meeting rooms allow MCC students the ability to flourish.
Kaufmann is passionate about his work, his role, and, most importantly, his students. He creates a fun learning environment where there is never a dull moment in his classroom. “Even though MCC is small, our hearts for learning and growing are not,” Kaufmann says.