Kenneth Stahl, a longtime Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) instructor who played a major role in developing and redeveloping the program’s curriculum, is set to retire on Aug. 2.
Cal Poly Pomona hired him in the spring of 1993 to teach an IGE course, and he became a full-time lecturer in 2000. Stahl, who earned his doctorate and master’s degree in English and American literature from Claremont Graduate School, had previously taught at several local universities, including Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, Chaffey College and Cal State San Bernardino.
Since coming to IGE, he has taught all courses in the program, but his favorite classes to teach have been IGE 1200 (Authority and Faith: Late Ancient and Medieval Worlds), IGE 220 (Ways of Knowing: Culture and Contact), IGE 221 (Ways of Coexisting: Reform and Revolution) and IGE 2400 (Ways of Living: Local, Global, and Universal Challenges).
“Dr. Stahl has been a caring and dedicated teacher, an amazing mentor, and a friend,” said Interim Dean Hend Gilli-Elewy in the College of Education and Integrative Studies. “He worked relentlessly to support students, to guide them academically and personally, and to make sure the IGE curriculum was relevant and up to date. He left an indelible mark on the IGE program and has made such a strong impact on so many students’ lives. I deeply appreciate his years of dedication to Interdisciplinary General Education and know he will be missed.”
During his time at CPP, Stahl has played a key role in constructing and reconstructing IGE’s curriculum by following important developments in the humanities and social sciences and translating those developments into a general education curriculum taken by students from many different majors. Additionally, he was also very instrumental in transitioning IGE’s curriculum to the semester system.
In the summer of 2000, he was charged with the task of reinventing IGE 223, known as the least favorite course among IGE students. He decided the class should focus on environmentalism and sustainability, and within a couple of years, the course had become a favorite class among IGE students.
“Ken has always been the heart and soul of IGE,” said Dennis Quinn, IGE program coordinator. “He has been a fantastic mentor to me and just about everyone in the program. He was always someone I could depend on whenever I needed help with a class or coming up with meaningful assignments in my classes. He has also been a leader in curriculum development, having had his hand in helping make every single class in the program better.”
Outside of the classroom, Stahl has served on several university and college-level committees including the CEIS Curriculum Committee, the First Year Experience Committee and the Academic Programs Committee within the Academic Senate. Additionally, he worked with many student leaders as the longtime advisor of the IGE Student Organization (IGESO), a club that seeks to promote IGE and provide an environment for IGE students to meet each other and work together.
“Dr. Kenneth Stahl has definitely made a great impact on the IGE faculty, staff, and students during his time with us,” said Sheena Chang, former administrative support coordinator of the IGE program. “He was kind, supportive and such a positive mentor for the students as both a professor as well as IGESO faculty advisor. To the department, he was always busy working on something, such as curriculum changes, semester conversion, committees, events and orientation. His depth of knowledge and generous spirit were felt by all whom had the pleasure to work alongside him.”
Stahl also developed a strong reputation for supporting faculty, having mentored every instructor in IGE and advocated on behalf of faculty as a representative of the California Faculty Association.
“Ken exemplifies a comprehensive intelligence and a consistent talent as a teacher, advisor of students and a reliable fighter for faculty rights through his service on several committees and his work for CFA,” said Joseph Block, former chair of the Department of Liberal Studies. “He is also a very good friend whose company I greatly value.”
After several decades of having a positive impact on the lives of students, faculty and staff, Stahl looks forward to spending more time with family and friends in California and his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I can think of no better fit than IGE for what I wanted from a career teaching college,” said Stahl. “No better way to make a living and a lifetime exploring those interconnected interdisciplinary questions that inspired me as an undergraduate so long ago. No better fit for my evolving philosophy of teaching. IGE transformed me as a teacher. It allowed me to see ways to join creativity with critical inquiry in the classroom that I would not have seen otherwise.”