Dr. Chris Nonhof, Assistant Professor of Education and English at Northwestern College, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award. He was honored at the college’s commencement ceremony on May 14.

The award is administered by a selection committee made up of members of the Student Government Association and honors program students. The committee chose Dr. Fan Fei, assistant professor of commerce; Dr. Scott Monsma, professor of sociology; and Dr. Wayne Westenberg, associate professor of math education, as runners-up with Nonhof.

The main factor used in selecting the recipient is evidence of strong teaching ability. The committee reviews faculty vitae, service reports, and course evaluations, in addition to nominator comments.

Nonhof joined the Northwestern faculty in 2015 after 16 years teaching English and drama at private and public high schools in Florida and Wisconsin. He holds the James and Margaret Blekkink Chair in Education at Northwestern and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in methods, educational research methodology, and literature, as well as a first-year seminar. Her areas of research include language and identity, diversity in education, and culturally responsive pedagogy.

Students describe Nonhof as an exceptional teacher. “Dr. Nonhof creates a safe and welcoming environment for all,” wrote one proposer. “He makes classes enjoyable yet educational, with open conversations guided by thoughtful questions.”

“Dr. Nonhof goes above and beyond to help students learn in his classroom while making them feel valued on an individual level,” said another student. being a teacher He is never too busy to answer a question.

One student added, “He is interested in the life, education and success of each student. He is practical in his teachings but makes it fun and interesting with his humor. It’s awesome. I knew I could reach out to her for anything I was dealing with.

Nonhof’s benevolent approach has been cited by several nominators. “He is so much more than a teacher,” wrote one student. “He’s a friend, a spiritual father, a cheerleader and more. He’s so intentional about showing how much he cares about his students. He sacrificed time out of his schedule whenever I needed it, whether it was 15 minutes or a few hours.He cares about the academic, mental and spiritual well-being of his students.He doesn’t just talk, he also listens.

“He has a servant’s heart and has such a way of connecting with his students,” added another student. “He invests in the lives of students inside and outside the classroom and encourages them spiritually.”

Nonhof earned a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology, both from Cardinal Stritch University.


Accredited by the Iowa Department of Education, Northwestern’s education program meets high standards for coursework and field experiences, and our performance-based results ensure you have every opportunity to become an effective teacher. Education teachers and students center their learning around a “teacher as a servant” motto, preparing future educators to see and teach each student as a precious image bearer of God.