Welcome to IC: Professor Spotlight


Illinois College is pleased to welcome several new professors to the Hilltop this year. All three of them come from different parts in the country, bringing with them a new knowledge and expertise to the campus.

Matthew Schultz is a part-time professor here at Illinois College. He is currently teaching EN 132, a 20th century American Literature class, and EN 121 for a first year seminar class that is part of a learning community. He moved to Jacksonville to teach at IC, largely because his wife, Dr Catharine O’Connell, was given the position as the new Provost and Dean of the college, but also because he is, as he terms it, a militant midwesterner and has missed the area during the years that he has spent away from it.

Schultz previously worked at Mary Baldwin College, an all women’s college in Virginia, teaching American Studies. He states that he has been fascinated with IC for quite a while now and he was not disappointed when he finally came to work here. There are some jarring differences between where he is coming from and here, most obviously the presence of men, but also that he can experience football games again, the immense humidity of the Jacksonville area and the fact that he was previously living in the mountains and now all he sees is flat ground for miles around.

What particularly appeals to him is that he feels welcomed and like part of a picture, doing a job where most other people would have felt left out and like they were given the scraps or leftovers. He also loves Jacksonville and the homey vibe it gives. He is going to miss some things that the big city had to offer, but mostly he is glad to be here. He has started taking part in activities on and off campus – he has been to a football game and is a member of the YMCA, but mostly has been taking part in new teacher training activities.

Matthew Schultz is a very enthusiastic teacher because he loves what he teaches and loves teaching what he teaches. He cannot wait to get to know the students of IC better and very much wants to “meet them and read them.”

The Illinois College Political Science Department is happy to welcome its newest faculty member, Dr. Austin Trantham. Dr. Trantham received his Bachelor’s degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He received his Master’s degree from the American University in Washington D.C., and his doctorate from the University of Kentucky at Lexington. His PhD research focused primarily on the policy-making between the President and the state governors and how governors react to policies made by the President.

Dr. Trantham began his career teaching American politics courses at Murray College in Murray, Kentucky. After several years of teaching at Murray College, he moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he is now teaching three courses in American politics.

Dr. Trantham came to Illinois College because he loves teaching and interacting with students, and enjoys smaller classes and smaller towns because it makes it easier to get to know more people and establish more friendships. He also enjoys the interdisciplinary connections that are available at Illinois College and the laidback culture that Illinois offers to its residents.

He is very much open to what the students want, and is thus open to changing his classes in a way that will fit the interest of IC students.

The Illinois College Department of Biology is also pleased to welcome its newest faculty member, Dr. Miranda Karban. Dr. Karban received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Archeology at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. She went on to receive her Master of Science in Bio Anthropology at Illinois State University, and has recently received her PhD from the University of Iowa.

Her PhD research focused mainly on the growth of the human skull, specifically the change in shape of the occipital bone (the back of the skull).

Dr. Karban has previously taught at Illinois State University and the University of Iowa before coming to Illinois College. After completing her PhD, she moved to Jacksonville, where she is teaching several Biology courses this year.

Dr. Karban chose to teach at IC was because, among other reasons, she wanted to focus on teaching in a smaller class setting and to help students with research projects in Biology class. She came to IC also because she really enjoys the welcoming and friendly environment that our campus possesses. In addition to these reasons, she also likes Jacksonville because of the relaxed and friendly nature of the town’s residents, as well as Jacksonville’s interesting history.

Some of the courses Dr. Karban is teaching this semester include Biological Investigation (BI 110) and Human Biology (BI 107). Next semester, she will be teaching Human Sexuality (BH 330) and the Biology Senior Seminar (BI 402).

We hope you all enjoy your time here at Illinois College. See you in class!


Marie Owumi, from Delta, Nigeria, is an undecided freshman in Illinois College, considering a double major in Management and Organizational Leadership and Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Marie is a writer for The Rambler and is also a member of the Gamma Delta, SAB, Newman Club, and BSU.


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