The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Summer 2023

5 Minutes with a McKendrean – Dr. Sara (Trask) Frank '05

Sara FrankMcKendree has never been short of amazing professors; it’s one of the reasons why so many choose to attend the university in the first place. Many times, the university finds a way into its students’ hearts and calls them back to serve future Bearcats as either faculty or staff. This is true of faculty members like Sara (Trask) Frank ’05, associate professor of communications, who joined McKendree as a faculty member in 2018. In addition to her role as professor, she serves as the Provost Fellow for Communication and is one of McKendree’s most fervent cheerleaders.

A native of Jerseyville, Ill., and resident of Carlyle, Ill., Sara recently became the first faculty member to receive all three prestigious awards – the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award, and the William Norman Grandy Faculty Award – in a single academic year. Read on to learn a little more about Sara and how she’s making her mark at McKendree!

What’s your favorite part of your day (or school year)?

My favorite part of the school year is the first day of classes and Commencement! As for my favorite part of the day, it’s running into former students around campus and getting to chat with them. I also love leaving a class where everyone was engaged – I leave the classroom feeling energized!

What’s the best part about being an alumna teaching at McKendree?

Knowing I was LITERALLY exactly where they were several years before.

What was your favorite class as a student, and what is your favorite class as a professor?

I absolutely LOVED my Family Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Argumentative Com., and Freedom of Speech courses here at McK. I also loved my Women’s History class; I still have the paper I wrote about interviewing my grandma. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I now have such a great piece of history. I actually use part of that assignment in my Family Communication class now.

As a professor, I would say whatever I am teaching that semester ends up being my favorite class. I have favorite parts about each of the classes I teach!

What makes McKendree special to you?

Hands down, the people! My colleagues, my students – every single human makes this place special. My experience as an undergrad was life changing, and while it is VERY different as a faculty member, the feeling of being home remains the same.

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?

I don’t think I ever KNEW I wanted to be a teacher, but I really love being in the classroom and interacting with students.

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?

I cannot sing at all (they may be very aware of this), but I LOVE karaoke!

How do you like to share your Bearcat pride?

PURPLE FRIDAY – I love rocking my McK apparel! I also try to make it to as many of my students’ extracurricular events that I can!

Favorite thing to order from Ames or 1828?

Cheese quesadilla! I also LOVE the salad bar at Ames!

So many students admire you. How do you make those connections?

I listen. Life is so much better when you actually listen to people and find out who they are as humans. I try to learn at least one thing about each of my students that has NOTHING to do with the classroom and education. Doing that, I have learned some pretty amazing things about these fabulous students who sit in my class. But let’s be real, I also love to talk – I love to share stories and listen to other people’s stories, too!

If you could choose one song to play every time you walked into a room, what would it be and why?

“Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. “This life is more than just a read-through!”

What song do you know all the lyrics to?

Put a song on, and I’ll bet I’d know it, because if not, I will make the lyrics up!

What are you reading right now (or what audiobook are you listening to?) for fun?

I am listening to the podcast Wiser Than Me by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It’s fabulous – I highly recommend it!