Joe Flynn says his goal is not only to teach but to inspire students to be excellent in all areas of their life. That dedication to helping students become the best versions of themselves is the reason he was selected as the 2024 Professor of the Year.

Flynn has been nominated by one of his students to be Professor of the Year nearly every one of his 22 years at Moraine Valley, and his student evaluations always have been outstanding. This year, he received two nominations from students. Cecille Escartin wrote:

“Joseph Flynn, even if he has won this award many times, deserves the Professor of the Year Award. His lectures and PowerPoints perfectly summarized and simplified the important topics of each chapter. He emphasized the important subjects, not only for this class but in the business world. He showed you how he learned it himself. He gave real-life examples. These are some of his lectures: You better come to class prepared. You better study this material. You better get an education, not just pass this class; those two things are different. When you go on those job interviews, people can tell if you’re educated. Your degree or certificate can get you in, but your education will let you stay and excel at your job. He was very inspiring. These are his actual words: ‘Make sure you’re putting in the time to become awesome. The world is filled with mediocrity. Let’s not strive to be mediocre. Let’s strive to be excellent. That requires some work. Let’s strive for excellence in the world.’ I have never met this professor in person, but his teaching is excellent!”

As the department chair of Business for eight years, he also oversees Culinary Arts and has helped create several new programs, including the Paralegal Studies associate degree and certificate and the Cannabis Retail Specialist, Retail Management and Financial Services certificates. He has managed significant revisions of the Business degree and certificate programs and is working on revisions to the Culinary Arts program curriculum.

Flynn was one of the first instructors on campus to use lecture-capture technology for online classes and was one of the first department chairs to develop a Canvas course shell with online teaching resources, syllabus templates and tutorials for understanding assessment reporting for instructors in his department.

“To be named Professor of the Year, you first must be nominated by a student. The most important praise for any teacher should come from our students. I have had many students over the years tell me that I made a positive impact in their life. Whether it be in person, through an email or a nomination form, when a student tells me they appreciate my hard work and dedication, I feel like I chose the right career path. Being named Professor of the Year is another validation that I am making a difference,” Flynn said.

He certainly made a difference for this student, who sent him the below message:

“From the first class, you earned everyone’s respect, and it made us more responsible as students heading into the real world. Being on time and having materials ready were small things that make good habits. You constantly emphasized making good habits. In Islam, we are taught it’s important for a man to maintain his soft heart and not cause it to harden. That came to mind after you mentioned a former student had passed, and we saw your tears. It reminded me how a real man should be. Some think men shouldn’t cry, but it shows the human in us, and when it’s something deep and important, we should immerse ourselves in experiencing these things. That is what makes this class so perfect. We laughed, we cried, we were challenged, we learned, we grew, and we changed for the better. I feel like I have become a better person because of your class. You are not only a professor but a father, husband, friend, brother, mentor, role model and professional. You taught us how we can step into those roles someday and become successful. You have raised the standard so high for our future professors.”