Professor Spotlight: Stephen Frech

Caitlin Husted, Staff Writer

Dr. Stephen Frech was born in Royal Oak, Mich., just outside of Detroit. He spent the first two and a half years in this town before his family moved to Hoffman Estates, Ill. Then, when he was seven, his family made one last move to Palatine, Ill., where his parents still live today.

Frech received his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, majoring in English and creative writing. He went on to obtain his Master’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis and his PhD at the University of Cincinnati.

He spent his time after graduation teaching part-time at a variety of places, one of which being at a high school. Although he delights in teaching college students, Frech greatly enjoyed having the opportunity to teach high school students as well.

“I think the difference [between college and high school students] is not an intellectual one for me, the difference is the developmental stages for the students.”

After spending time teaching part-time, Frech received his first full-time teaching position at Millikin University.

“I like the students that we have and I like the relationship the University wants the faculty to cultivate with students,” Frech said. He believes that the way to obtain this relationship is “one-on-one conversations, a dialogue of posing questions and trying to develop answers together,” which Millikin’s smaller class size allows him to do.

This summer, Frech and Dr. Chung-Ha Kim are taking a group of 11 Millikin students to study abroad in Germany. Although Frech has done travel immersions in the past, this is the first one that is exclusive to Germany.

Kim will be teaching a course on German music form the Romantic Era while Frech will be teaching a course of Ekphrastic literature, literature in response to the visual arts. Students will be studying in cities such as Berlin, Dresden, Weimar, Colonge and Hamburg.

“The selection of cities was really based on cities that had some significant relationship to the romantic era, romantic thinking [and] romantic music in Germany,” Frech said.

He looks forward to being able to watch student’s horizons open up by seeing the world for the first time. The students are going to have the opportunity to experience their education in a way they haven’t before. They will be able to see a place that has “such an intimate connection to America and American culture,” which is a new experience for many of the students.