Diane Metzger wins frequently at the local level; she is the Southern Illinois Tennis Association’s top-ranked tennis player in Southern Illinois for women age 35 and over and has earned the Marian Keifer Award as the top senior player in Southern Illinois the past eight years.
As a tennis coach, she has won at the regional level; her Lady Warriors, after finishing second by a point last season, claimed their first-ever Region XXIV crown this past fall to advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Championships for the second straight year. They also posted the highest cumulative grade-point average of any RLC athletic team.
And she has won on an even larger stage; her promotion of youth and adult tennis in the area has twice earned her the prestigious U.S. Tennis Association Community Service Award.
But this may be the best of all. She has now been acknowledged at home by her peers. What greater achievement than that?
Metzger has been named the 24th winner of the annual "Faculty Excellence Award ." Those honors were officially bestowed on her at the annual Board-Faculty-Staff Dinner and will be confirmed this weekend at the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Awards Dinner in Chicago.
The latest honors for the tennis ace are based on what counts most . . . her role for the past 18 years as a full-time Rend Lake College Mathematics professor and an educational leader statewide. She spent several years before that as a part-time Math instructor, JTPA tutor and GED instructor.
"Ms. Metzger does not, in any way, let her coaching interfere with being a great teacher. The time and effort she spends on class plans and work accounts for her successful students and should not go unrecognized," according to one of her spring students, Megan Knapp.
"I can verify her teaching abilities and styles are second to none. At any time, she is willing to assist students needing help or explain reasoning," she added.
Metzger says she believes "all students can learn mathematics, given the correct placement, guidance, instruction and encouragement. That is, of course, if students are also willing to put in their time and effort.
"I believe the role of a professor is to provide guidance and encouragement, as well as instruction. To do this, the professor should strive to make students feel comfortable enough to ask questions and participate in class. I believe I do a good job of relating to students; they feel free to interact with me and other students in the class."
Almost as an after thought, Metzger confided, "I hope my love of mathematics and teaching is conveyed to my students. I feel very fortunate to have a profession I truly enjoy."
Metzger developed and has supervised the college’s Math Lab since her hiring in 1985.
"In doing so," according to her letter of recommendation signed by 23 colleagues, "she put together a program which offers students the opportunity to complete seven different mathematics course in a highly individualized and self-paced environment, either at home via the Internet or in the computerized Math Lab facility, with as much or as little instructional help as needed."
She likewise has developed an online section of Finite Math, a distance learning component of Contemporary Mathematics and a service learning Contemporary Math course in which her students spend outside time tutoring math in area grade schools. In the early ’90s, she served as Mathematics Specialist for a Title III Grant which was responsible for the development of three computer-based developmental math courses and a dedicated math computer lab.
She is widely known outside the Rend Lake College walls as a math instructor, also. A current member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics, she recently initiated reinstatement of the Southern Illinois Mathematics Council.
Metzger is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges and past Chair of the IMACC Membership Committee. A Mid-South Regional Partnership Coalition project found her developing a resource book of problems entitled, Real World Math Problems, which was distributed to math teachers in grades 1-14 throughout Southern Illinois.
Back home, she has served on almost every committee possible and is a regular attendee of special events. She also helps annually with district-wide Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) competition on-campus and next year will be the dual-credit course mentor for Waltonville High School.
Back to tennis briefly, the 2002 Region XXIV "Coach of the Year" spends her summers coordinating the Southern Illinois Tennis Association Junior Team League.