The Need for Shared Values in Employment in Dark and Hopeful Times

I was chastised at UIC for talking about Trump. I no longer work there. I taught Professional Presence and Business Ethics in the business college. Trump’s behavior is obviously relevant to that subject matter. Students have to know that Trump — the huge shadow over our entire culture is the anti-professional, has an ugly murderous presence, and of course has no ethics at all.

I had my job because of my background in improvisation and as a professional responsibility attorney.

The director of the program that I was in was an accountant and a Level B instructor in the Second City Training Center. He has superficial understanding of improvisation — no Spolin training, no understanding of transformation or the deep philosophical grounding of a true teacher of improvisation. He also has no understanding of the basic tenets of any professional code of responsibility.

I got something out of my 5 years at UIC. My teaching and writing developed greatly there. I always acted independently and never participated in the negative direction of the program.

I have no general advice as to what to do in these dark and hopeful times. I just know that in my own life I have to say yes and no. I will never associate with any job or friend or creative endeavor that does not share my values. We can disagree on many things, but not values.

Below is a generic cover letter that I adapt on my job search to different positions.

I used to have a fear about money. No more. Money does not bring security. Faith and integrity do. God provides.

How are you? My name is Rick Thomas. I recently left my position as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Business to explore deeper professional and creative opportunities in higher education. I appreciated the opportunity to develop my work at UIC for five years, but my work has now outgrown my recent position. The program that I was in developed in a direction that did not serve my values.

I am writing to express interest in teaching at your school, and request to meet with you to discuss potential opportunities. I am qualified to teach professional responsibility, applied ethics, professional presence, and communications.

I have taught “Finding Your Teacher’s Voice” workshops to teachers working in many colleges at UIC, and doctoral candidates pursuing careers in teaching at UIC. The writing sample included in the link below gives some insight into my pedagogical approach. I also invite you to look at these brief essays which describe my approach and background in teaching. I was an arts educator teaching improvisational acting for many years. I’m an alumnus of the main stage at Second City Chicago and was trained in the arts, and teaching the arts by that theater’s founders: Paul Sills, David Shepherd, Jo Forsberg, Bernard Sahlins and Del Close. They instructed me in the art of improvisation and the teaching of that art. Note that I approach improvisation as an art and pedagogical approach, and I am not in the tradition which uses it merely to develop material in sketch comedy.

I am also open to other courses that you see as a fit. I have taught in a variety of schools and departments.

Links describing teaching values and experience:…/the-love-trian…/…/the-virtue-of-…/

I am certified in excellence in online teaching by Washington State University. I am certified in trial advocacy skills by the Natl Inst of Trial Advocacy. I was recognized as a master improviser by Paul Sills, founder of Second City Theater. I was a litigation counsel for the Atty Reg & Disciplinary Commission (Loyola Law Alumnus). I was recognized as a Master Teaching Scholar by the UIC Provost. I combine my teaching, critical thinking, advocacy & creativity experience and skills in my pedagogy. I teach experientially, drawing on my diverse experience myself & facilitating experiences for my students from which they can learn. I create challenging assignments for my students — requiring them to THINK and apply what they learn. I coach them toward intellectual and professional excellence.

My writing is driven by my values combining the use of reason and attention to detail that I learned as a lawyer, and the creativity and authenticity that I experienced as an improviser. As I left UIC in order to pursue opportunities in which I could further develop my teaching, and further serve my values which transformed and evolved during my time there.

As I previously mentioned, I am grateful for the opportunity that UIC gave me for growth, but now I have outgrown the creative and professional opportunities available to me in my former position.

The time came to move on and I look forward to an even deeper engagement in my work in new positions.

i am looking for new opportunities in higher ed and with other organizations where I can serve and grow.

My CV is attached. Introductory information and writing sample on link below.

Thank you for your attention.

Rick Thomas

Copyright 2018 Richard Thomas

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