Ida Cook: Women Who Shaped UCF

Congratulations, Ida Cook, on your special honor from the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty.

The Center is celebrating “31 wonderful UCF women who have helped chart the course of UCF’s 50-year history” with special stories on their site. Leclair was honored on March 2 with the below interview. idacook109

Associate Professor of Sociology, College of Sciences

What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Associate Profefssor of Sociology, teach/research/service
Member, Board of Trustees:
Chair, Educational Programs Committee (first faculty member to ever chair Trustee committee)
Member, Finance and Facilities Comittee
Member, Audit, Operations Review, Compliance and Ethics Committee
Member, Strategic Planning CommitteeWhat is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I joined the UCF faculty in 1976, as an Assistant Professor of Sociology, Associate Professor
Helped develop the Masters in Applied Sociology program, served as Graduate Coordinator two different times (3 yrs x 2)
Interim Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning – 2 years
Member of Faculty Senate for approximately 31 years
Chair of Faculty Senate – 3 different times (3 years, 2 years, 4 years)
Vice Chair – 2 different times
many other university, college, department committeesWhat is your favorite UCF memory?
As Faculty Senate Chair, having my picture taken on stage with my niece, Kristine Kovach McCall, at her graduation ceremony when she received a Bachelors degree in film and televisionIf you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
Have much lower student/faculty ratio and smaller classes so we could offer more seminar experiences to our undergraduate students.What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Get involved in working to create strong community among faculty at UCF – to reach beyond your own departments/disciplines/colleges.  The variety of interactions is invigorating! Don’t just stay in your office and crunch numbers on the computer

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Broiled rock shrimp and scallops at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, FL

What is your favorite book or movie or song?
The Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov, in which a sociologist is featured and can predict the future centuries in advance! (my lifelong goal)

What is your dream vacation spot?
Grand Cayman and/or anywhere in France

What is your favorite sport to watch or participate?
To participate in swimming and aqua aerobics

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be?
The Faculty Club (probably won’t even be one, but if we do, it would be great!)

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF, who would you choose and why?
Our newest faculty members to hear what they’re looking forward to as they join the UCF faculty, what their experiences have been prior to coming here, and to help them connect with other faculty who are already here.

Name and describe a teacher from you past who truly inspired you.
Ms. Mazie Hall, my 7th grade English teacher, who always had a lace handkerchief pinned to her coat, who motivated me to try to write and communicate better and to explore new ideas and worlds through literature.  She had the ability to challenge her students and to believe in ourselves.

What undergraduate class/program inspired you the most and why?
Introduction to Sociology at FSU during my Freshman year.  The instructor was a full professor who also was the Director of the Institute for Social Research, but who (probably on a whim) agreed to teach an intro soc class at 4 p.m. on MWF schedule – (maybe thinking the class might not make).  I and the other 60 students shocked him when he first walked in and saw there were NO more seats, so he exclaimed “What the heck are all of you doing here at 4 o’clock on a Friday??  He had a great sense of humor, really enjoyed the topic of sociology. He made the application of sociology’s concepts and approaches in understanding and addressing society’s problems interesting, and he was at the forefront of sociology, researching civil rights and community relations, and I learned that it offered me the opportunity to make a difference by pursuing my studies in sociology.  Little did I know that after completing my first 2 years at FSU, graduating from UF and returning to FSU to study for my Masters degree that I would be offered a research assistantship in the Institute for Social Research and get to work with Dr. Grigg!  Of course, he didn’t remember me from the freshman intro sociology class, but  I did!  And the rest is history.

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