Graduate students never missed Michael Kompf’s classes.
Kompf, a professor in the Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education, had a knack for making dry material interesting thanks to his humour and self-deprecating anecdotes. And his insights helped his students fully understand what they were learning.
“Teachers can only do that if they love what they do and Michael loved teaching and writing almost as much as he loved his wife Sandy and his daughters, Samanatha and Jessica, and his extended family,” said Tony DiPetta, director of Brock’s Centre for Continuing Teacher Education, and Kompf’s friend and colleague.
Kompf, who was also known as a brilliant scholar, writer and amateur musician was an inspiration to countless graduate students since he started at Brock in 1985.
He died Aug. 10 after a brief battle with pancratic cancer. He was 63.
DiPetta said Kompf motivated his graduate students “to strive to map an educational landscape that was continuously shifting beneath their feet.”
As a teacher, Kompf believed that knowing something or having an idea didn’t mean anything if it couldn’t be explained to someone in a way that made sense. For Kompf and his students, any worthwhile idea could and should be defended with facts, logic and humour.
And when it came to humour, Kompf had an abundance of it.
“With Michael humour was not something that you had to look for,” DiPetta said. “Humour was part of what made Michael who he was and it will always be part of how he is remembered.
“Michael used his exceptional wit and penchant for bad puns to disarm, to persuade and to console,” he added. “It has been said that great scholars and teachers are either brilliant or extremely hard-working. Michael was both brilliant and hard-working, but he was also funny, caring and sensitive to the needs of others. The combination was natural and powerful. Michael was always a teacher even when he wasn’t trying to be and he was always a friend.”
During his career, Kompf also served four terms as chair of the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) and four terms as editor of the ISATT newsletter. He co-edited six volumes in adult education and teacher thinking, and contributed to numerous community and academic journals, and groups.
“Neither sickness nor death can diminish Michael Kompf’s spirit or his contribution to, and impact on, Brock University through his scholarship, his teaching and mentorship and his service on countless committees and projects,” DiPetta said. “Michael’s spirit, dignity, dedication and passionate love of life and learning will long be remembered.”
In Kompf’s memory, friends and family are establishing the Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate Student Travel Scholarship, which will be administered by the Faculty of Education.
Tax deductible contributions to the award fund can be made by cheque to Brock University with the subject note: Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate Student Travel Scholarship. Contributions can also be made online and clicking on the drop down box for the Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate Student Travel Scholarship.