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Karle Flanagan

Karle Flanagan

UI senior instructor of statistics | 2019 recipient of Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching | Class of 2012

Checking in at No. 1 among UI faculty members on ratemyprofessors.com — with 128 five-star ratings and 99 percent of respondents clicking on the "would take again" box … Karle Flanagan, best-known on campus for the Stat 101 class she leads.

A 2019 recipient of the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, she was lauded for creating a “warm and comfortable” environment for the mostly non-majors who pack the lecture hall to learn about statistics.

She joined the faculty in 2014 but has Illini ties that go beyond work — earning her bachelor’s in math and master’s in statistics from Illinois, with a Ph.D. from the College of Education still to come — and meeting husband Steve here.

That made her the ideal subject for "My Campus," an N-G feature spotlighting memorable places and spaces on and off campus.

Where Mr. Right popped the question

We actually got engaged at Alexander's Steakhouse. But the story behind it involves math. When we were in college as math majors, we took a class together called Combinatorics. The professor taught us a card trick that made people think we were reading each other's minds, but really we were using combinatorics to count cards.

We would always do it for our friends, being the math nerds that we are. On the day we got engaged, Steve asked me to do the card trick at dinner with our friends and family and when he handed me the cards, they said ‘Will you Marry Me’ on them.

For a convenient COVID test ...

I love going to the Union. It's super quick and I've gone over 20 times this year. Since my class is fully online, it gives me an excuse to go to the Quad, which I love.

No place like home

I lived in Busey-Evans Residence Hall my freshman and sophomore years. I loved living there because it was close to the Quad and had great food on Fridays. Oodles.

Favorite hangout that is no more

Firehaus. I loved watching Illini football and basketball there, doing trivia there, Wednesday night karaoke, and getting $5 fishbowls back in the day.

First place I'd take visitors if I were showing off the best of campus

As a math major and math lover, I'd definitely say Altgeld Hall. It's beautiful.

Where I interviewed for my first UI job

Illini Hall is the Statistics Building and that's where I did my interview. Now, my office is there.

My ideal setting to teach in

I've taught introductory statistics to over 20,000 students during my time working at UIUC. The class I'm most known for teaching is called Stat 100.

I started teaching when I was 24 years old and I remember being terrified because there were 150 students in my class.

Now, I teach in Lincoln Hall Theater and Stat 100 has about 600 students in each section. It's my favorite place to teach.

Top Campustown spot to eat or drink

I love BrewLab on campus. My coworker introduced it to me recently and it's lovely. My go-to order is an oat milk latte.

Where I was when I got great news

The best piece of professional news I've gotten was that I got this job teaching statistics at UIUC. I remember getting the call when I was at the Research Park working at my internship.

I was ecstatic. I love teaching, I love meeting so many new students each semester, and I think statistics is one of the most important classes for college students to take, regardless of their major. It was my dream job.

Favorite section of a UI library

In grad school, I enjoyed studying at Grainger Library. There was a pink room on one of the upper floors that I always went to that was extra quiet and peaceful.

Entertainment go-to venue

Memorial Stadium. I worked there as event staff when I was an undergrad and I try to go to as many home football games as I can.

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DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS: Flanagan Wins both LAS and Campus Teaching Awards