FSHN has a relatively new instructor, Toni Gist, who has a passion for teaching nutrition.  She graduated from UIUC with two advanced degrees focusing on the body’s response to nutrition and exercise.  Although she only began teaching at UIUC Fall 2017, she has been teaching nutrition at the college level for 20+ years.  During her tenure, she has been recognized with both local and national teaching awards.  Additionally, she continues to receive positive recognition through UIUC formal course/instructor evaluations and social media.

When students shared what they learned Spring 2020, one student stated:

Toni thought me a lot of other things, such as looking at the ingredients; investigating the serving size of snacks; how to fix my plate; and without Toni knowing she showed me things I need to cook for me to receive all the nutrients I need. It took me some time to follow what Toni was teaching me to have a healthy lifestyle and I am still learning. I lost 25lbs already from listening to everything Toni has taught me. However, Toni did not just help my diet style, but she helps me to become a better future nurse/doctor to help my patients. Thank you, Toni and the amazing teaching staff.

The first semester Toni taught the class at UIUC, a guest lecturer came to the podium to ask about the impact of the class to the students.

The guest lecturer posed the following polling true/false question: “taking FSHN 120 this semester has FOREVER changed my view about food and how I can manage my risk for disease” and an astounding 88% of the students responded with a “true” sharing the positive impact the class had on their life. 

The  instructor regularly receives personal e-mails from students sharing their thoughts.  Below is an excerpt from a student e-mail:

“Your dedication to supporting each of your students, both in terms of their academic and personal well-being, is unmatched by any professor I’ve ever had. I really feel like after taking this class I have lifelong knowledge and skills that will help me not just maintain good grades but take care of my health as a whole person throughout my college career. This has really made a difference in my first semester of college. Thank you!”

This newly revised class has an amazing student success rate as well as:

  • A caring teaching team 
    • personal e-mails to students who are struggling
    • reaching out to students who miss class
    • students are invited for coffee and conversation with the lead instructor
  • Varied teaching methods including: 
    • instructor created videos and video quizzes
    • a dynamic classroom environment both in-house and online
    • personalized dietary assessment with specific feedback to each student on how to become a healthier individual
  • Small classroom feel with:
    • personal responses to student e-mails with most answered <1 hour
    • a ratio of less than 40 students per teaching team member
    • FSHN 120 specific Tutoring Center
    • Tea Time with the teaching team
    • Paws and reflect on nutrition with the course mascot, Oskee the black lab

If you are still solidifying your class schedule and would like to speak to the instructor personally about FSHN 120 or other classes she teaches, reach out via email at Burkhalt@Illinois.edu