Eugene (Gene) Kabbe | COEHS | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Eugene (Gene) Kabbe

Curriculum & Instruction

Eugene (Gene) Kabbe

Hometown:  Elmhurst, IL.
Year: First year Doctoral (Reading and Language)
Research Interests: Bilingual education

Q: How did you end up at SIU and in C&I?
A:  It’s a long story, which has many twists and turns. I retired as the director of a Non-Government Organization in the Philippines in 2005. I decided to fulfill a life-long dream to finish my bachelor’s degree, which I started at Illinois State University (ISU) in 1968. Over the years, when I returned to the States from overseas on furlough, I attended Triton College, located in River Grove, Illinois. In 2005, I finished my last semester at Triton and needed to make a choice about what university I should attend. Southern Illinois University (SIU), at the time, had one of the best state film schools in the Midwest. Since I had two sons working in the film industry in Hollywood, I thought I would get my degree in film. I came down to SIU to check it out and loved the program and the beauty of the campus, much nicer than Northern Illinois University (NIU) and ISU, which were my other choices. I started the program at SIU in the spring semester 2006.

Q: How did you get into the Ph.D. program?
A: I graduated in 2008 with my bachelor’s degree and was accepted into the SIU TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) master’s program in the school of Linguistics. I graduated in 2010 and moved to Ensenada, Mexico, to do some writing and reflection. When I ran out of money I applied to the Curriculum & Instruction Ph.D. program in the reading and language emphasis, was accepted, and moved back to Carbondale.
Q: What do you like most about the C&I department?
A: I like the fact that I can do research in the area of my master’s degree in bilingual education. So far the courses I’ve taken are helpful in my pursuit of teaching at the university level.

Q: What do you like most about SIU?
A: I’ve met so many interesting and intelligent students and faculty. I’m part of a men’s book club that meets on Thursday evening. We have non-traditional students, professors and businessmen from the community that attend. We just finished the book, The German Genius, the story of Germany from Frederick the Great to the present day. We have very stimulating conversations on a variety of subjects.

Q: What do you like most about Carbondale?
A: That the longest traffic jam is five minutes when the freight train comes through town at 3 p.m. During one of my furloughs, I lived in Naperville and commuted to Chicago for work and school. It took me one and a half hours to Chicago in the morning and longer to Naperville in the afternoon. I like the fact that we have big city cultural events at the university with a small town atmosphere.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: What spare time? In the Ph.D. program and working at the university, there isn’t much spare time. Every two months or so, a group of us from our book club go to concerts in St Louis, Chicago or Nashville for the weekend. I look forward to those days. I also try to visit my children on school holidays. They all live in California.