Get to Know HFC: Cynthia Stiller focuses on the importance of civic literacy
Cynthia Stiller never expected to study political science, much less teach it. She hated talking about politics as a child.
“But that’s all my dad wanted to talk about!” recalled Stiller.
She listened well and came to understand those lively discussions about the political landscape locally, nationally, and internationally. During her undergrad days at Michigan State University, her peers taking political science classes would ask for her help – and she wasn’t even enrolled in their classes. But she provided helpful answers for them.
“I realized that I was good at political science,” said Stiller. “I used to read about politics in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, anything to procrastinate rather than studying for my physics and chemistry classes,” she added, laughing. “I was originally a medical technology major at MSU. That lasted a year before I switched majors.”
“Teaching has become my passion”
Born in Flint, Stiller is eldest of three. She has been married to Rick Treusch for 24 years and lives in Grosse Pointe Woods. They have five children and five grandchildren. Stiller graduated from Berkley High School, where she participated in track and marching band.
Stiller continued her athletic career at MSU, where she ran track. She earned her bachelor’s degree from MSU in political science and education. She later earned her master’s in public administration from the University of Detroit Mercy (then University of Detroit). At Wayne State University, she completed doctoral work in world politics.
Her peers at UDM complimented her about her presentations, encouraging her to go into teaching and to apply at HFC (then Henry Ford Community College). The late John Smith, who taught political science at HFC, hired Stiller.
“I really enjoy my students,” she said. “Teaching has become my passion.”
Fellow HFC political science instructor Dr. Anthony Perry has worked with Stiller for more than 20 years.
“Cynthia Stiller is a caring, diligent educator who works tirelessly to ensure students' success,” said Perry. “She has consistently been regarded as one of the best teachers here at HFC.”
Stiller enjoys watching students grow and develop
Stiller has been at HFC since 1990. She also taught at Macomb Community College and Schoolcraft College.
“I was drawn to the College because I enjoyed the diversity of our students,” she said.
In 2004, Stiller became a full-time faculty member. She also served as the associate dean for the School of Liberal Arts for 4.5 years.
“That was long enough. I left that position because I missed being on faculty and wanted to return to the classroom,” said Stiller. “Teaching is one of my favorite things to do. I love the camaraderie of my colleagues. I love getting to know my students and watching them change and develop over the course of the semester.”
Stiller and fellow political science instructor Dr. Eric Rader were hired as full-time instructors in the same semester and have worked closely together ever since.
"I have always appreciated Cynthia's passion for the work we do,” said Rader. “Political science isn't always our students' favorite class, yet she works hard to get them interested. Cynthia has been a key player in the planning of our annual Student Political Issues Conventions over the last 19 years and offers practical ideas about how to engage our students in the political process. She understands why civic literacy matters and appreciates its importance to the students we serve at HFC."