State Fair Community College celebrated a time-honored tradition on May 7 with the announcement of the 2021 Instructor, Adjunct and Staff Member of the Year recipients. Students nominated 89 candidates for the three awards, and a committee of student leaders selected the winners.
Kelsey Glassmaker is SFCC’s 2021 Instructor of the Year. She has been a Nursing instructor at SFCC since 2018 and serves as the chair for the Nursing programs’ Curriculum Committee. In her response essay for the nomination, Glassmaker wrote that her goal is to help students in their journey to become a nurse by standing beside them, encouraging growth and instilling in them the value of being educated beyond one’s area of study.
Students nominating Glassmaker for the award spoke of her deep concern for their success, even to the point of changing how she teaches to fit students’ learning needs and to help them understand the material. One student wrote, “Kelsey engages all her students over Zoom; she makes lectures interesting, incorporates helpful activities … she gives us practical information we will need in the healthcare field, and she shows she cares about every one of her students.”
Dean of Health Sciences, Dr. Rhonda Hutton Gann said, “Kelsey is a true asset. She is kind, gentle, thoughtful, and student centered, yet holds students accountable. She is highly engaged in helping our students and program succeed, and in the words of one of her colleagues, ‘she is just an amazing human!’”
Jennifer Jackson is SFCC’s 2021 Adjunct of the Year. Jackson has taught English and public speaking since 2006 and also serves as the Instructional Resource Technician for English in the Tutoring Center. In her response essay, Jackson stated her motivation for teaching comes from a passion to be a lifelong learner and to instill that value of education in the students she encounters. Her time as a student at SFCC made her realize the importance of education and how it can transform lives in not only building a more well-rounded character but also in increasing opportunities.
Students who nominated Jackson for Adjunct of the Year all commented on her positive and caring attitude and her willingness to go “above and beyond” to help them learn and be confident in public speaking. One student wrote Jackson would even ask if they needed help in other classes with revising papers. Another student praised her for making the return to on-ground classes during the pandemic easier, and wrote, “It was scary coming into my first class on my first day not knowing what all the class would entail. Ms. Jackson welcomed me with a great (masked) smile. I felt so welcomed in her classroom all semester. I am not a very confident person when it comes to public speaking, but she helped me gain my confidence.”
Dean of Academic Affairs James Cunningham said of Jackson, “She is the ideal instructor. She cares about students, does a great job and gets along with everyone. She has the drive to do a great job in the classroom.”
Danika Doyle is SFCC’s 2021 Staff of the Year. Doyle is Coordinator of Nursing Success and has worked at the college since 2014. Before the world was “turned upside down” in dealing with a historic pandemic, Doyle viewed a student-centered attitude as striving to be her “personal best” as a coordinator. Now, her idea of student-centeredness has taken on a new meaning as both she and her students worked together to meet the challenges of learning from home. Doyle asked her students to share their “new hurdles” and together they worked on developing plans to overcome fears and stumbling blocks to ensure they would still be successful.
Students who nominated Doyle commented about her passion for helping them understand concepts from lectures and using a variety of activities and tools to help them gain confidence and deal with stress. One student wrote, “She has to supply many boxes of Kleenex for all of us who feel like we won’t survive the program, or when we mourn the loss of another classmate from our cohort.” Another student commented Doyle always makes time to listen and works around our schedules so we can have the time we need with her to be successful.
“Students find Danika easy to talk to, and she will often help them decipher their challenges to find solutions,” said Hutton Gann. “In addition, Danika has been a key member of a team in nursing that developed and implemented an evidence-based proactive student success tool–one of the first of its kind in the country.”
All honorees received plaques and their photos will be displayed in the Yeater Learning Center lobby on the Sedalia campus. They also will lead the procession of faculty and staff at commencement May 14.