The Louis D. Beaumont Dad’s Association Distinguished Professor Award has been presented to a full-time faculty member each year since 1968. Nominations are received from students, and a small group of invited students then choose from among those nominated who should receive the award for the year for displaying a dedication to quality teaching. This award is incredibly meaningful to faculty because it is given by students.
This week The Woods Today continues its series on WWU professors nominated for this year’s Beaumont award with American Sign Language Instructor Jessica Brown. Brown graduated from WWU in 2010 and has been teaching here for the past three years.
William Woods University is one of only a handful of schools in the Midwest that offers a degree in American Sign Language (ASL). WWU is frequently ranked among the best ASL programs in the nation. Being deaf herself, Brown is able to provide students with insight on American Sign Language and deaf culture.
She enjoys teaching her students real work applications in American Sign Language classes. Her favorite class to teach is Nonmanual Markers of ASL.
“It’s fun to see students out of their comfort zone, practicing facial expressions and word play and using creativity within storytelling,” Brown said. “It’s magical.”
One of the most memorable moments Brown had with a student was helping them grasp American Sign Language after struggling with it for three semesters.
“I can make a meaningful impact on a student’s life in avenues of education or through social events,” she said. “I like connection on a different level of communication and seeing others succeed.”
The small community and acceptance of American Sign Language on campus is what stands out to Brown the most about WWU.
“The Woods is my home, I graduated here, and I haven’t left ‘home.’”
Learn more about Jessica Brown as she answers the following questions:
How many years have you been teaching at The Woods?:
Interesting fact not many people know about you:
I joined bodybuilding and plan to compete in the future.
Favorite memory from working at The Woods:
Teaching students real world applications such as cooking food in class and using language play while learning how to cook. It was fun to see them interact with each other in ASL.
What has been your favorite class to teach and why?
NonManual Markers of ASL because it is fun to see students out of their comfort zone, practice facial expressions and word play and use creativity within storytelling. It’s magical.
Best advice to new college students:
Balance your social life with your class schedule, get to know your professors well and ask questions no matter what! Eat, sleep, and relax!
Best or most memorable moment you had with a student:
After three semesters of struggling to grasp ASL as a language and working with him countless hours, finally getting to see him see the light and flourish in ASL was when I knew he was going to enjoy the journey even more.
Why is teaching meaningful to you?:
Because I know I can make a meaningful impact on a student’s life in avenues of education or through social events. I like connecting on a different level of communication and seeing others succeed.
What stood/stands out to you about The Woods?:
The small community feel and the acceptance of ASL on campus. The Woods is my home, I graduated here, and I haven’t left “home.”