DUBOIS – Penn State DuBois Senior Instructor in English Jackie Atkins has been named the 2011 DuBois Educational Foundation (DEF) Educator of the Year. Each year the DEF presents the Educator of the Year Award to a Penn State DuBois faculty member who has made a difference in the lives of students. Nominations for the award come straight from the students themselves.
“Jackie inspires each of her students to not only learn the class material, but to apply these lessons to our everyday lives,” said one of her students, Staci Neal. “She gives us the freedom to work as individuals, while still adhering to the expectations set forth in the syllabus.”
In the numerous nominations for Atkins that were submitted, students painted a picture of an educator who goes above and beyond the call of duty each day. DEF Board Member Bob Johnson presented the award to Atkins and said, “This year’s Educator of the Year is known for caring beyond the classroom; for having a genuine interest in the lives and success of students. She not only dedicates herself to the highest standards of teaching, but is also dedicated to helping students become involved in clubs, organizations, and other activities outside of academics that provide complete, well rounded college experiences; experiences that assist students in their growth as individuals; experiences that not only help them to become good students, but great people.”
A former student, Jody Lucas Kulakowski summed up her feeling about Atkins by saying, “Jackie Atkins deserves to be given the Educator of a Lifetime Award, but if Educator of the Year is the best we can do for her right now, I urge that it be bestowed upon her.”
“I don’t feel it’s possible for me to do what I don without students taking their education into their own hands,” Atkins said upon receiving her award. “It’s a cooperative, collaborative effort.”
In addition to teaching English, Atkins also teaches Women’s Studies courses, and is program leader of the Women’s Studies minor. She is a member of the Liaison Committee to the Penn State Commission for Women, the Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/ Transgender Support Network, the Zero Tolerance for Hate Support Network, and Faculty Congress. Jackie is co-advisor to the campus SAFE Club, which stands for Students, Allies, Friends and Educators, and supports L-G-B-T efforts.
She received the the Delta Mu Sigma Susanne Waitkus Faculty Award in 2009, and was named Penn Stater of the Quarter in 2004.
Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois