SBCC FACULTY AWARD OF THE MONTH
Professor of Earth Science at SBCC since 1991
In education for 17 years
BA and MA in Geology from UCSB.
Chair of the Earth Sciences Department
Academic Senate: Vice-President and Representative from Science Division
Quotations from award nominator(s): “Jan is one of those instructors that are equally committed to her students, the department and the college… In just a short time, other faculty members have recognized her for her hard, thorough, diligent work on (campus) committees… She spends extra hours to make her department a better and more cohesive organization… What’s marvelous about Jan is her concern about her students. She will take her time to answer their questions, meet them after class and advise them anytime and anywhere… Jan certainly won’t toot her own horn. What she does and what she has accomplished for SBCC is certainly deserving of this award.”
Comments from interviewer: Jan’s interest in science began at a young age, with astronomy; she still considers herself an amateur astronomer. After graduating from high school, she had two short stints at other pursuits that weren’t science - first at a mid-west liberal arts college, and then in a local electronics industry. She returned to school at SBCC at almost 30 years of age to pursue science, and has never looked back! She spent 3 years here sampling the sciences, then earned a BA and MA in Geology from UCSB. Her husband Jeff is also a community-college geology teacher, so they have a lot to talk about!
Jan considers herself to be a poster-girl for an education at SBCC. Once an art major and a math-phobic, a summer SBCC course in beginning algebra gave her the skills and confidence to delve into all of the physical and biological sciences at SBCC, eventually to settle on geology. Her SBCC professors were such inspiring and supportive role models that she decided that joining the faculty at SBCC one day was her dream job. After 17 years of teaching at SBCC she says: “This is absolutely the best job in the world, with the best people in the world, both colleagues and students!”
Interview with Jan:
Words of Wisdom/Teaching Tip: Pay attention to your students before anything. Never minimize them... listen to them and you will learn something.
Most influential teacher: Bob Gray and Karl Halbach are tied: Karl for inspiring me to go into the earth sciences, and Bob for giving me the confidence to do so.
Hobbies: For the relaxation time I can work in, I love gardening. But for sheer excitement and an adrenaline rush, I love white-water rafting.
Reading now: Books on evolution: the works of Stephen Jay Gould, and anything about Charles Darwin. Since we’re going to the Galapagos next year, I am especially focused on Darwin right now.
Love about my job: Outside of my family, my life is centered around this school and my students, instilling in them the same love of the natural sciences that I have.
Greatest achievement/challenge: My greatest challenge/headache right now is scheduling the department and other chair stuff! My greatest achievement is watching several of my students go on to do great things in geology.
Would love to meet: Charles Darwin, to ask him so many questions!
Favorite place in the world: Alaska: it’s huge, it’s wild, and the people there are so self-sufficient. I’d like to retire to Alaska.
Motto: I have two: As a scientist, it is “Question Authority”... that is what science is all about. As a person, it is something my dad taught me, which is “If you act enthusiastic, you will be enthusiastic. He used to have us repeat this, (with enthusiasm!!) when we were being pessimistic as kids. I still repeat this regularly, and it works!