NACURH Winner
Month: April 2018

NACURH, INC.

Institution Faculty/Staff of the Month

School: Truman State University Region: MACURH
Nominee: Dr. Jillian Downey Nominator: Cole Keiper

On-Campus Population: 2600 Chapter Size: 26

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

One of the strongest qualities an educator can have is a genuine care for their students within the classroom and beyond. It’s not always easy finding professors on college campuses who bond with their students besides the superficial conversations about schoolwork. A professor at Truman State University who demonstrated an ability to exceed their role as a professor is Jillian Downey of the Statistics Department. Dr. Jillian Downey deserves to be recognized as Institution Faculty/Staff of the Month for April 2018.

On April 6th, Downey facilitated the third exam for her 300 level course. As the exam time dwindled, Downey gave the class a ten minute warning. Out of time, Downey acknowledged the stress on her students’ faces as she began collecting exams with half of the class still remaining. Downey reassured her students that she recognized how many were still finishing their exams and would consider that when grading. She felt that the exam may have been too difficult or too long to complete in an hour. On April 11th, Downey passed out the graded exams and announced an opportunity to improve test scores. Exam redos are not common to see in 300 level courses, but Downey gave her students the benefit of the doubt that they studied, but either ran out of time or could not remember enough for the exam. This gesture was embraced by the entire class as they worked to get the revisions completed by the deadline.

When students attend Downey’s office hours, they always get her full attention. Downey halts her work to focus on what they are talking to her about and answers their questions to her best ability. She doesn't care if the questions do not pertain to her course or schoolwork. Downey invests time into learning more about students’ hobbies and interests and always swings conversations with students to include these topics. She has even perfected the capability to read students and know if they are in her office to talk about something more personal. Every professor at Truman State acts as a mandatory reporter for students struggling in different ways including with their mental health, but Downey intentionally and frequently checks in with students to see how they are doing. Downey’s intentionality as a professor to demonstrate a care for her students’ well-being is noticed. Every time Downey returns an assignment, she reassures her students that a grade doesn’t determine their worth and doesn’t define them. Students strive to achieve the best grade they can in their college courses, but Downey recognizes this and reminds them to take a break and focus on their personal health.

Dr. Downey was a nominee for the Institution Faculty/Staff of the Year at the Truman Bess Chapter NRHH Reception on April 26th. While Downey did not receive the OTY, she attended the reception. Downey was familiar with the array of her students that were involved within the residence halls but was excited to see all of her current and past students be recognized at the reception as well. Downey eagerly returned to her office the next day and emailed her students to congratulate them on their nominations and wins as well as informed some of the Statistics Department faculty of these students’ successes. Downey was enthusiastic to recognize her students for the hard work they put into their involvements outside of their schoolwork. Downey’s presence has been noticed and appreciated this year, particularly in the month of April. For these reasons and so many more, Dr. Jillian Downey should be recognized as the April 2018 Institution Faculty/Staff of the Month.

Word Count: 597


Date of entry into database: 2018-05-05 01:56:08

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