The Alumni Association will honor 21 NC State professors on Thursday for their outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field. We talked (via email) with some of the recipients about their work and the keys to being a successful professor.
Today we’re visiting with David W.W. Jones, an assistant professor of agricultural and extension education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Jones is one of seven professors being recognized with Outstanding Teacher Awards.
What is the key to being a successful teacher? It has always been my top priority as a teacher to build relationships with my students. I personally believe that the foundation of life is relationships. As a teacher we spend a great deal of time with our students and we have the opportunity to influence and impact lives. By getting to know what students want, feel and need, it allows me the opportunity to help fulfill those needs. As we go through our lives we will continue to create relationships. These relationships include our co-workers, significant others in our lives, our children and our friends. The best teachers in my life have always been those individuals that I had the strongest relationship with.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? My greatest satisfaction as a professor has come from watching my students leave my courses and go out and share what they have thought about during my courses. When I get a note from one of my former students mentioning an assignment that changed their lives or influences their attitude it makes me smile. One of my assignments early in the Introduction to Leadership course is for the student to work diligently for one week to have a, “Tigger Day” every day. A “Tigger Day” is one of those days where nothing can go wrong … everything is OK. It’s a mind set to look at ALL activities in a positive way. It is an activity that years later students come up to me and tell me their having a “Tigger Day” and smile. It’s a great day for me when someone tells me to have a “Tigger Day” because I realize that I’ve influenced others in a positive way.