Lakeland University Blog

Serving students in passion for Outstanding Adjunct winner

Serving students in passion for Outstanding Adjunct winner


Serving students in passion for Outstanding Adjunct winner

Julie Hodges understands where her Lakeland students are coming from because she’s been there.

An adjunct instructor in Lakeland’s master of arts in counseling program for 16 years at the Green Bay Center, Hodges understands the lifestyle of a non-traditional student because she was one. She served in the U.S. Air Force from 1990-97 and was honorably discharged as a Desert Storm veteran. During that time, she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“I had to work with my professors to make college work,” Hodges said. “I want to make college work for my students, too.”

For her efforts in and out of the classroom, Hodges has been named the inaugural winner of Lakeland’s Outstanding Kellett Adjunct Award. The award goes to a teacher who:

  • Recognizes the value of the adult learner’s life experiences and is receptive to the issues and concerns of their students and supportive of their students in and out of the academic setting; and
  • Demonstrates flexibility and understanding in dealing with non-traditional students while holding true to the integrity of the course, program and institution.

Hodges is known for doing what it takes to meet students where they are, including offering alternate assignments and meeting students at a different time. That doesn’t mean the content is easier.

“The big thing for me is the bar stays high,” said Hodges, who has worked as school psychologist for the past 20 years, the last six with the Denmark School District. “If you’re going to walk that stage and Lakeland University is going to be on the diploma, you represent me as an instructor, and I want you ready for that world when you leave class. We never skimp on curriculum and learning.”

Comments from Lakeland students who nominated Hodges for the award show that her approach has powerful impact:

  • “Julie's knowledge base and ability to make content relatable is the best that I've had at Lakeland and in other master's programs. The quality of her instruction is superior to every other professor, and I've had a handful of really good ones at Lakeland.”
  • “She checks in on the ‘pulse’ of the class often and does what she can to make requirements achievable WITHOUT excusing or reducing them. Many teachers will simply cut things out if something is stressful. Julie might do that (she is reasonable), but she is more likely to create more work for herself to ensure fewer obstacles for her students to reach the same goal.”
  • “From the very first class that I had that was taught by Julie, I could tell that she was teaching at Lakeland to truly make a difference in the future counselors in the program. She is the most respectful teacher I have had in this program, but also found a way to balance being respectful with being able to push us to become our best selves.”
  • “Julie is the perfect blend of validating and encouraging. She knows that things can happen that may affect our academic performance, but she will also make sure she sets you up for success.”

Hodges’ classes are often filled with educators, and she takes advantage of their life experiences. A portion of her class each week focuses on students sharing what they are experiencing in their schools and any professional development they’ve attended.

“A lot of my students are in the field or getting into the counseling field, so there are all these situations they want to share and get feedback from each other,” said Hodges, who has a master’s in special education and an education specialist degree in school psychology.

“How we learn is made up of our history and background and impacts our perspectives. We take a section each week are our perspectives, do we have any biases we need to work on, do we need to work on ourselves. It’s me learning from them and them learning from each other.”

Hodges was among the first faculty hired in Lakeland’s MAC program, so she’s seen the program grow and values being able to provide input as the program has evolved to stay current.

“I think we’re constantly doing better and getting better,” Hodges said. “We have a referral system in place for our students if they need mental health support themselves to handle those extra stressors. We come together and as staff we’re listened to when we say, ‘This is what we need next, this is what our students are telling us we need.’”

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