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:
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:
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.’”