MURFREESBORO — Take Manfred Mann’s lyric “You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn,” multiply it by two and you’ll have a story of MTSU student-centeredness rewarded by appreciation.
Elizabeth Quinn, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration, is the recipient of this year’s Educator of the Year award from the MTSU student chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.
The student who nominated her was Quinn Howard, a psychology major from Nashville, Tennessee, and president of the student organization.
Howard described Quinn as “a phenomenal professor with unbelievable patience. Whenever I needed help with a class assignment, or when I had questions after lectures, Dr. Quinn explained the various concepts in multiple ways until I understood them.”
Quinn, who taught Howard in her “Women in Crime” class, counts victimology and victim studies, females and criminal justice, police/community relations, stress management and disaster response and criminal justice among her research interests.
According to Howard, Quinn said to her on the first day of class, “This is my first year at MTSU. I have very little experience accommodating students with disabilities, but I will do my absolute best to make sure you have all material in an accessible format.”
Quinn received a certificate of recognition and a personalized white cane at an April 21 ceremony.
The Honorable Mention Award went to Danielle Baghernejad, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She was nominated by Kira McCall, a journalism major from Nashville, Tennessee, and the student group’s vice president.
McCall, who took an algebra class from Baghernejad, said, “After I showed the professor how my computer was handling the math problems, she proactively arranged a meeting with the adaptive tech coordinator to figure out if there was any way that I could do my homework using MyMathLab (an online math resource).”
Although McCall still encountered accessibility issues, she said Baghernejad “made the necessary changes to make the homework assignments as accessible as possible, even if the process is not perfect yet.”
The Educator of the Year Award is presented to an individual who:
· Ensures that blind students have equal access to every aspect of the course;
· Is willing to grant requested accommodations;
· Sends course materials in the requested format in enough time for them to be made accessible;
· Recognizes the unique learning style of each disabled student who enters his or her classroom;
· Works closely with students to address and overcome any unexpected challenges that may arise;
· Treats each student with dignity, equality and respect.
“You have to be persistent in getting accessibility, but you also have to be patient,” said John Harris, former director of the MTSU Office of Disabled Student Services, now the Disability and Access Center.