Alvin Community College faculty members honored Polysomnography director Jordan Rusk and Mathematics instructor Jennifer Brazil with the 2023 League of Innovation Excellence Award.
The League Excellence Award recognizes outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Recipients are recognized in a series of activities and promotions.
“I am delighted to see the League’s Excellence Awards recognize members of our outstanding ACC faculty,” ACC President Dr. Robert J. Exley said. The League for Innovation in the Community College was founded to specifically foster and support excellence. These are two talented instructors and we are so very blessed to have them as key leaders and members of our ACC Family. They demonstrate excellence in all that they do each day and model the way for each of us in their devotion to our students and student success.”
ACC administrators and faculty nominate full-time colleagues for these awards with one designated for an academic faculty and the other for technical faculty. Recipients receive commemorative medallions and certificates in recognition of the awards. Additionally, recipients attend The League’s annual conference in March to participate in professional development sessions and celebrate recognition of their Excellence Awards.
Brazil said she felt humbled at receiving an award from her fellow instructors.
“ACC is full of so many incredible educators so being selected for this award is truly humbling,” she said. “My heart is passionate about what we do in the classroom and recognition such as this is icing on the cake. As faculty, we spend most of our time on the success of our students. It's special knowing that one of my fellow faculty not only took notice of my efforts, but took time to nominate me as well.”
Brazil has been teaching at ACC since 2018 and is a lifelong dolphin. She first began her time at ACC through the kid’s college program and eventually became a student and a worker with the Admissions Office.
“ACC has always been home,” she said.
Once she completed her education, Brazil embarked on a career before finding herself back into the classroom.
“I come from a family of educators both in and out of the classroom and felt called to the classroom from early on in life,” she said. “Several years ago I stepped away from teaching and was quickly reminded that my true passion will always be helping students believe in themselves and do more than ‘survive’ the math classroom.”
Rusk graduated from the ACC Polysomnography program and returned in 2014 as an instructor. Receiving the award from her fellow instructors was an incredible honor and she was grateful for their support, she said.
“This recognition means a great deal to me, and I am truly humbled by the acknowledgment of my efforts,” she said. “This award not only reflects my individual efforts but also the collaborative spirit within my departments and the supportive environment that encourages innovation.”
Rusk chose to become an instructor after serving as a preceptor in the medical field.
“I absolutely loved teaching the students and it reignited my passion for the field of sleep medicine,” she said. “That experience opened my eyes to the difference I could make on future generations of students who wanted to pursue a career as a sleep technologist.”
One of the aspects of teaching that has helped her become a better educator is working with the students, Rusk said.
“The joy I find in teaching is immeasurable, especially observing students transition from having minimal knowledge on a subject to becoming experts in a remarkably short period,” she said. “Over the course of the last nine years, I have gained more insights from my students than I could have envisioned, confirming that my chosen career pathway is undeniably the right fit for me.”