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Professor’s extra focus on students earns award from MTSU organization

MTSU’s student chapter of the National Federation of the Blind has recognized an MTSU criminal justice professor’s student-focused teaching with a special award.

Dr. Elizabeth Quinn, right, an assistant professor of criminal justice at MTSU , displays her Educator of the Year Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At left is Quinn Howard, the student who nominated her.

Dr. Elizabeth Quinn, right, an assistant professor of criminal justice at MTSU , displays her Educator of the Year Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At left is Quinn Howard, the student who nominated her. (Photos submitted)

Dr. 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 organization.

The student who nominated her was Quinn Howard, a psychology major from Nashville, Tennessee, and president of the student organization. NFB TN logo web

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.

Howard recalled that his professor explained on the first day of class that it was her “first year at MTSU [and] 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.

Danielle Baghernejad, left, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, displays her Honorable Mention Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At right is Kira McCall, the student who nominated her.

Danielle Baghernejad, left, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, displays her Honorable Mention Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At right is Kira McCall, the student who nominated her.

The Honorable Mention Award went to Danielle Baghernejad, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Kira McCall, a journalism major from Nashville, Tennessee, and the student group’s vice president, nominated Baghernejad.

“After I showed the professor how my computer was handling the math problems,” said McCall, who took an algebra class from Baghernejad, “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.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)