Teaching ‘natural fit’ for BCTC instructor

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bluegrass Community and Technical College instructor Jean Jackson said she has been excited about learning new things ever since her school years in England, where she grew up and went to college.

That passion for learning made her a natural fit for teaching after she moved to the U.S. and grew tired of her previous job doing research at the University of Kentucky.

“The world of research got very cutthroat, especially, I think, for women,” Jackson said. “BCTC was a really good fit, I like teaching at this level.”

After joining BCTC, Jackson began teaching general biology before she helped to pioneer the anatomy and physiology courses that are commonly taken by nursing and other medical students in Winchester.

But she was not content to stick solely with one field of study.

“In 2005 I took a sabbatical to get my nutrition credentials, so I teach that as well,” Jackson said.

While she still teaches anatomy and physiology, Jackson said she enjoys her work in nutrition for several reasons. First, she described it as a dynamic field where new studies are constantly making new information available for study. Nutrition is also largely taught through online courses, making it a technical challenge as well.

“It helps to keep you abreast of technology advances,” she said. “You have to keep up with it.”

In addition to teaching Jackson, like other BCTC staff, is heavily involved in advising for students, which she says is an aspect of her job that she loves that differs a bit from what is found at state universities.

 She said that while instructors at four-year institutions do some advising, it’s considered a critical part of her job at BCTC, making up 16 to 17 percent of her workload. She attributed that partially to the number of transfer students who will later move on to a state university, and said another part of it is that some students just need more general help navigating academic channels.

While Jackson is a Lexington resident, she said she has enjoyed working in Clark County in particular because of its regional differences with the Lexington campuses.

“I really have enjoyed Winchester,” she said. “I find they’re very motivated. many of them paying for themselves and they have jobs and families and kids and all that, so they’re a little different from many of the students (in Lexington).”

When she’s not teaching or advising, Jackson said she enjoys putting what she has learned about nutrition into practice by coming up with and preparing new meals at home. In addition, she loves to read nonfiction books that can teach her something new.

“We obviously do a lot of reading in-house,” she said. “But I do love to read.”