By Jacqueline Scholten |Staff Writer|
Interrupted in the midst of his lecture, Todd Jennings, professor of education, was greeted by CSUSB President Dr. Albert K. Karnig and his entourage presented him with CSUSB’s Outstanding Professor of the Year.
More than 40 colleagues, administration, faculty members and past winners of the award joined Karnig and the others cramming into the small class room at the top of the College of Education building to offer Jennings congratulations.
“Make sure you have the right person,” said Jennings in disbelief.
Karnig ensured the students that he had the right teacher, and told them that Jenning’s success is partially because of the students’ comments on their evaluation forms.
This is why he said that this honor is awarded to the teacher in front of the students, because without their positive comments, it would not have been possible.
He went on to quote one student’s evaluation where the student said that he had three different courses with Jennings and he was the best teacher he had ever had.
The student said that even after the class had ended, he would drive home with the radio off so that he could think about what was said in class.
“I have had one of the few pleasures not awarded to everyone-I get to do something I love,” said an appreciative Jennings. “[I have] the rare luxury to go to bed at night and not wonder if what I do matters.”
Jennings will be given a $1,000 check, $3,000 for professional development and he will also be recognized at the faculty lunch, commencement and at the annual Golden Apple award banquet hosted by the mayor of San Bernardino on March 29.
Jennings is the director of gender and sexuality studies at CSUSB. He has taught courses in developmental psychology, educational psychology and diversity issues within educational contexts.
He also teaches in the educational leadership doctorate program.
“It is so awesome that he won, he is very deserving. He is bold, honest and enthusiastic. His classes are always exciting. He challenges you, and pushes you to think in a different way than you are used to. I wish more teachers were like him,” said student Renee Etcheberria.
Jennings has published more than 25 scholarly pieces, edited a book, several chapters and encyclopedia entries.
He has traveled all over the country to different professional meetings and conferences to present 37 different papers.
“He is a good colleague – putting an oar in the water and pulling in the next of the people is what marks Jennings,” said Karnig.
Jenning’s community involvement includes volunteering for the past three years as a consultant in Human Rights Education for Human Rights Watch.
In the past he has served as a member of the Regional Planning Group and the Human Rights Education Steering Committee for Amnesty International.