For Jarod Powell, helping his peers with work in high school evolved into teaching students in higher education. "My original, 'realistic' dream was to be a teacher, but I can't pinpoint anything that made me want to choose this profession. I never seriously considered any other options."
Powell, a Mathematics instructor at OSU Institute of Technology, received the 2020-2021 Regents Distinguished Teaching Award.
"Jarod is an invaluable asset to the students of OSUIT," said Scott Newman, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. "We are delighted to recognize his dedication to the success of his students with this prestigious award."
He has been teaching for 14 years, 11 of those years with OSUIT. His courses include College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus I, Calculus II and Discrete Math.
Powell started his career at OSUIT as a tutor, then moved to a remedial math instructor before becoming a full-time faculty member. He recognizes that mathematics is not an easy subject and that he is not an easy teacher.
"I am an instructor who teaches students how to take ownership of their learning and take pride in a job well done," said Powell.
One student who nominated Powell said he helps each student succeed.
"If we did not understand a particular subject that was being taught, Powell quickly adapted by explaining the subject with a different method," said the student. "This allowed students with different learning methods or styles to comprehend the subject."
Other nominators acknowledged that Powell is a true asset to the institution and is "a model of dedicated service and professionalism."
"The committee members were greatly impressed by Jarod's dedication to the success of his students, his flexibility and innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, his efforts to continually improve upon his courses and his generosity in sharing his time and energies outside of the classroom," said Jody Grammer, associate vice president of Academic Affairs.
Powell's preferred teaching style is interacting with students in a live, in-person class.
"We haven't had a lot of that over the last 15 or so months, but thankfully we are starting to get back to normal," said Powell. "I enjoy the experience of being in the classroom trying to help students organize their thoughts, figure things out and make sense of new information."
Although he appreciates the recognition of this award, Powell said he knows he's not perfect and is constantly improving.
"I want students to feel like they can succeed in my class regardless of the instructional modality, and I never want to lower my expectations of students," he said. "I believe that every student who enrolls in my classes can be successful, which allows me to keep the bar high in each of my courses. When students complete my course, they leave with a sense of accomplishment knowing that they've worked to achieve every course objective and earned the grade they received."