Senior Lecturer in Communication Honored as Collins Outstanding ProfessorMarch 21, 2019
by Gabrielle White, student newswriter, Baylor University Media and Public Relations
WACO, Texas (March 21, 2019) – Jane Damron, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the department of communication in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences, has been selected as the 2019 Collins Outstanding Professor, an honor voted on annually by the senior class.
The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation to recognize and honor outstanding teachers at Baylor University.
“Words can’t fully describe how surprised, honored, happy and grateful I felt when I found out I had been selected as this year’s recipient,” Damron said. “It is very special, meaningful and humbling. I’m deeply thankful for this recognition and for every senior who voted. I’m also reminded of the professors in my own life whose classroom style, love for students and passion for their subject matter made such an impression on me as an undergrad and heavily influenced how I approach my job now.”
The Collins Professor receives a cash award of $10,000, recognition in University publications, citation on a plaque and recognition at the spring commencement ceremony. Damron also will deliver a special lecture on a subject of her choice. This lecture is published and made available to the University community.
“The main courses I teach are Interpersonal Communication and Nonverbal Communication and, as a scholar, I focus primarily on social support in close relationships,” Damron said. “Therefore in my lecture, I’ll be diving into how these fascinating topics inform my teaching practices and how these areas of scholarship can impact the quality of our lives and relationships,” she said.
Damron’s areas of research include the ways in which relational partners jointly and commutatively navigate periods of stress and transition. Damron seeks to understand how the concept of social support, or “supportive communication,” in close relationships is related to coping and relational quality.
“Dr. Damron is so deserving of this honor,” said Shelby Zimmerman, a senior communications major from Georgetown, Texas. “She sets herself apart from others by caring more about the student than about their grades. Dr. Damron lets each student know that while what we learn in the classroom is important, our value and wellbeing is the highest priority. She has mentored me throughout the last four years in and outside of the classroom, helping me grow academically as well as personally.”
Damron recently completed her Ph.D. in communication from the University of Texas at Austin while also teaching at Baylor as a senior lecturer.
“She embraces the scholar-teacher model,” said David Schlueter, Ph.D., professor and chair of communication. “She is both a teacher committed to high quality undergraduate teaching and a scholar dedicated to the construction of rigorous and publishable research. Her scholarship on supportive communication keeps her connected to the discipline of communication. It also enables her as a classroom teacher to create a relevant and updated educational experience for her students in her interpersonal communication and nonverbal communication classes.”
Damron’s teaching goal is to motivate and facilitate her students’ development as critical thinkers and lifetime learners. Her inspiration for teaching comes from the belief that communication impacts the nature and quality of relationships, that the nature and quality of relationships impact the overall quality of life and the discipline of communication is a gateway through which people explore the significant role communication plays in the human experience.
Damron said that in her view it is through cultivating a culture of openness, trust and discussion that students are empowered to explore new and different ideas and to think critically about a variety of issues.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.