Glenwood Springs teacher receives top honor from CMC
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Had chemical biology captured Sandy Jackson’s interest a bit more, her life would have turned out a little differently than it has.
Instead of recently being selected as Colorado Mountain College’s adjunct faculty of the year, for both the Roaring Fork Campus and the entire CMC system, Jackson might have been living elsewhere making a living as a physical therapist, if she could have just made it though one semester.
“It only took one semester of biology to know that it was not for me,” Jackson said.
Her time at Boston’s Simmons College was short-lived before returning to more familiar ground at Fort Lewis College in Durango. At Fort Lewis she turned her attention to one thing that held her interest well: playing in the dirt.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors,” Jackson admits readily.
She attributes growing up on a ranch just south of Glenwood Springs, the place she still calls home today, as one main reason for her love of the outdoors.
“Growing up here, my parents had a love of the outdoors,” she said. “We went camping a lot and took many trips out west to places like Mesa Verde. So, I’ve always had an interest in things like that.”
Her time at Fort Lewis earned her a bachelor’s degree in southwest studies before receiving a master’s degree in anthropology with an emphasis in archeology from Colorado State University. That’s about the time her relationship with CMC began.
“My mother cut out an ad from the newspaper that CMC had an open position,” Jackson said.
Jackson became the associate director and part-time instructor for the Outdoor Semester in the Rockies program at the CMC campus in Leadville.
“It seemed like a job tailor-made for me,” Jackson said.
She held that position for 13 years before semi-retiring, she said, then becoming an adjunct professor of archeology and anthropology at the Roaring Fork Campus in 2004.
“I had thought I would like to teach a class or two,” Jackson said. “It’s so much fun to work with students I just couldn’t stay away.”
Her honor of adjunct faculty member or the year reflects her passion for the job.
“There are a lot of lessons we can learn from past cultures,” Jackson said. “They all faced the same issues we face ” food, water, shelter. Some have been successful, and some have not. Maybe we can draw from those cultures to see how they dealt with similar issues we face.”
And it came as quite a touching moment for Jackson as well when her husband, James Campbell, her parents and several CMC faculty, including CMC president Bob Spuhler, interrupted her physical anthropology class to tell her of the selection.
“It was a moment that brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “I was very honored to be chosen.”
CMC recognizes two faculty members, one adjunct and one full-time position, from each of the seven campuses for their professional excellence. CMC administration then selects two faculty from the finalists as collegewide recipients of the award.
It was a well-deserved honor for Jackson.
“It was really a very special moment for me,” she said. “I had known that the Roaring Fork Campus had chosen me, but I didn’t know the total adjunct campus had chosen me.”
With the honor, Jackson plans to continue doing what earned her the honor in the first place: sharing her interest in archeology and anthropology to a younger generation.
“I don’t plan to stop at this point,” Jackson said with a joyful chuckle. “I still love teaching, I love working with the students. I think I’ll keep doing it for a while.”
Who needs chemical biology anyway.
Contact John Gardner: 384-9114
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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