Each year, the student body rewards four to five university faculty for their teaching excellence and overall contributions to higher education with the title of University Professor. The 2008-09 honorees are Josephine Bloomfield, Jennifer Chabot, Barry Tadlock, Nancy Tatarek and Scott Titsworth.
Jennifer Chabot, School of Human and Consumer Sciences
I graduated from Michigan State University for both my undergraduate and Ph.D., spending time in between working in residence life at the University of Richmond in Virginia. While obtaining my Ph.D., I worked in service-learning, gaining teaching experience through graduate assistantships.
I began my Ph.D. in family and child development, training to become a marriage and family therapist (MFT). As I proceeded with the MFT focus, I realized my heart was more into teaching others about family issues rather than actually conducting therapy. My entire professional career has been on a college campus, and it's the setting that excites, energizes and challenges me. I'll always be in this professional arena.
As part of my quest to stay on top of my discipline, I participated in the most exciting, powerful and moving experience of my professional life: my fall 2006 sabbatical at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
I completed a 15-week, 560-hour internship in the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department and met all of the requirements of CHOP's very intensive child life specialist internship program. I spent the majority of my rotation working in the oncology inpatient unit directly with children diagnosed with cancer, their parents and siblings. The experiences and strength I witnessed in these children and families will stay with me forever.
Last June, I took the child life specialist certifying exam and am now certified in this profession. Along with this certification came the creation of four new child life focused courses for both graduate and undergraduate students in family studies who are pursuing the field of child life. My research agenda is also focused on child life professionals and the experiences of hospitalized children and their families.
I sincerely consider the University Professor Award to be an incredible honor. Knowing the process is generated and conducted by students makes the award even more meaningful. I feel so lucky to be recognized for an aspect of my job that I love and have such passion for -- and that I am surrounded by and get to work with such amazing students.