By Cameron Stuart | Radio Director
Dr. Jane Damron, a senior lecturer in the department of communication, was awarded the 2019 Collins Outstanding Professor Award last week after receiving the most votes from Baylor’s senior class.
As this year’s winner, Damron will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000, special recognition at the spring commencement, and be able to give a lecture of her choice in an event free to the university April 25. Before Damron’s victory this year, the department of communications’ last winner was Dr. Blair Browning in 2012.
“I remember Blair Browning winning the award, and he is someone I’ve always looked up to,” Damron said. “At that point, I thought, if I work hard enough and the stars align, I can get that, too.”
When she received the news earlier this month, Damron was not expecting to hear her name called as the winner.
“When I got the phone call, I was absolutely in shock,” Damron said. “We had about a ten minute discussion about the logistics of the award and the whole time I was having this out-of-body experience because I really didn’t think it was going to happen.”
For Dr. David Schlueter, chair of the department of communication, the award is a win not just for Damron, but for the department as a whole.
“I’m obviously very proud of Jane [Damron’s] accomplishments and it clearly speaks to her skills and abilities as a teacher and her passion for teaching,” Schlueter said. “It also speaks well of our department. We have a high standard of teaching in our department and that’s reflective of Jane’s award.”
Even students in the department, many of whom rallied together to vote for Damron, took pride in their department for winning the award. Sulphur Springs junior Sidney Dietze, who had Damron as a professor and also interns with the department of communications, shared in the pride for Damron and the department.
“The hard work and dedication she exhibits in the classroom pours right out behind the scenes,” Dietze said. “Having [Damron] win this award shows that this department is filled with professors who are top-of-the-line and changing students’ lives.”
Damron thinks her personal connection with her students is what helped her most in winning the award.
“My students have valuable and unique experiences to contribute, and I enjoy that conversational element of class,” Damron said. “I learn from the classroom just like I facilitate learning. I’m so thankful for the senior class and it is so meaningful to have these awards come from students.”
As far as the prize money goes, Damron has not decided exactly what to spend it on. Not surprising given her reputation around campus, however, she plans to make an adventure out of it.
“I will take bit of it to travel with my husband, probably to Iceland or Spain,” Damron said. “I will probably save the rest so that I can do special things for people.”
The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is given out annually by the Carr P. Collins Foundation and is awarded to the nominated professor with the most votes by the senior class.