Janet Becker Named PTK Professor of the Year
Janet Becker was both a traditional and a nontraditional student. From her perspective in the classroom, it’s another opportunity to say, “I’ve been there,” and one of the reasons students named her 2010 PTK Professor of the Year.
Her students praise her extra effort to make complicated material more understood as well as her concern for them and their achievements, according to Sarah Myers, public relations officer for Beta Beta Theta, the Lancaster Campus chapter of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Myers announced Becker as 2010 PTK Professor of the Year during the annual honors convocation.
“She has excellent teaching skills, she is available to students, she spends long hours preparing for class and she stays current in her profession,” Myers said.
Traditional to Nontraditional
“I went back to school full time at age 25, with two young children,” Becker said.
She began teaching evening classes as an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown while working as a corporate accountant during the day. In order to accept an instructor position, Becker agreed to complete a master’s degree.
She earned an MBA from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. A certified public accountant, Becker served as a visiting assistant professor of business and accounting at the Johnstown Campus and has worked in public and corporate accounting.
Fostering Learning, Sharing Experiences
“Courses change to meet the students’ needs," she said. "It’s my role to foster as much learning as possible.”
“Most of my students are already working and want the degree or certification to get ahead. They offer [in class] what’s happening at their workplaces, which is really helpful to the traditional students,” she added.
Becker also shares her real-world experience.
“Students are most attentive when I talk about cash, when I say, ‘Here’s why… And I tell them stories about theft.’”
Inspired by Her Students
“I’m surprised by how hard they are willing to work, willing to juggle,” Becker shared.
And what if her students don’t do well?
“Again, I’m awed and inspired by their desire to succeed, and their apologies when they think that they have disappointed me,” she explained.
Rather than arrange help sessions, Becker wants to be fair to all of her students and schedules plenty of time to meet with them individually. So it’s no surprise that recent graduate Karah Mokas, who spoke on behalf of the students, thanked Becker.
“She made me feel like I was her only priority,” Mokas said.
PHOTO: Janet Becker receives her PTK Professor of the year award at Honors Convocation.