Making the Grade
College Faculty Recognized for Excellence
Krista L. Jackman
Krista Jackman didn’t set out to be a pivotal influence on UNH students’ first year college experience. But for many fledgling Wildcats making the transition from high school to college, she has been exactly that, giving them a critical tool kit to chart a course for academic success at UNH.
For the past six years, Jackman has been a lecturer in the English department teaching English 401, freshman composition. Required of virtually all of the 3,500 freshmen who matriculate each year, English 401 is the University’s most widely taken class. It is also perhaps the most underappreciated.
“A lot of students, especially those who aren’t in the liberal arts, think ‘oh, ugh, freshman composition. What’s the use of that?’” Jackman says. “Well, the fact is strong communication skills are essential in every discipline. If I’ve done my job right, they leave my class with a skill set that allows them to focus on content for the rest of their college careers, whether they’re writing lab reports or business proposals or analytical essays.”
By all accounts Jackman does do her job right. Students rave about her—she’s been referred to as “the greatest” and “a superhero with English papers.”
Jackman is known for the enthusiasm and ingenuity she brings to her material. She ties assignments into the annual University Dialogue, helping students create connections not only with one another, but also with the greater UNH community. She’s also introduced rich media instruction into her course.
Watch a video portrait of Krista L. Jackman.
“As students are asked to use video and music and photos in more and more of their classes, someone needs to be offering them guidance on everything from the most effective ways to use those media to more nuts and bolts issues like copyright and proper citation. That’s where I come in.”
It’s clear that Jackman loves teaching English 401. “College freshmen are at such a great age,” she says. “They’re so enthusiastic, just figuring everything out, and it’s all going wonderfully and poorly at the same time. You spend the day with 72 18-year-olds and tell me that something funny, engaging, tragic, or terrific isn’t going to happen.”
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