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  • JoTaylorLarge

Jo Taylor

  • Program: Instructor, Food Service/Hospitality (Program Chair)

    Education/Industry Certifications: Master of Arts degree, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Registered Dietitian; Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist

    Has taught at SCC since: 1983

    Years of work experience outside SCC: 9 years professionally working as a dietitian. However, I have worked since I was 14, many of those years in food service.

    Describe your teaching philosophy.
    My teaching philosophy is focused on developing a relationship with the students. I find out where they are in their lives, what they have accomplished, what their goals are, and determine how to draw upon their strengths. That is much easier done with program students than it is for my Basic Nutrition class where I have 40 in a class and only see them for a quarter.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
    I decided to teach at a community college because I was working at a hospital and taught classes for cardiac rehab and decided I liked teaching. When the job at SCC became available, I applied because I wanted to learn and expand my horizons. I found out you really learn your topic when you teach it.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?
    Prospective students can expect an education in food service which will give them the basic understanding and skills of the profession to be employed. That is our mission statement. We also have a professional, friendly and personable faculty, and we all understand that we are here for students. We have, as a program, worked very hard to meet our accreditation standards and meet all the expectations of the College, which only benefits students.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
    Experiences I bring from outside SCC to enhance student learning are that I worked in the profession nine years before I came and four years prior to that in restaurants, clubs and bars. I do consulting work on the side in my spare time. In Nutrition class it is easy to bring in true-to-life experiences of the ages and stages of my children and now my grandchildren and, unfortunately, of aging patients and Alzheimer's. I am active in my profession by being involved in my professional organizations and of course do continuing education regularly to keep up my registration, licensure and for my own intellectual growth.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
    The advice I give students pursuing a degree in our program is to be able to use both their technical skills and their people skills to grow in their career. They need to be able to dream but also to be realistic. We have a project in seminar class where they pick a goal they are passionate about, research it and report to the class the steps they would have to take to make that goal realistic. This can be a real eye-opener for them. We also recommend that they work while they are in school so they can better apply their education and know whether this is a career for them.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?
    I enjoy the energy students bring to the building. I love the first day of classes, meeting new people and just feeling the dynamics of each class. I like advising because I get to know the students better on a one-to-one basis. The best thing about my job is watching them grow and develop, both in their skill level and in their confidence. I also am blessed with a great team to work with. We share a common goal.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
    The best part of being an SCC faculty member is the freedom to have an idea and run with it. We are allowed to make changes as we see fit without having to wait to accomplish what we want. New ideas are encouraged, and it keeps us from ever being bored. We have the best faculty in our program, and we all respect each other and are a cohesive team. That makes it fun to come to work. I am proud to say I teach at SCC as we are an established reputable college and department.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
    I could not pick one proudest moment of being an instructor as there are many. However, I think when a graduate or even a current student gets the job that is a perfect fit for them, that is the very best I feel about my job. We keep good communication with many of our graduates, and I have been at SCC so long that I have graduates hiring graduates. I even have children of graduates in the program. It makes us feel proud that they want to hire our students or send their children to our program. We also have students who have done incredible things with their careers and come back and tell us how helpful our faculty and program was to their success.

    What do you like to do when you're not teaching?
    When I'm not teaching, my favorite thing is to spend time with our grandchildren (of course they are the cutest and smartest grandchildren ever). My husband and I enjoy eating out, and I love it because there is usually a graduate or student wherever we go. We also tend to our mothers' needs.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?
    I can't think of anything the students would be surprised to know about me as I'm pretty much an open book. They might not know that I lived in a sod house in the Sandhills my first two years of life, or that I attended country grade school until fifth grade and that my house is full of antiques.

    Is there anything you'd like to add?
    I would just like to add that working at SCC for the last 31 years has been a job that has kept me challenged and rewarded, and I have never had a day that I have felt even close to being bored. I am grateful to my co-workers, my dean, the administration and the college as a whole for making my time at SCC such a great experience.