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0 Friday, February 08, 2008

Professor serves as role model for students

by Jacey Jacobs

Denise Hutchinson, the new associate professor of education, strives to bring a different atmosphere to her courses.

She teaches Learning Instruction and Assignment, Reading in the Content Area and Human Relations and Behavior Management, and always tries to have a cheerful disposition.

Hutchinson has always had a love for learning and school, largely because of her role models – her parents.

“My mother taught school, and my father promoted education as the key factor,” Hutchinson said. “They emphasized and supported it in every way. Ever since I was little, I played school and loved to hang around my teachers and even stayed late to help clean the classroom.”

Hutchinson went to school at Texas A&M-Kingsville, where she got her bachelors and masters in elementary education, health and physical education, administration, superintendence and special education.

After receiving her degrees, Hutchinson went on to teach in various schools, and has also held administrative positions, serving as a high school principal and assistant principal in Corpus Cristi and West Oso, Texas.

“I love being able to help children and knowing I played a very important role in their education. It’s very important we nurture them,” Hutchinson said. “It’s not written in job description, but it’s a part of being a teacher.”

Hutchinson believes if students don’t get nurtured at home, they should be at school.

“It’s much more than a job. I love to help my students and to be there, shaping, guiding and being that support,” Hutchinson said.

Sophomore Jessica DiGiorgio said Hutchinson is helpful and easy to talk to.

“Dr. Hutchinson is a very jolly sort of person,” DiGiorgio said. “She always wants to help and comes up to you if you had trouble in class that day to see if you got it. She also is a good role model as well as good Christian example.”

Out of all the many students, all from different ages and backgrounds, Hutchinson said the high school students from ages 16-18 are her favorite.

“They [high school students] are just bigger babies,” Hutchinson said. “They want to be hugged, and they want candy.”

Hutchinson’s door was always open to all students.

“They would come in looking for snacks, and I would make them say something positive about their day then they could get some candy,” Hutchinson said.

Sophomore Kimberly Fletcher has always felt welcome in Hutchinson’s office.

“I think she is a wonderful teacher. She goes above and beyond for students,” Fletcher said. “She is very dedicated to her students’ success, and I wish more teachers were like her.”

Fletcher said Hutchinson sees Christ in her life every day.

“I can only hope to even be half the teacher she is some day,” Fletcher said.

Reaching a higher level institution has always been one of her goals and personal challenges.

“Both of my parents died, and I was the provider for them, so after their deaths, I wanted to move on,” Hutchinson said.

Throughout Hutchinson’s life, she has always put her students first and has cared for them, even in trying to reach their parents.

“I’m a firm believer of this motto, ‘Parents are special.’ You are your child’s first teacher, and I would tell that on the first open house,” Hutchinson said.

One Sunday, the preacher at her local church was looking in the Christian Chronicle, and noticed an advertisement for an opening at Oklahoma Christian University. Her preacher suggested she take the job, and she agreed. 

“I would like to be a part of the staff that made a difference in students’ education - that’s to include bringing in additional funding, recognition and continued service,” Hutchinson said. “I would like for the community to be able to view this department as a number one resource in enhancing educational needs to where they could say, ‘Oklahoma Christian has what we need.’”

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