New instructors join Carroll DMACC faculty
October 3, 2013
Three new members have joined the faculty at Carroll's Des Moines Area Community College campus this fall. Jennifer Schulte, Kurt Schmid and Lindsay Simpson will primarily teach business, history and English, respectively.
Schulte is familiar to the staff. She took a few classes in high school, and prior to taking a position as a business administration instructor, she managed the campus bookstore for four years.
"I got to know the students and staff," she said. "I feel like I've got the whole culture down already."
A Carroll native, Schulte received her bachelor's degree in communications and entrepreneurial studies from Iowa State University. She worked as both a recruiter at a staffing agency, handling staff relations and marketing, and in retail management in Ankeny before returning to work in Carroll. Though she believed her future lay in human relations, it was that experience in the DMACC bookstore that led her to return to school and complete her master's degree in business administration at Bellevue University in Nebraska.
"Seeing the students excited about school got me excited to be a part of that life," said Schulte. "I could teach business classes to these students that were so excited to go out and make something of themselves. I knew that would be a better path for myself. I could make an impact."
Simpson comes to Carroll from the Boone and Ankeny DMACC campuses where she worked as an adjunct. Born in San Diego, Calif., she received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Tennessee and her master's degree in English and composition from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Simpson taught in Texas and Virginia before moving to Iowa with her husband, Elias, who is from Ames.
Simpson, who will serve Carroll students as an English instructor, said that she prefers the student focus of the community college to the research focus of a larger university.
"I think there's a real opportunity to serve the under-served. Community college is a place people from all walks of life can go and they bring a greater variety of different experiences than you get at a four-year school," she explained. "I've always wanted to teach, and DMACC is the best of all worlds for me. It's the type of student I love, the focus on teaching, a variety of classes. DMACC is definitely a place to grow."
New to Iowa, Schmid, who will teach both English and history, agreed with his fellow instructors' characterization of Carroll DMACC. From the region around Chicago, Ill., Schmid attended community college before completing his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A nontraditional student, Schmid was 21 when he started college. When he finished his education, the choice to return to a community college to teach was simple.
"When you like history, there are not a whole lot of real world applications," he said with a laugh. "If you want to work with it all the time, you can teach it. If you look at a division one school, the politics there, it's just about research and that's not what I wanted."
"They encourage our research, but teaching is the focus, it's what we get paid to do," Simpson agreed. "If you want to be a teacher and have a major impact, this is the environment to do it in."
The instructors also agreed that the relationships with students fostered on the small campus is a benefit of the job.
"I can tell when they're getting excited about a concept or material and when my teaching is hitting home," said Schulte. "Whether or not it's affecting their professional or personal lives, I can tell when I'm clicking with them," she finished, adding that she was lucky enough to have several talkative students.
Schmid said that students involved in discussions often give him a new way of approaching a subject, allowing him to learn from them, as well as teach them.
"It sounds cheesy, but you really can touch their lives in different ways," said Simpson. "It's not just about the classroom."
The instructors have a similar goals of expanding their programs and finding ways to make the skills applicable outside the classroom. Schulte hopes to take her students on company tours of local businesses and invite local business leaders into the classroom as guest lecturers, connecting the students further to the community. Schmid and Simpson want to coordinate classes to make the transitions as seamless as possible. Simpson would also like to see and encourage students to study abroad, adding that she hopes to someday lead the DMACC program that takes English students to London for a semester to study 18th and 19th century literature.
"I'd love to figure out ways to do those things," said Simpson, who spent a semester studying abroad in New Zealand while in college. "A lot of students have not had that experience, and should have it, and I think they'd want to have it."
Schmid and Schulte have also spent time abroad. Schmid spent a year teaching in Saudi Arabia and a few months teaching in Thailand before returning to the states to teach in Boston.
He traveled to Saudi Arabia shortly after college, citing it as one of few countries that pays well for little experience. However, it has to pay well to get people to stay, Schmid said, explaining that 40 percent of new teachers leave within the first four months.
"Every day when you wake up you ask, 'Am I going to class, or am I going to the airport?'," he said.
Though he stuck out the year, Schmid said he has no desire to go back.
"About 40 percent of my class was Saudi when I taught in Boston, but you don't get the full picture like you do when you live there," he said of the culture's myriad gender relations and religious issues. "It's fascinating, but so is Hitler."
Thailand, on the other hand, was a lot of fun, he said. Unfortunately, he was actually losing money, and made the decision to return to the U.S.
Schulte had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala for about 10 days after her husband, Rick, made friends with a local surgeon on a mission trip. The native welcomed the couple back to spend time with his family.
"People live in constant fear of their lives," she said, describing a town with all the public buildings guarded by men with guns. Schulte said that she felt secure because she was with the surgeon, but insecure at the same time because even he was concerned about the attention their group garnered. She was told to never go outside alone in the evening, an experience far from life in the rural Midwest.
Shulte currently resides in Westside with her husband and their puggle, Little Bit. Her perfect weekend includes kayaking, biking, fishing and sitting around a campfire.
Simpson resides in Ames with her husband and their two children, Lucia, 2, and Ansel, 7 months. A self-proclaimed "foodie," Simpson enjoys foraging for wild fruit in the city, be it for apples to craft hard cider, or wild blackberries to serve with dinner.
Schmid resides in Carroll. His hobbies include reading, traveling, learning about different cultures, dining out and computer aided building design. He is single.
"And looking?" asked Schulte and Simpson with matching grins.
"And looking," he said with a laugh.
DMACC provost Steve Schulz said that the college's focus this year will continue to be increasing retention and enhancing the student experience, goals to which the Schulte, Simpson and Schmid can contribute much.
"I am very excited about the talent and enthusiasm our new instructors bring," he said. "It is obvious they care deeply about helping our students, and I am looking forward to watching them grow in their careers as college instructors."