Ruth Foster was a journalist for more than a dozen years, when she realized she enjoyed teaching more than she enjoyed writing. Foster was getting a master's degree in English and working as a teaching assistant when she decided that she wanted to pursue teaching.
Foster, who teaches developmental reading at Coconino Community College, was named full-time faculty of the year for 2012. Students nominate instructors for the honor.
"I really like helping students be successful," Foster said. "It comes naturally and fits along with my journalism background."
Foster joined CCC as a part-time instructor in 1993 and became a full-time instructor five years later. Foster has taught everything from creative writing to reading. Her students in her developmental reading classes vary widely, but a majority of them are right out of high school.
"We work so hard to come up with projects where students are successful," Foster said. "My classes are brain-based."
She works with her students to help them understand how their brains work and what happens to the brain when they learn a certain way.
"They literally see how their brains process information," said Foster, who is a certified reading specialist and has 30 postgraduate hours in curriculum development.
Over the years, Foster helped spearhead changes in the department that has led to greater student success. Part of that is helping students see the organizational patterns in textbooks and learn how to take a textbook and break it down into parts.
"Students who succeed in these classes are highly likely to succeed in their general education courses, also," Foster said.
Ultimately, it's the students who encourage her love of teaching.
"They're so much fun and they ask really good questions," Foster said.
STUDENTS: To nominate an instructor for the 2013 Faculty of the Year award, click here: nominating form.