News & Features, November 2023, Previous Issues

Faculty Spotlight: Teaching practical skills to students is her passion

Prof. Valerie Evans stumbled into teaching after tutoring a high school student in math. “Being able to change someone’s life like that gave me the education bug that I did not anticipate having,” she explained.
Dr. Evans is an assistant professor of computer information systems as well as director of educational technology for the university.
She had experiece at other education institutions but was drawn to Saint Augustine’s for the smaller class sizes and opportunity to build personal connections with students.
Dr. Evans takes a practical approach to teaching college students. “I want it to make sense to you,” she said. “I don’t want you checking off boxes in a class just to get the score. I want you to see that it has value.”
Her undergraduate and masters degrees were from Lincon Memorial University. She obtained her docgtorate from Fayetteville State University.
Dr. Evans said she aims to share useful skills with the next generation and to make coursework applicable to students’ future careers.
For example, in her classes Dr. Evans assigns projects using LinkedIn to help students build an online professional presence and network. She observes that students continue using it even after the class ends.
“The investment that you’re putting into LinkedIn — that’s your investment in you that’s going to stick with you,” she noted.
Her advice to students? “If your teacher doesn’t connect the dots for you as to why this class or this assignment is important, make the effort to connect the dots yourself.”
Dr, Evans said her goal is to continus finding ways to equip students with practical skills and set them up for future success.

— Simeon Davis