GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s Associate Professor of Mathematics Brandon Huff has earned the school’s Spring 2022 nomination for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award.
Although Huff has taught many math-related subjects at L&C, his most recent classes include General Education Statistics, General Education Mathematics, College Algebra, Trigonometry and Business Mathematics.
Huff is humbled by the recognition from his peers.
In his department, Huff exceeds expectations by developing supplemental resources and documents for his students and sharing them with other instructors. He’s known for stepping up to teach classes when an instructor is difficult to find.
“He is patient, compassionate and generous to both students and peers,” Mathematics Professor Stephanie Hawk Killion said. “He demonstrates cooperation, dedication and teamwork, all of which are invaluable commodities in education.”
A native of Bluford, Illinois, Huff is a 2002 graduate of Webber Township High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (2006) and a Master of Science in Mathematics (2011) from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
Huff has taught full-time at L&C for 11 years. Previously, he taught math for five years at Edwardsville High School. He’s a member of the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) and the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC).
“The best part of my job is seeing students succeed, both in my class and in pursuit of their educational goals,” he said. “It’s always fun to see and hear from former students who have gone on to reach their goals and do great things. I love seeing my students walk across the stage on graduation day.”
Huff likes the array of students he gets to teach.
“The math department serves just about every student on campus at one point or another,” he said. “We get the opportunity to work with students from a variety of backgrounds and programs of study.”
It takes a team effort to serve such a wide assortment of students and Huff believe L&C’s math program meets that challenge.
“The math department is full of caring, hard-working, innovative people who want to see students succeed,” he said. “We are collaborative, sharing ideas and insights regularly, meeting new challenges, and trying new ways to help students.”
In the classroom, Huff likes to create an atmosphere that is both comfortable for the students and fosters high expectations.
“I view my class sessions as one large, guided discussion, rather than a lecture,” he said. “I want students to feel comfortable offering ideas and to not worry so much about giving a right or wrong answer. It all adds to the greater discussion.”
Huff’s fresh approach to teaching provides critical context to the subject of mathematics.
“As much as possible, I try to add a narrative to the content, looking at the course as a story that is unfolding throughout the semester,” he said. “I remind my students daily of where we’ve been, where we are now and where we are going next.”
Huff tries to structure his class periods by alternating intervals of discussion and practice.
“My experience is that students need and want to practice what they’ve learned often,” he said. “I also bring in small group practice when appropriate, which helps students learn through having to communicate their reasoning to another student.”
Perhaps, most importantly, Huff strives to let each student know they are seen.
“I try to connect with them by learning their names and talking to them before and after class,” he said. “I try to check in on them through e-mail if they haven’t been in class. I’ve found that this can be the most important and impactful thing that I do as a teacher. If students know that we see them and that we care about their success, I believe they will be more motivated to work and succeed because they know we are in their corner.”
Huff has some advice for those considering a career in teaching.
“Embrace each day as an opportunity to help your students and to learn something yourself,” he said. “Make the extra effort to create a learning community in your classroom. Get to know your students. Talk to them when you see them in the hallway. These efforts can produce compounding benefits and it makes things a lot more fun.”
Huff believes the variety of students he sees is a reflection of the role L&C plays in the community.
“Lewis and Clark plays in important role in the community, serving many different types of students,” he said. “We offer students affordable access to quality education, whether they are coming straight from high school, changing careers or taking their first college class later in life.”
When he’s not in the classroom, Huff likes to spend as much time as he can with his family.
Each spring, Lewis and Clark announces an ICCTA Award nominee, chosen by their teaching peers. The Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award recognizes the instructor’s high achievements. Nominees from each of the state’s community colleges attend an annual ceremony in June, where an overall winner will be announced.
For more information on L&C mathematics department, contact Huff at (618) 468-4851 or email@example.com.