News Summary: Jennifer Cline, a Henry Ford College alumna, is the co-founder/coordinator of Lewis and Clark Community College’s new Honors College, which is set to launch this fall.
May 30, 2017, Dearborn, Mich. — Henry Ford College (HFC) alumna Jennifer Cline is helping to launch the Honors College for this fall at Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) in Godfrey, Ill.
“You get the students to think big. We can connect to the bigger, outside academic community through the idea of a classroom,” said Cline, of Alton, Ill, an asst. sociology professor at L&C and the co-founder/coordinator of the L&C Honors College.
“Jen has been the chief architect of (L&C’s) Honors College. Her research and her own positive experiences as an honors student have influenced the design of this new program. The Honors College will offer students who have outstanding potential an opportunity to enhance their community college experience,” said Jill Lane, L&C Dean of Transfer Programs.
The first person in her family to graduate from college, Cline repeatedly directs the credit for her professional and academic success to the Henry Ford II Honors Program at HFC.
“I wasn’t a very good student in high school. I struggled a lot; it was too intimidating for me. Thankfully, while at HFC, my advisor saw something in me and put me in the Honors Program, which I couldn’t believe. I don’t know what he saw in me, but I was very grateful,” said Cline.
She stated that retired HFC Honors Program director Dr. Nabeel Abraham and HFC English professor Pedro San Antonio played a significant part in her life.
“Prof. San Antonio was a great person and influence in my life. I never felt that any teacher cared about me as a student until I had him. I did an independent study with him. Teaching was what I wanted to do, thanks to him. I really appreciated how (Abraham) ran the Honors Program. I doubted myself so much as a student, but the Honors Program taught me not to doubt myself. I think the beauty of a community college is it’s a place to nurture students who might be bright but otherwise have not had a chance to fulfill their potential,” she said.
Cline earned her associate degree in Liberal Arts from HFC in 2004. She transferred to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies in 2008. In 2009, she earned her graduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Gender, Sexuality and Society from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the Netherlands. Additionally, she completed some coursework at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
She taught at St. Louis Community College (STLCC) in St. Louis, MO. on an adjunct basis before joining the faculty of L&C in 2012.
“Jill Lane heard how HFC changed my life. She wants it to be as faculty-driven as possible, and she’s given me free range when creating this program. We’re in the process of interviewing potential applicants for the start of the Honors College in the fall. We’re looking at 10 students. We’re starting small, then we’ll increase it by five. Hopefully, it’ll be up to 20 in 2019,” said Cline.
Cline looks back fondly at her experiences at HFC, which changed her life for the better – something she cannot reiterate enough.
“I appreciate the diversity very much at HFC. I learned so much about many religions, being in class with Muslims and Christians alike. I learned more at HFC than I did at Cornell. Even though I learned a lot about academics at Cornell, I attended classes with people who had six kids and whose ages ranged from 16 to 60 during my time at HFC – that’s invaluable,” said Cline.
San Antonio is proud of his former student.
“By the time she left HFC, I already knew that she would be an inspiration to her future colleagues. I wrote a letter of recommendation on her behalf, which stated: ‘She is an exceptionally bright and conscientious woman, capable of working diligently under difficult circumstances.’ That line has become prophetic as she not only leads, but actually started the Honors College at L&C, where she’s now a tenured faculty member. Jennifer is very good at solving problems by asking questions. That was true then and it is true now. When she was a student at HFC, she was interested in the way economic class impacted gender roles and vice-versa. I see from the current courses she teaches that her interest in those topics continued, which she shares with her students. She’s now my friend and I can say that she is not only a great friend, but also a great daughter. She’s a mentor and a role model,” said San Antonio.
Visit the L&C Honors College at www.lc.edu/honorscollege.
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