Northwest College

Teaching & Learning Center

Faculty spotlights

Learn more about what makes Northwest college’s faculty truly excellent! 

In collaboration with The Committee on Faculty Development and Morale and the office of College Relations, the TLC is excited to showcase the great work of Northwest College's educators! In this faculty spotlight series, we will feature members of our faculty that are recognized by nominations from their peers based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, mentoring/advising, service, or scholarship. Spotlights will also be promoted by the Marketing, Communications & Web office in a variety of media.

Jay Dickerson

Posted: May 6, 2023

It’s a good bet that most people from outside the region who apply for a job at Northwest College first need to check a map to find its exact location. Not so for associate professor of biology Jay Dickerson. Despite coming from the East Coast, he knew exactly where Powell was located through first-hand experience.

As a requirement for his bachelor’s degree at James Madison University, Jay took a field geology course through Albion College in the summer of 1998. For six weeks, his group traveled across South Dakota and Wyoming, and among their stops was Powell, where Jay stayed at Northwest College for more than a week. Sixteen years later, he returned as a member of the faculty.

Though he spent 3½ years as a high school teacher in Virginia, and three years working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Charleston, South Carolina, Jay had long considered a career as a college professor. It went back to his days as an undergrad at JMU where he double majored in geology and biology.

“I had a couple of professors who I thought what they did was the greatest thing, being able to stand up in front of a class and talk about the stuff they loved.”

He first got his chance as an adjunct at Trident Technical College in Charleston but wanted something more substantial. When he saw an opening at NWC in 2014, Jay applied, and it was one of three schools where he interviewed. During that process, it was the friendliness of the people that won him over and pushed Northwest to the top of his list, even before an offer was extended.

Moving from South Carolina to Wyoming wasn’t easy, especially with three 50-pound dogs in the family, but once again Jay was impressed by the kindness of fellow faculty members. Floyd Young, who was division chair at the time, even opened his own home to Jay during the pre-move house-hunting trip.

Jay is leaving his mark at NWC both in the classroom and outside where he won the inaugural Kickoff Weekend Disc Golf Tournament in 2022. But as a professional, what gives him the most joy is hearing from former students as they talk about what they learned in his classes and how it’s helping them today.

“I do my best to do what my favorite professors as an undergrad did: inspire students to want to learn more.”