MCC’s Faculty of the Year Lindsay Carson Makes Students’ Success Her Priority
Lindsay Carson pauses with her students in front of Volcán Poás (the Poas Volcano) in Costa Rica, where the students studied abroad for the 2012 summer semester.
MCC Spanish instructor Lindsay Carson strives to make language relevant to students, so she incorporates Spanish and Latino culture into her lessons and speaks in Spanish to her students as much as possible.
“The more students are exposed to the Spanish language, the more they learn,” she said. “No matter what their ability is in speaking the language, I hope they come away with cultural awareness and respect for other people.”
Instead of using grammar drills, she teaches grammar in an indirect way to keep students motivated. For example, in beginning Spanish, students interview each other and report on what they learned from the other person. She also creates lessons that are relevant to their daily lives, such as college life, food, travel, family and hobbies.
Carson majored in Spanish at DePaul University and worked as a teaching assistant in graduate school at Northern Illinois University, where she fell in love with teaching Spanish and launched her career. Her mentor, Dr. Michael Morris, shared with her a sentence that has become her teaching mantra: “You can’t know a language without learning its culture and you can’t know a culture without learning its language.”
Carson said she feels rewarded when she watches students’ confidence levels increase and they progress from the Elementary Spanish (SPA 151) to the Intermediate level (SPA 252).
Carson’s exceptional accomplishments in teaching and commitment to MCC’s Study Abroad program have earned her the recognition as MCC’s nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s (ICCTA) 2013 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award. She was one of 31 nominees throughout the state.
Now in her fifth year at MCC, Carson also serves as chair of MCC’s International Studies Program and has established MCC’s first International Studies Scholarship fund to help students finance their study abroad experiences. As a result of her initiative, the College’s Study Abroad program grew from three MCC students in 2010 to 11 students in both 2011 and 2012. This summer, five MCC students studied abroad in Costa Rica.
In addition to teaching classes and overseeing the International Studies Program, Carson also serves as department chair of Modern Languages and has made transformations to the assessment plan, curriculum, and to class scheduling to best meet the needs of language students. She also oversees the department’s dual-credit program, offered to high school students to earn both high school and college credit upon successful completion of the Intermediate Spanish classes.
Carson’s enthusiasm for languages in general extends outside of MCC as she serves as one of seven coordinators for the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP). As coordinator, she assists in statewide recruitment efforts for student participant and faculty advisors, reviews student and faculty applications and serves as liaison for the students while they participate in study abroad programs.
When she’s not teaching or coordinating study abroad programming, Carson enjoys traveling and has visited Costa Rica, Spain, Austria, Ireland, England and France. She also enjoys hiking and spending time with her husband and their two dogs.