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Phyllis Gowdy: Professor of English

Phyllis Gowdy was “humbled and surprised” to be named TCC’s Professor of the Year for 2012 by her colleagues. “Teaching is what I love, and this honor inspires me to keep reaching students and helping to make their dreams come true,” Gowdy says.

An assistant professor of English, Gowdy joined the college in 1996. She teaches all English classes, including traditional, online and developmental courses. “I run a dynamic, student-oriented classroom,” Gowdy adds. “We are in dialogue about what we are studying, even when working online. I can tell what my students are feeling by their writing. For me it’s all about developing that rapport.”

Gowdy began her career in business and was even the owner and operator of an international shipping and supply company. “I come from a family of teachers, so the last thing I wanted to do was teach,” she says. “But I learned that teaching runs in my veins. It’s who I am.”

Taking learning beyond the classroom, Gowdy developed the college’s successful Literary Festival, now in its 11th year. She also helped to start the student literary anthology, Channel Marker. “Reading and writing is part of every subject students will study, and Literary Festival enhances that learning.”

Gowdy also developed the college-wide programming for the Jewish Film Festival, quadra-centennial Williamsburg festival and service learning projects. She currently heads the college’s OpSail Virginia programming, which includes lectures, artifact displays, archaeological “digs” and planetarium showings.

“I always tell my students that my job is not to make them successful in English, but to help them be well rounded and reach their goals.” With that in mind, Gowdy is starting a new initiative. She is reaching out to local businesses to connect students with job shadowing opportunities.

When not in the classroom, Gowdy hones her professional writing, contributing to travelogues and editing textbooks. “I love to travel and enjoy connecting with international students, especially when I’ve visited their native lands.”

Gowdy adds, “The community college is such a great place to work, because of the commitment to student success. Students come to TCC with a dream and it’s my privilege to help them on their journey.”