Faculty Focus: Q&A with Jackie Herber

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Jackie Herbers
Jackie Herbers

Jackie Herbers is an assistant professor of English here at Viterbo University. In August 2019, she earned her PhD in Language and Literacy from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. The pursuit of her doctoral degree culminated in her dissertation titled, “The Role of News Media in Constructing Gender, Politics, and the Presidency.”

In her years at Viterbo, she has taught first-year composition courses, Franciscan values and traditions, and a range of other writing courses related to argument, journalism, and professional and technical writing.

On campus, she is active in helping to create the First-Year Experience for incoming students, supporting faculty in their teaching as a High-Impact Practices leader, and serving as advisor for the student newspaper, The Lumen.

She was recently awarded an Ethics Fellowship from the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, which is supporting her continued research on the role language plays in constructing gender.

How many years have you worked at Viterbo? 
This fall, I’ll be entering my 10th year as a full-time faculty member in English. Before that, I was an adjunct instructor for several years at both Viterbo and Western Technical College. Viterbo, though, always felt like home, so when a full-time position opened up, I was excited to apply and even more excited to be offered the job. 

Best known for teaching … 
I am best known for teaching first-year composition, Franciscan values and traditions, and a variety of other writing courses. My hope for my students is that they learn to take control of their own education and see their own potential for growth. I want them to leave my classes not only understanding how to be better writers, but also knowing how to be better people.

What do you love most about teaching at Viterbo? 
I think what I love most about teaching at Viterbo is that we really do see each other as a family. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know students in their very first semester here and then support them as they learn and grow throughout their college careers. I often have students who stop by my office just to say “hi,” even when they’re no longer in a class of mine, and these are the relationships that make me want to keep teaching.

What inspires you? 
My students, of course, inspire me all the time. Some of them experience obstacles that I never had to face when I was in college, but through determination and resilience, they overcome those obstacles and reach their goals. I’ve seen students battle depression and anxiety, fight cancer or other diseases, deal with financial hardships, manage a poor home life with family, and live with learning or physical disabilities, and while it’s not easy for them, they still graduate. Those stories are truly inspiring to me, and I think we should all celebrate them.

What others say about you?
I recently received an e-mail from a student I had four years ago in a first-year composition course. She stated, “It’s sure been a while since we had our 100 level English course at Viterbo. You may not have known its extent, but your immediate guidance and support meant much to me as someone who didn’t know where my place in academia ought to be. Your authenticity in conducting our lectures and analyzing our readings motivated me to actively pursue a path meaningful to me and hopefully meaningful to those I directly and indirectly encounter.” I am humbled by this student’s kind words, and I can only hope I’ve helped others students in the same way.