Professor wins prestigious Excellence in Education Award


Kaya West

English Professor Jody Millward laughs with her students before class in her classroom at the Interdisciplinary Center at Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College on Feb. 28, 2014. Millward is one of four two-year-college professors who won the prestigious Hayward Award.


She stands with color-coordinated clothes on the frontier of education, seeking to end the inequalities of underrepresented students at City College, and to pour her soul into the classroom.

English Professor Jody Millward has only furrowed her brows once in her 23-year-long career at City College, so it’s no wonder why she won the Hayward Award of Excellence in Education.

The prestigious 2014 Excellence in Education Award is named after former Chancellor of the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges (ASCCC) Gerald D. Hayward. Millward is one of four two-year college professors in the state to receive the award. It is only bestowed to those nominated by their peers for excellence in teaching, outstanding commitment to students, as well as professional accomplishments.

Professor Millward knew she had been nominated, but did not think much of it until the day she received the email.

“At first I thought it was spam,” said Millward.

Millward aided in creating two programs on campus dedicated to helping students that are underrepresented in academia; the College Achievement Program (CAP) as well as the Multicultural English Transfer (MET) program, both of which led to her crowning achievement.

Sandy Starkey, associate English professor, nominated Professor Millward for the award along with help from English Department Chair Barbara Bell, and a student mentor from the CAP program Anjanette Aguilar.

“I just admire all the work she does with the underrepresented students,” Starkey said. “If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have had the passion for the job or interests that I do have now.”

Jody can be heard a mile away from the third floor of the Interdisciplinary Building, but her lessons are chiseled into the minds of her many students.

“She is an amazing teacher as well a person,” Aguilar said. “Her energy and knowledge is contagious.”

Millward served as Chair of the Two-Year College English Association Search Initiative Committee (TYCA) from 2005 to 2011 and is currently the Pacific Coast Regional Representative for students and faculty at City College.

She claims to have a fear of public speaking, but when it comes to spreading her care, she stands on the frontlines. She has given 17 presentations at national conferences and sat with the executive committees of both the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

“I’ve never seen somebody with the level of commitment and dedication that I’ve seen in Jody to the students at this school,” Bell said. “One of the reasons Santa Barbara City College is known and recognized nationally is because of Jody.”

She is able to sympathize with her students due to her similar background. She grew up in a small coal-mining town in Pennsylvania with eight brothers and sisters and was able to fund her own way through Penn State and graduate school at UCSB despite the high cost of time and money.

She tries to stand by something her father once told her about underestimating people.

“Everyone always knows something you don’t know,” Millward said. “There’s a little bit of something to learn from everyone.”