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Professor named Mentor of the Year by national organization

  • Ingrid Johnson

Posted on February 07, 2019

A Grand Valley professor has received recognition for providing advising and mentorship to students and alumni both in and out of the classroom. 

Ingrid Johnson, associate professor of physical education, has been named Mentor of the Year by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE).

Johnson is being recognized for her mentoring strategies, which include supporting students with job searching, teaching classes for alumni, nominating current and past students for awards, sharing professional insights on social media, and more.

“I have an open-door policy and my students all know that,” Johnson said. “I’m investing in them for the long-term. I’m not just some professor they have in one class.”

Johnson said those specifically entering the education profession have a need for mentorship, which she is happy to provide.

“The teaching profession is hard and often thankless and anyone who goes into education today needs a lot of support and mentoring,” Johnson said. “If I can make a difference for my teacher education students, then they will make a difference in the lives of thousands of their own students.”

Johnson was nominated for the award by two of her students: Payton Spirling and Taylor Kastens, both seniors majoring in physical education. Spirling said she nominated Johnson because she “really cares about her students.”

“She not only wants to see us succeed, but does everything in her power to give us the tools to succeed,” Spirling said. “She is always willing to help you with a topic if you don't understand it, or even if you just need somebody to talk to, she's always there.”

Kastens said Johnson has been influential during her time as a student while learning to be a leader and future educator.

“She has been one of the most influential mentors in my schooling career,” Kastens said. “I work a lot with her and she has taught me so much about my profession and leadership.”

Johnson will receive the award at the 2019 SHAPE National Convention, taking place April 9-13 in Tampa, Florida.

-Story written by Madison Barnes, student writer