Encouragement and innovation
“I know that students need encouragement as well as support from someone to help them find their way and encourage them to take ownership of their future. Therefore, everything I do in class stresses improving the lives of my students and the world where we live.”
This caring attitude and determination to help students succeed led Tameka Johnson-Tillman, professor of English, to develop the college's co-requisite model for English composition.
Students who would otherwise test into below-college-level English courses may now enroll in college-level English while taking an extra credit-hour class alongside to help them succeed.
“The course is now available to all students, ending the need for developmental English at LLCC. As we continue to provide our students with the best education, I continue to focus on the most up-to-date best practices for accelerated learning," says Johnson-Tillman.
The professor joined LLCC in 2013 after earning a B.A. and M.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University. She has led numerous initiatives aimed at improving students' experiences while taking composition classes. While working to revise the college’s approach to teaching developmental composition, she developed a specific composition course for students in the criminal justice program. This innovative approach was the impetus for a larger shift toward the new, co-requisite method of teaching composition.
“Professor Johnson-Tillman’s leadership and passion has helped LLCC transform its approach to developmental writing instruction, giving students a more direct route toward achieving success," said Dr. Charlotte Warren, LLCC president. "She is a role model for all faculty."
Johnson-Tillman was nationally recognized with the 2022 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Recognition from the American Association of Community Colleges.
“Because I am a member of a marginalized community, I choose to teach at a community college because that is often the first and only choice for marginalized people." said Johnson-Tillman. "I want to be an example to students and help them reach their goals. I must continually show them that I care, and I can only to that if I remain purposefully engaged in the best practices that help me advocate for all students."
Story published in the LLCC FORWARD magazine, October 2022.