Congratulations to College of Western Idaho (CWI) Adjunct Faculty of Mathematics, Amanda Willoughby, who was awarded Faculty of Distinction for April 2023.
Willoughby has been teaching in various schools and classrooms around Idaho for the last 20 years. Thirteen of those years have been spent being part of the CWI community, where she has taught College Algebra (MATH 143), Trigonometry (MATH 144), and Calculus (MATH 170).
With two decades of teaching under her belt, she continues in the profession because she loves it.
“There are no words to describe the way I feel when I get to see my students finally get it,” Willoughby said. “Teaching allows me the opportunity to make someone's life better and to help them gain the confidence that they need to be successful.”
Working at CWI has been a delight for Willoughby because she gets to be part of a community that “provides an incredible amount of support for students.” She enjoys working with high-quality faculty who care about the student as a person, and not just a number. She adds, another benefit to the College is the smaller class sizes compared to a larger university.
“It provides more of a personal touch to education.”
Being able to have a personal connection with her students is everything to Willoughby.
Several years ago, Willoughby had a student in her Trigonometry and Calculus classes who really struggled with turning in assignments and even making it to class. About four weeks into the semester, she had a heart-to-heart with him where they discussed what being a student looks like, how it translates to the real world, his habits, and what he needed to do to not just scrape by.
Willoughby recalls the student putting forth more of an effort the rest of that semester, but he still struggled.
However, a few weeks ago Willoughby ran into that student, and he shared with her that he graduated last December with a degree in Physics and was a finalist for a job with NASA. He told her that he would have never been able to accomplish all that he has without her “intervention” during Calculus.
“It is moments like that, that make what we do here incredible.”
Other students of Willoughby’s have also felt the same care and commitment she brings in and out of the classroom.
“Amanda is incredibly caring for her students,” said CWI student, Brianna Sali. “She explains things well and makes it so you can still pass even if you struggle. She really wants her students to learn and gives them countless opportunities. She is also a very kind person in general and will work with you.”
Outside of CWI, Willoughby enjoys spending time with her husband, four kids; two boys and two girls, a dog, and three cats. She says when, and if, she has free time, she loves counted cross-stitching, coloring, and playing Candy Crush.