Barbara Nixon, a beloved instructor who has impacted thousands of students’ lives, recently retired after 35 years at Salem Community College.
After graduating from SCC in 1978 with an associate degree in liberal arts, she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, summa cum laude, from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and a master’s degree in English (plus 15 additional graduate credits) from West Chester University.
At SCC, Nixon rose through the ranks as a Developmental English Aide (1978-1980), English Lecturer (1980-1986), English Instructor (1986-1989) and Assistant Professor of English (1989 until retirement). As a faculty member, she greatly contributed to helping students prepare for collegiate-level coursework.
Among her many honors, Barbara earned a Faculty Medallion upon graduating from Salem Community College, received the Excellence Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, was named SCC's first Employee of the Year, received the College’s Arlene Kelley Service to Students Award and earned SCC Distinguished Alumna of the Year.
Nixon said that “amazing advances” in computer technology have been both challenging and enlightening for both her and SCC students of various ages and educational backgrounds. In addition to advances in word processing, she pointed out that online resources provide students with a wealth of information to facilitate and improve their writing. “To understand my amazement regarding these technological advances,” she said, “one would have to realize that until I graduated from high school I was familiar with only manual typewriters.”
Nixon frequently runs into former students in the community. “I am truly touched by the fact that they want to share information with me, such as ‘I am going to graduate at the end of this semester!’ or ‘I have been accepted at Rowan!’
“Recently, as I was exiting a store in Pennsville, I heard someone call to me. I turned and saw a young woman who excitedly shared some news: ’Mrs. Nixon! I'm a nurse now!’ I replied, “’Wow! That's wonderful. You must be so proud of yourself!’ She responded, ’Yes! Yes, I really am!’ The conversation ended as we both entered our vehicles, but the impact of those few words still brings me close to tears.
“Now, certainly, I realize that my contribution to her success is minimal compared to the support she received from other SCC instructors, and yet, I cannot help but feel a tremendous sense of pride for my helping her reach her goal. Experiences such as this one are priceless.”
In her retirement, Nixon is considering getting involved in literacy volunteer activities.
Photo by Lifetime Memories by Lisa