Big Bend bestows emeritus status on 4 faculty members

MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College’s board of Trustees recognized four faculty members at the most recent board meeting by awarding them emeritus status. Barbara Whitney, Barbara Jacobs, Bill Autry, and Les Michie were each nominated by the faculty association and awarded the status for their exemplary service to students and their promotion of excellence through teaching and learning.

In order to be eligible for this honor, one must be a full-time faculty member who retires with at least 15 years of service; a full-time administrative officer who retires with a minimum of 10 years of service and has held the position of President, Vice President, Associate Vice President, Dean, or Director; or a former trustee who has served a minimum of six years on the board.

Nominations from the BBCC Faculty Association:

head shot of Barbara Jacobs

Barbara Jacobs has been a mainstay of the science department for nearly 47 years, and has made invaluable contributions to our campus culture and teaching and learning. As colleagues have commented, “For starters, she is compassionate when it comes to the Mission, Vision, and Values of the college. When I first met Barbara, I knew of her commitment through students who had her as a teacher in the science division. Her longevity record and veteran status at Big Bend Community College speaks volumes to how much she loves her career and the students. Their success is always at the top of her goals.” The math/science department greatly appreciates her ironclad work ethic and spirit of volunteerism. “Barbara has a strength in building trust relationships and respected by her friends, colleagues, and students. She listens, provides valuable feedback, and is a lifelong learner. As the college moved through changes in new technology and teaching techniques, she was one of the first to volunteer. She spent many hours researching resources and testing different ways to implement these into the classroom. She shared in the celebration when the STEM Center was completed, and other changes that contributed to student success for teaching and learning.” Her dedication has never wavered: “Even in the last quarter here, she was updating curriculum to give the students the best, most up-to-date experience possible. This shows her dedication to keeping her material current, which includes keeping current with technology and experimenting with flipping her classes.


head shot of Barbara Whitney

Barbara Whitney has been an important part of the math department for 28 years. With 22 years of experience leading Big Bend’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she has transformed countless student lives. Said colleagues who nominated her, “Mrs. Whitney has provided visionary leadership for faculty sponsorship of student organizations on campus. Her unparalleled passion for excellence has led to broad faculty and administrative support of the organization.” They appreciated her high standards and the dedication with which she helped her students meet those standards. They commented, “She was a relentless cheerleader for student success and an engaged faculty advisor, always having a line of students waiting to talk to her during her office hours. She genuinely cares about her students and their success not only in her math courses, but also in their academic careers, as a whole. She held her students to high standards and went to great lengths to help them achieve them.” A colleague in math/science put it best by saying, “She will be missed in the division for her guidance, humor, and the gravity of the quality of her work.”


head shot of Bill Autry

Bill Autry has run Industrial Systems/Maintenance Mechanics Technology for 24 years, a program that he played a key role in developing. As a colleague stated, “Bill began developing the Maintenance Mechanics Technology (MMT) Program. Over the years, he, in cooperation with others in his department, developed multiple programs, including Industrial Electrical Technology (IET) and many new courses.” He has also done excellent work as chair of the Exceptional Faculty Award committee. As a colleague commented, “Bill has always put his students and the college first.” The entire school appreciates his teaching acumen. As the colleague put it, “In the classroom, he is engaging and relatable, connecting with students of all races, ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic status, and learning styles. … [H]e is always ready with sound advice and genuine encouragement. He is an excellent teacher, respectful colleague, and a trusted friend to many here on campus.”


headshot of Les Michie

Les Michie has served as a mainstay of our accounting department for 17 years. The faculty association has the utmost appreciation for his years of service as faculty association treasurer. As a colleague stated quite well, “Les came to the college in 2002 after being asked to teach a single class. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to take teaching on full-time. Les is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and treats each conversation with the most genuine interest and care. His considerate character is superseded only by his subtle sense of humor, tireless work ethic, and nuggets of wisdom. Students speak of Les in a way that confirms a lifetime of craft in education. True to character, after he retires, Les hopes to continue to help the community through the church. His absence will be felt enormously.”

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