Defender Highlight: Professor Jo Ann Burkhardt

“All students can learn” Professor Burkhardt

Professor Jo Ann Burkhardt is a part of the Education department at Defiance College. She previously studied at Bowling Green State University, The University of Toledo and the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Science. She has a bachelors in education, a masters in administration and supervision, a specialists degree in leadership,  a Ph.D. and a culinary degree–that was her favorite to obtain.

  Professor Burkhardt is from the Cleveland area and came here for her first teaching job at Tinora Schools.  Being in the area, she became familiar with Defiance College. 

When Professor Burkhardt is not in the classroom helping students, she says she is a ‘fiber-artist-wannabe.’ She dyes fibers, spins, weaves, knits, sews, and makes dye baths out of natural ingredients. 

Professor Burkhardt’s philosophy of teaching is that “all students can learn.” She believes, “you must teach who you get, not who you want or who you think you should. A teacher must accept everyone and help eliminate barriers [with] their students. A teacher has an active role in a student’s learning and needs to keep them engaged.”

When asked why she chose the education field, she states, “…I chose to become a teacher [because] at the time, there were not a lot of options for women. You could be a nun, a nurse, or a teacher. I went to [an all girls] catholic school, and so I knew [becoming] a nun was out of the picture, and I knew nursing was [out also]—so I went with teaching. And I’m so glad I did. It was really for me!” 

In the current generation, Burkhardt wishes that colleges and universities had a voice in how they teach and structure their teacher education programs. “All teacher education programs across the United States are the same because we all have to teach the same stuff,” Burkhardt said. “Academic standards may vary from state to state, but in order to train teachers, you have to be accredited by a national body—and there is only one. In order for us to continue training teachers, we have to be approved by [the national body]. Licensure programs have to do things a certain way ”. 

She actively helps students pave their way to success. Professor Burkhardt has encouraged many students to pursue their dreams by helping them along their journey to becoming teachers. If you haven’t had the chance to cross paths with her Professor Burkhardt, take the time out of your day to get acquainted. 

Written by Tessa Wall

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