Faculty Spotlight: Kristin Woodruffpublished March 24, 2023
Kristin Woodruff, HCC sociology instructor, started taking college courses through Highland Community College when she was still in high school. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in legal studies and juvenile delinquency from Missouri Western State College (now MWSU). She earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Kansas. After securing an LMSW license in the State of Kansas, Kristin began her career as a school social worker in Liberty, Missouri.
While she is about to complete her sixth year as a full-time faculty member, she has been working at HCC for 13 years. She began her HCC career in 2010 as the retention coordinator for the Student Support Services (SSS) program. She loved helping the students in that program navigate college, especially the first-generation college students. As a first-generation college student herself, it was rewarding to be able to help those students at Highland. She also served as the campus counselor for two years. During that time, she began adjunct teaching and developing courses for HCC. She enjoyed the time she spent in the classroom with students and made the switch to teaching full-time in the fall of 2017.
The Vice President of Academic Affairs, Sharon Kibbe, extends her gratitude for everything Kristin does. “She has filled many roles at HCC, each with a distinct focus on meeting student needs, offering support and providing resources to her students. She develops her courses for both on-ground and online delivery in a manner that encourages student engagement and success.”
Kristin’s primary interest is the study of the interrelationship between personal finance and family dynamics, mental health and culture. More recently, she expanded her work to learn more about the global foreign aid and charity industry; specifically, the negative social and economic impacts that it has on individuals, families and small businesses in underdeveloped and developing nations.
She hopes students recognize the efforts she makes to give them a voice in the classroom and remember that they had fun along the way. She strives to create classroom environments where students feel comfortable having conversations with each other, sharing their ideas and learning from each other. She likes to remind students that we all come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences that shape our perspective. Her hope is that she has given students a strong footing and some knowledge and skills that will enable them to make a positive difference in the world.
Kristin believes she has one of the best jobs out there. Not only does she get to meet people from all over the world right in her own backyard, but she can also interact with them in a meaningful way. She obviously loves the content she teaches and appreciates the opportunities her classes provide for everyone to learn from each other, share stories, thoughts and ideas. Kristin noted, “My students are always teaching ME something as well!”
When she is not focused on her courses, Kristin is trying to keep up with her husband and three kids. Their life is super busy with sports and activities, and they would not have it any other way! When she is not trying to keep up with the kids’ social calendar, they love traveling to National Parks and enjoying time outdoors. During these trips, you are likely to find her munching on peanut M&M’s and singing along to a Zach Bryan song; she really enjoys his music.