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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Inspire and be inspired

November 12, 2013

SJVC Visalia Campus Divison Manager Eric LindbergEric Lindberg gets as good as he gives. As a Visalia campus Division Manager he is constantly encouraging faculty, students – whomever his audience – to strive to be their best. Eric doesn’t hold that concept any less true for himself.

Last month Mr. Lindberg picked up his Masters Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership, along with 300 other MA and Doctorate graduates at the Denver, Colorado Convention Center. The ceremony was the culmination of his 3-years of online study with the University of the Rockies.

“It just seemed like the natural thing to do…to try and improve yourself,” says Lindberg. “My wife, Autumn, already had her MA and was a big influence for me to go on and get mine.”

Academic Dean, Tami Olson, couldn’t agree more.

“This is a great achievement and Eric will use the skills he has acquired to work with a diverse faculty – from HVAC to CAMA.”

Mr. Lindberg spends about 25-35% of his work week conducting professional development training sessions for instructors. He finds it intriguing to bring “career people” who trained for a career in a specific field, into an “instructor” frame of mind, motivation and behaviors.

“There is definitely a difference between student learners and experienced ‘career’ instructors as learners,” say Mr. Lindberg.

Mr. Lindberg has worked for SJVC on both the Fresno and Visalia campuses and as a teacher and is now involved in the professional development of our instructors. This job diversity has allowed him to notice the difference in learning between students and instructors. As Mr. Lindberg puts it,

“Student learners are taking in new information that someday will help them excel at the career field of their choice. For the most part, our core instructors have already had success in their career field and now are learning to impart that experience to students in a meaningful way that will ensure maximum engagement and learning occur every day; which is not as easy as it might sound…there are many things to take into account such as the makeup and demographic of our student; how people learn and take in information, what their attention spans are; and not every class is the same.”

His greatest inspiration to teach?

“That ah-hah moment,” says Eric. “When they get it and then they take it and use it in the classroom.” It’s exciting for him to see instructors take what they have learned and use it and get excited to come to class the next day and do it again.

“When it works, students get excited as well and learn more when the sessions have balance, boundaries and academic success. I tell my instructors that where they place “the bar” is where their students will reach. If it is low, that is where they’ll stop, if it is high, they’ll go all the way to the top. It is human nature!”

Lindberg also likes pushing teachers to take their course outline and put their own imagination into it to better engage students.

“The more out of the box, the better,” he says.

He talks about a Pharmacy Tech teacher who gave her students sidewalk chalk, took them outside and had them write brand and generic names of medicines on the walkway. It was an effective way to make a deeper memory impression on student minds,

“But, it was probably a little bit of a clean-up job for the maintenance people,” Eric laughs.

At 35-years old, Eric was a late bloomer to higher education. He started at COS then transferred to Fresno Pacific University to get his BA degree. While he was going to school, Eric worked full-time playing trumpet and in the main office with the Celebrant Singers. He still enjoys expressing his musical inclinations and has played with the Tulare Co. Symphony, school musicals and Christmas plays.

“I’ll play any gig I can get,” he says. “For free (if I have to)!” His family’s church is the current steady benefactor of his musical talent.

Eric balances his work responsibilities with a rich home-life. He and Autumn, a marriage and family therapist who is the Program Director for Pacific University in Visalia, adopted siblings Luis, Anthony and Jaycelene, now age 5, 4 and 2 ½ a couple of years ago. It has been a pretty remarkable couple of years, full of adjustments and celebrations. Eric sings Autumn’s praises.

“She takes my breath away every day,” he says. “She is a saint.”

Autumn’s aspirations have a profound effect on their shared life.

“My wife and I want to start a Doctorate program together at some point,” says Eric. “But right now my family is my hobby and my life.”