Jefferson State Retiree Betty Joyce Williams was honored as Jefferson State’s 2019 Distinguished Retiree at the annual retiree luncheon on October 24.
Betty Joyce Williams may have retired in 1996 after 30 years of full-time teaching in the English Department, but she has never stopped teaching, guiding, or contributing to Jefferson State Community College.
“Joyce is still very much an integral member of the department,” said Jefferson State Shelby-Hoover Campus Communications Chairperson Connie Caskey. “I can always depend on her to teach the majority of our evening English course offerings each year.”
After 30 years as a full-time instructor, Joyce has been teaching as a part-time instructor at both Jefferson and Shelby-Hoover Campuses, amassing another 20 years of teaching experience. Joyce teaches a range of courses in English, from remedial writing courses to literature surveys. She volunteers to teach in the hard to fill slots, early morning or evening classes, and mini-terms.
“Joyce’s students like her, and she relates especially well with mature students who take evening courses,” said Caskey.. “Joyce is at the Shelby-Hoover campus four nights a week, most semesters, teaching the maximum course load for an adjunct.”
Even though, as an adjunct she is not always required to, Joyce attends many department meetings and workshops, including those held off campus during semester breaks. She supports department activities like readings and performances, and is always available to mentor new teachers and collaborate with colleagues. Joyce’s students appreciate her expertise and her compassion and understanding, her willingness to meet with them before and after class, her meticulous attention to their writing in her grading of papers, and her lively wit and humor. Ms. Williams “will go the extra mile to help you,” writes one student in an evaluation. “She makes English fun,” writes another.
As a continuing professional in her field of teaching composition and literature, Joyce has attended conferences, kept up with current research in the field of writing, and has read widely, looking for new contemporary authors to introduce to her classes. She has created course materials that English students can use to improve their reading and writing skills. Joyce has been an invaluable addition to the English department for two decades since her retirement.
In addition to teaching at Jefferson State, Joyce has also worked as an adjunct instructor for UAB’s English department, and has won accolades from students and faculty alike.
“Students feel secure in Joyce’s classroom,” comments one UAB faculty evaluator. “She conveys a sense of professionalism that earns their trust.”
In addition to her teaching, Joyce has contributed to the wider Birmingham community and to the community of Havana, Alabama. At Avondale United Methodist Church, Joyce organized and led a team on an Oklahoma Indian Mission trip in 2010, and joined another team to repair a house in Philadelphia Mississippi. She has taught at the Avondales Vacation Bible School and as an assistant Sunday school teacher. Joyce has also volunteered in the Birmingham Miracle Day of Service doing grounds work at Glen Iris School.
For Havana United Methodist Church, Joyce has served as Worship Chairwoman, writing and organizing the annual Crimson Communion Service since 1975, and has served as Chair of the Administrative Board from 2012 to the present. She is currently the chair of Havana UMC Cemetery Association, overseeing the maintenance of a historic cemetery, which is the burial place of Julia Tutwiler and her family. She is also a Trustee of the church, and has worked on the annual church homecoming since 1980.
All of us at Jefferson State are very fortunate Joyce Williams has continues to be a contributing member of our college community since she “retired” in 1996. Joyce may be an English teacher, but she doesn’t seem to know the meaning of one word “retirement” and we hope she never looks it up in the dictionary.