Faculty, Staff, and Student Spotlight

Laurel Anderson

Distinguished Faculty Award 2014 Recipient

Written by Marissa Milloy and published May 5, 2014.

This article first appeared in The Telescope, Palomar College’s award-winning, student-run newspaper.

Assistant Professor of Child Development Laurel Anderson has been named the recipient of Palomar’s 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award for full-time faculty.

“I am speechless…it’s humbling,” Anderson said.

She was nominated once before in 2010 and was considered as a finalist for part-time faculty. This time, the grand prize is hers for the taking. The award is received only once during a professor’s lifetime of teaching.

“I am humbly in such gratitude for the fact that they, or someone, thinks enough of me to make that nomination. Someone took the time to nominate, it was just really exciting and i’m just so honored, so honored.”

Anderson began as an adjunct professor at Palomar in 2003 and she’s been full-time for the last three years.

Her extensive teaching career includes teaching secondary education, English as a second language and teaching at the University of Minnesota.

In 2001, Anderson moved to California from Minnesota with her two young children in tow and hasn’t looked back since. She has worked at several colleges all around the county, but found her bearings here at Palomar.

“I can’t believe I get to land here, the faculty are so embracing and so supportive of one another. And the more I’ve been able to root here, the more nurturing I see the place become, it’s such an amazing community,” she said.

Anderson said the most powerful part of her job is making connections with students through teaching.

“I care that they see the value in education, that they see the value in themselves and what they can do with their education,” she said.

As the full-time faculty honoree, Anderson will be the speaker at commencement; she is excited about the opportunity and views it as a good platform to send a broader message.

“Maybe i’ll touch someone out there beyond the four walls of my classroom…,” she said.

She is equally elated about the prime designated parking space she will receive for a full year as well.

“365 days, are you kidding? I feel like I want to come here on the days I don’t even teach just to get the parking space,” she said.

Anderson has two children. Her son is a doctor and daughter a lawyer practicing family law in San Diego.

“My children are why I do what I do,” she said.

Outside of work, Anderson is an avid runner. So much so, that her office is decorated with several bibs she’s worn in the multiple marathons and races she has competed in.

“I run everyday, that keeps me sane. I encourage my students to be healthy, so I live it,” she said.

At the end of the day, teaching is truly a passion for Anderson.

“I’m just so grateful to everyday do something that I love so much.”