KWC professor remembered
Posted: Friday, September 6,
By Joy Campbell Messenger-Inquirer Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
When Professor Leanne Faulkner first joined the Kentucky Wesleyan College faculty more than 12 years ago, she was hired for both her math and teacher education skills.
"We were thrilled to have her. She brought both her Ph.D. knowledge in math and practical skills from having taught at a high school," said Martha O'Bryan, co-chair of the professional studies division at KWC. "She brought that kind of diverse experience to her own classrooms."
The KWC campus still is mourning Faulkner's sudden death Aug. 30. She was 41.
Students, faculty and staff received an email Friday that Faulkner had been rushed to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and were asked to keep her in their thoughts and prayers, senior student Jeremy Bivins said Thursday. A later email informed them of her death.
Bivins, 21, was a transfer to KWC from Madisonville Community College who was looking for a college that would help him earn a bachelor's degree in two years. He was a recipient of a National Science Foundation STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Scholarship, which provided him with two years of college funding.
"Generally, the word at colleges was that it would take me three years to graduate," said Bivins, who is a math major from Dunmor in Muhlenberg County. "Dr. Faulkner said she could get me out in two, but it wouldn't be easy, and it would hurt. And it did hurt, but it was well worth it."
Bivins is on track to graduate in May 2014 just as Faulkner planned.
"In my first meeting with her, she had it all planned out and said you can graduate in two years," he said.
He was in her Analysis class — the last class she taught before she died.
"What I will remember about her is that she spoke her mind; she was fair and just, and very kind," Bivins said. "She said that she wanted to be a teacher of teachers and not just produce an engineer."
Paige Kramer, 20, of Owensboro, said Faulkner accomplished that.
Kramer, an elementary education major, had three classes with Faulkner which included her first college class — math for elementary teachers.
"I was nervous. And then I realized that she was willing to help," Kramer said. "She told us to come to her or to email her if we had questions. And she was good at her word. She cared about students. She didn't just teach us math; she taught us how to teach others."
Kramer said when she missed some classes from playing KWC soccer, Faulkner let her make up classes or helped her so she didn't get behind.
"I'll remember her when I teach," she said. "She went out of her way to make sure we were ready for what we wanted to do in the future."
O'Brien remembered her colleague as "always giving — of her time, knowledge and of herself."
She also loved her students, O'Brien said.
"Anyone who knew her at all knew exactly where she stood," the education professor said. "She had high expectations of herself and her students. And she laid out her expectations for the students. If they were not reaching for them, she let them know and worked with them. She didn't give up on them — even when they gave up on themselves."
O'Brien said Faulkner enjoyed her family. She enjoyed reminiscing, but she was always looking toward the future and was always hopeful.
"She attributed that to her faith. She modeled her faith in her relationships," O'Brien said. "Anyone working with her knew she cared about them more than the work. The person came first."
O'Brien recalled that Faulkner was an integral part of the college. For a few years, she worked with the athletic department as the compliance officer — ensuring that student athletes met all academic requirements and regulations.
"She got to know the coaches better than most professors did and also worked closely with the students," O'Brien said.
She also played a large role in the education department's implementation of two computer data systems.
"She took the lead and was our ‘go-to' person for six or seven years," O'Brien said. "If students were challenged, and we didn't know an immediate answer, we would say to go to see Dr. Faulkner."
Faulkner was a Portland, Tenn., native. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and her doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky.
She enjoyed camping, fishing, vegetable gardening, sewing and needlepoint. She enjoyed watching various sports, was an avid reader and musician.
The professor leaves behind a husband of 16 years, Brian T. Faulkner, and two children, Tristen and Jordan, as well as other family members. Her funeral was Tuesday.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to Gideons International or KWC for the General Scholarship Fund.
Joy Campbell, 691-7299, firstname.lastname@example.org</span