Board of Regents grants prestigious “Professor Emeritus” designation to Kristen Wilkerson
Retired professor and department chair served with College for 34 years
Article by Melinda Eddleman
The designation is one of honor, and the title shows the respect and admiration that peers and administrators have for those who receive it. During the Del Mar College (DMC) Board of Regents May regular meeting, Board members granted the distinction of “Professor Emeritus” to Kristen Wilkerson, retired Professor of Child Development/Early Childhood and Chair of the former Human Sciences and Education Department.
After serving 34 years at DMC, including 14 years leading her department, Wilkerson retired in December 2020.
This spring, the College’s Faculty Council unanimously voted to recommend her for “Emeritus” status after receiving the nomination from Dean Jennifer Sramek, who now oversees the Business, Entrepreneurship and Health Sciences Division. The conferring process was then moved forward to the Board on May 11.
Kristen Wilkerson provided outstanding leadership to her students, her department, her profession and Del Mar College. Her style in all situations was to lead by example, which earned her great respect from the faculty, students and administrators whom she worked with. Her impressive accomplishments, dedication and service to Del Mar College deserve recognition and praise.
Among those accomplishments, Wilkerson helped establish the College’s Morris L. Lichtenstein, Jr. Center for Early Learning in 2002. Her goal was to promote the facility as a “center of excellence,” serving young children and their families and providing a premier teaching environment for DMC students with the Child Development/Early Childhood program. She even became a certified Early Childhood Outdoor Playground Inspector through the National Program for Playground Safety as well as a Child Care Health Consultant to provide additional support for the center.
Wilkerson and Child Development/Early Childhood faculty successfully earned accreditation for the program’s Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2019. The facility has also been recognized through accreditation by the NAEYC for over 15 years under Wilkerson’s leadership.As an educator, she upheld standards prescribed by the NAEYC to create an engaging classroom environment by using a variety of hands-on learning activities and teaching methods to instruct her students in best educational practices. Wilkerson even became proficient in multiple instructional modalities by teaching not only face-to-face but also online and in a hybrid setting. She also strongly supported students as a faculty advisor for the Early Childhood Club.
Wilkerson’s contributions went well beyond the classroom
.The professor was a member of several professional organizations, including the NAEYC, the Texas Community College Teachers Association and the Child Development Educators Association. These organizations provided not only professional development supporting her work in the classroom but also the opportunity to hone her leadership skills as a DMC department chair. She also shared her knowledge among peers and wrote numerous articles for publications such as the Texas Child Care Quarterly and the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children.
She was also very active with institutional service at DMC on a variety of committees and councils ranging from the Chairs Council, Campus Carry Committee and Prior Learning Assessment Committee to the Pathways Committee and Student Learning Assessment Committee, along with program reviews and advisory committees. In 2020, Wilkerson also participated in the College’s reaccreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and served as a writer and with on-site reviewer interviews.
Her community service encompassed work with the United Way of the Coastal Bend, the Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi Education Advisory Committee, Week of the Young Child Book Festival with the Corpus Christi Public Libraries, Skills USA, the City-Wide Health Fair, the Antonio Garcia Art Center Education Advisory Committee and collaborations with the Port and City of Corpus Christi to bring culinary and hospitality expansion to the region because the College’s Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry programs fell under her purview.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.