Dr. Linda Brandt has made her mark on Moraine Valley over her 46 years as a counselor in the Counseling and Career Development Center and an instructor of Human Development courses. Her passion for helping students both in and outside of the classroom is among the many reasons she is this year’s Professor of the Year.

“It is an honor to be selected Professor of the Year by my peers and the administration. Thank you! I am so appreciative of the beautiful and touching nomination from my colleagues. The recognition of this award illustrates how important counseling, and the fact that we are counseling faculty, is to the college. I appreciate and applaud our administration for supporting and recognizing the importance of our faculty positions,” she said.

Brandt is known to go above and beyond with the students she teaches in the classroom and those she counsels in the counseling department. She is committed to her students’ personal, professional and career development.

“Linda’s impressive and experienced therapeutic skill set allows her to assist students from a variety of backgrounds, varying abilities and mental health issues. She is a brilliant clinician who has been a mentor and clinical supervisor to the other counselors,” said her nominators. “Linda is often the first person instructional faculty call about a student struggling in the classroom. Through her personal and professional insights, and her ability to encourage and empower others, she has had a great impact on assisting faculty in the classroom who are dealing with a distressed student.”

Through the thousands of personal counseling sessions she has held with students, Brandt recognized how intimate partner relationships can impact personal well-being, focus and motivation. As a result, she developed the HDV-100 Healthy Romantic Relationships course. Her vision for this class elevated the counseling center’s holistic approach to nurturing more aspects of a student’s self. She also created the HDV-111 Career Planning class, which assists undecided students with choosing a major, and developed and facilitated hundreds of career planning and healthy romantic relationship workshops, reaching thousands of students at Moraine Valley and feeder high schools.

Other initiatives she helped pioneer over the years include a math anxiety clinic to guide math faculty in better assisting students and the Learning Development Support System, now known as the Center for Disability Services. She chaired a collegewide task force that recommended policies and procedures for dealing with students who have severe emotional problems, paving the way for the Behavior Intervention and Threat Assessment teams, on which she serves. She also played an integral role as a member of Standards of Academic Progress and Academic Success Workshop committees.

A huge supporter of the One Book, One College Program, Brandt invited Jeremy McCarter, co-author of “Hamilton: The Revolution,” to speak to the college community the year “Hamilton” was the One Book text. She has offered professional development trainings to faculty and staff on topics ranging from diversity, sexual assault, career planning and working with distressed students, and she presents to new faculty during New Faculty Orientation Week.

Brandt has impacted the counseling field outside of Moraine Valley as the co-founder and lead representative of the Community College Counseling Consortium. Through this role, she has connected Moraine Valley counselors to a wide group of community college counselors at other institutions and kept her colleagues well-informed of the trends in the field, new and emerging professional development opportunities, and ways to better serve students. She has been asked to present her workshops on community, state and national levels, and consulted on Ivy Tech Community College’s endeavor to open a counseling center at their institution.

Most recently, Brandt participated in an international faculty exchange program, where she hosted a faculty member from DaVinci College in the Netherlands. She helped the faculty member become familiar with the culture of Moraine Valley, its faculty, students and role in the community. In May, Brandt traveled to Holland to learn from her partner. She said the two-week international exchange with her Dutch colleague was “amazing and a once in a lifetime experience.”

“I am especially proud of having been able to help students feel supported, empowered and connected in some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. It has also been an honor to share the coordination, collaboration and mentoring with my Counseling colleagues and with so many amazing faculty. I have many wonderful stories of counselors and faculty working together and playing a significant role in the retention and academic success of our students,” Brandt said.