TEL Associate Chair’s Commitment to Tomorrow’s Teachers Lands MC’s Young Faculty Honor
Refining established best practices in education and discovering innovative teaching approaches motivate Katherine Horlock to enhance the classroom experience for future generations of America’s students.
They’re what drove the Madison native to pursue a career in education, serve in the K-12 setting for a decade, chair the science department at Jackson Preparatory School, obtaining her doctorate in educational leadership, and ultimately excel as a faculty member in the Teacher Education and Leadership Department at Mississippi College.
“My favorite part of my job is working with the students,” said Horlock, associate chair for the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership. “It’s so much fun to be able to watch them as they grow and become real teachers. It’s neat to watch them as they practice teach, student teach, and eventually, get hired as teachers.
“It’s a privilege to get to help them on their journey.”
Horlock’s commitment to serving the needs of her students earned her the 2023 Pittman Young Faculty of the Year Award at Mississippi College. She was honored during MC’s Central Graduation Event May 4 in the Quad.
Established in 2004 by the late George Pittman ‘59, former longtime MC English Department chair, and his wife, Alicia ‘60, to encourage young faculty at MC, the award honors professors no older than 35 who demonstrate strong Christian values, possess a doctorate, and are recognized by their peers for their accomplishments and potential as a teacher. Nominees must have taught for at least two, but no more than five years at the Christian University.
The award is named as a tribute to the deep commitment the Pittmans had for the Baptist-affiliated university. The Pittmans were founders of the annual Shakespeare Festival at MC, and the George and Alicia Pittman Conference Room in Jennings Hall is named in their honor.
Cindy Melton, dean of the School of Education at MC, said Horlock shares a similar commitment to her students.
“Katherine brings such a delightful energy to the classroom, where she has a wealth of information, skills, experience, and expertise to share with our future teachers,” Melton said. “In addition to being an excellent teacher, Katherine is a wonderful leader and team member. She is very personable, caring, and hard-working. She epitomizes the qualities of a model teacher that we strive to instill in our students.
“Dr. Horlock’s students have commented that she is a very enthusiastic, fun, and caring instructor who points us to the Lord and models what it means to be a Christian educator. One student said, ‘Dr. Horlock quickly became one of my favorite professors because of her kind personality and how she engaged each student. She is definitely one of the very best.’”
Horlock’s colleagues concur. Jennifer Stafford, professor and chair of teacher education and leadership, calls her an “awesome advocate” for her students.
“Dr. Horlock is a very talented leader and educator,” Stafford said. “She works tirelessly to make sure every detail is attended to as she plans for student meetings and events. She is always excited to work with our student groups and their activities, as she goes above and beyond to make everyone feel important and appreciated.
“She works on her classes with the same attention and energy. She plans weeks and months in advance and then revises her plans again and again as she gets to know her students.”
Horlock said she was honored to receive the Young Faculty Award.
“To be recognized by Dean Melton, Dr. Stafford, and my colleagues was special,” she said. “I was excited to receive the award. It was a great honor that my colleagues would nominate me. Everyone has been so supportive, and I’ve enjoyed working with them.”
Horlock developed a passion for teacher education while pursuing her B.A.E. in elementary education and her M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction at the University of Mississippi. As a graduate assistant, she worked in UM’s Teacher Education Department and helped with recruiting.
She began her career as a science teacher at Saint Joseph Catholic School, then joined Jackson Prep, where she taught classes in life science, physical science, engineering design, and Earth science. She concluded her eight-year tenure there as chair of the science department.
While teaching at Prep, Horlock obtained her Ed.S. in educational leadership and administration from Delta State University and her Ed.D. in educational leadership from Belhaven University. Her dissertation, “Immersive Virtual Reality Instructional Methods,” gave insight into her overall educational philosophy.
“I like innovation in the classroom, coming up with new best practices, new ways to teach students that are effective,” she said. “When I finished my doctorate, an opportunity presented itself to come to Mississippi College. Everything fell into place, and I was excited about being able to work with future teachers.
“You hear a lot about the mission and the Christian values at Mississippi College. That drew me here as well. The students are fantastic. They’re so enthusiastic and talented. I enjoy getting to work with them here.”
Upon joining the MC faculty in 2021, Horlock taught graduate and undergraduate classes in the School of Education. During her two years of service, she has sponsored and piloted the school’s Education Learning Community, chaired the Initial Programs Committee, served as the university representative for the Educator Preparation Provider Collaborative Committee for the state of Mississippi, and served on a number of departmental committees.
Named to Madison the City’s Top 10 under 40 list, Horlock is an active member of the Junior League of Jackson. She and her husband, Adam, attend Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison.
Horlock brings an innovative approach to the Tel Department at MC that has enhanced its objective: the professional preparation of classroom teachers and the offering of specialized work in educational leadership. In keeping with her doctoral thesis, she has even introduced virtual reality into her instructional technology class.
“We’ve had the C Spire robot visit our class,” she said. “It’s been fun talking about classrooms of the future. I also teach science for children, and we’ve done a lot of hands-on learning in that class. In my introduction to education class, I try to teach new instructional methods and ways to engage students.”
Her educational plan is all about the classroom of the future, which will be remarkably different from the current model of instruction, Horlock said.
“Everything has changed,” she said. “Even in our online instruction and design classroom, a new certificate program that we offer to help teachers learn how to teach online, students don’t learn the same way that they used to pre-COVID. We have to figure out ways to meet student needs now, such as introducing engaging activities and offering different styles of lessons.”
Horlock said the ability to instill a desire for innovation in future teachers is a strength of the Department of Education at MC that will serve budding instructors well for years to come.
“There is a lot of work that goes into preparing students for the classrooms that will exist in the future,” she said. “I think the Teacher Education Department is doing a great job, and I hope to continue that work here at MC.”