Dr. Javier Gerardo Gómez, Japanese and Spanish instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus, has been selected as the 2024 Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year. Gómez will be recognized in Jackson on March 22 at the 2024 Public Humanities Award Ceremony. Each year, the MHC recognizes outstanding faculty in traditional humanities fields at each of the state’s institutions of higher learning.
This is Gómez’s second recognition as a Mississippi Humanities Council Award recipient—the first one being in 2013 where he presented “Making Global Connections with Canvas Computing.” He was also MGCCC Instructor of the Year for the Jackson County Campus in 2016 and he was named a Moody Institute Fellow in 2017.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Mississippi Humanities Council Award,” Gómez said. “Above all, I am extremely proud to be a member of this family of administrators, faculty, and staff who support and promote the teaching and learning of world languages and cultures.”
He continued, noting the commitment it takes to learn a new language. “Learning a language and understanding a culture other than one’s own requires dedication and an open mind,” he said. “As a world language instructor, I am blessed to observe these qualities in my MFL learners. Throughout my years at Gulf Coast, I have seen my language learners take their linguistic skills to the local community to teach Spanish, assist our diverse population improve their English proficiency, pursue advanced degrees in languages, and even become non-commissioned and commissioned officers in the United States Military. The achievements of Gulf Coast’s MFL learners are the product of the connections and comparisons they make between their language of study and the different disciplines taught by the high-quality instructors at MGCCC. “
As part of the award, Gómez will be presenting a lecture entitled “A Polyglot’s Journey on Language Acquisition and Five Secrets to Language Learning” on Thursday, March 14 in the Warner Peterson Administration Budling Lecture Hall at the Jackson County Campus. The lecture will begin at 12:30 p.m.
“It is a joy to celebrate Dr. Gerardo Gómez and this award,” said Dr. Brad Bailey, dean of Teaching and Learning at the Jackson County Campus. “Dr. Gómez exemplifies all the values of the Mississippi Humanities Council. He is an engaging and passionate foreign language instructor and is an enormous asset to our campus and for our students.”
Gómez, a United States Army Veteran, has been an instructor at MGCCC since 2012. He teaches every level of Spanish (I, II, III, and IV) and Japanese I and II, a program he initiated in 2014 making MGCCC the only community college in the state to offer Japanese. He also serves as an Instructional Designer at the Jackson County Campus where he assists faculty and students with embedding the latest technology tools to enhance teaching and learning. Outside of the Jackson County Campus, Gómez also teaches Spanish for Shipbuilders and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at Ingalls Shipbuilding for the Workforce Development Program.
Having spent 14 years in Japan and traveled extensively, his love of culture, language, and world travel shine through in his teaching. Gómez is originally from Puerto Rico and moved to the mainland when his father, Gerardo Gómez, received a transfer to Bayonne, New Jersey.
“Dr. Gómez is an outstanding representative and colleague for the Jackson County School of Language Arts,” said Dr. Bre Smith, School of Language Arts chair at the Jackson County Campus. “With his extensive knowledge in the field of Modern Foreign Language, commitment to instruction, and competency in progressive technology, Dr. Gómez is an exceptional instructor and a worthy recipient of this award.”