Professor Profile: Anne Acker

Misha Khan

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Photo by Grace Singer

Associate professor and chair of the computer science department at Jacksonville University Anne Acker believes in teaching students more than just computer programming in her classes. As a teacher, she sees herself as someone who should instill good morals and principles in her students.

Anne Acker says she got into the teaching profession more so by accident. Acker started out her career as a certified public accountant working in the corporate world of AT&T. She learned programming there as part of her job and later decided she did not want to do it anymore and began searching for a new career path that eventually landed her at JU.

“I had always liked interacting with people in training,” she said. “So I decided that maybe I could do some adjunct teaching and thought that I would do that in accounting.”

Even though Acker had worked as a CPA for several years, she had more credits in programming and called JU by chance while contacting various colleges.

“It so happened that someone had left unexpectedly and they needed to fill a full-time position and I was hired only for a year,” Acker said. “I applied for a job along with some other people and fortunately I got selected. So I came for a year, 16 years ago.”

Sixteen years and counting, Acker seems fully content with her new career path. For her teaching is much more than computer programming and what matters most to her are the students.

“I definitely enjoy the interaction and enjoy seeing them learning new things and making connections between things that we talk about without me having to say how they are related,” she said.

Nothing gives her more joy than seeing her students develop the necessary critical-thinking skills and challenges people to tell her what job they would have that did not require them to use Microsoft Excel.

“So far nobody has been able to do that,” Acker said. “I cut them down every time.”

On a more serious note, Acker does want her students to know how their actions affect other people. It may seem strange coming from a computer science professor but Acker is very much concerned with the people side of things. She wants her students to be able to be in a situation and look at it from all angles.

Her coursework with students involves a lot of problem-solving activities and projects that the students have to do from start to finish. Acker said that she does this to help them take a look at the broad picture and see what’s really going on as part of a team rather than narrowing oneself to a single line of work.

A couple of Acker’s hobbies include metal smiting and reading old English murder mysteries.

“No blood, guts or anything,” she said. “Just more the solving of it. Also, I just do all kinds of crafts.”

For this computer science professor, her love of teaching goes beyond JU and into the lives of adults with cognitive disabilities at the Rainbow Workshop, where she is a regular volunteer.

“Their job is to go to the workshop and make things that can be sold,” she said. “So it combines my love of crafts with my love of working with people with disabilities. Initially that’s what my first major was going to be, special ed.”

Acker said that metal smiting courses came to an end the year before she joined. She had originally planned to work on her hobby during her spare time; however, she now takes classes at local workshops offered in Jacksonville that help her develop her skills. If she wasn’t a professor, Acker says she would have tried a hand at metal smiting as a profession or continue helping adults with cognitive disabilities.

Professor Anne Acker is a one of a kind computer programmer and professor. Her experience makes her a valuable addition to the fine list of professors at JU. Her goodhearted social nature makes her a lovable and well-respected professor. Her love for helping others makes her a well-rounded individual. Professor Anne Acker is surely a delight to talk to.

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