RPCC Teacher Profile
Name: Dr. Woukeenia Cousin
Position or subject you teach: Sociology and History
School: River Parishes Community College
Experience: I taught elementary and middle school for six years, and I have been teaching on the college level for ten years.
Hometown: Originally from Houma, La.- Currently reside in Geismar, La.
Education: B.A. in History, M.A. in Social Sciences, Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration
Family: Family is very important to me. My parents always instilled in me the importance of family and how family comes first in all aspects of life. I have been married to Marlon Cousin for ten years. We have a son, Bryce Cousin, who is ten years old and is in the fifth grade.
Interestsandhobbies: I love reading novels, traveling and meeting new people. I also enjoy running the Students In Service (SIS) program, an AmeriCorps program that requires students to volunteer at a non-profit organization to be eligible for a college scholarship. When I’m not moderating this group or enjoying my hobbies, I teach service learning classes at River Parishes Community College, which is a very rewarding way to give back to your community. I also enjoy being a perfume vendor during my free time from school.
In several sentences explain how and why you decided to become an educator or become involved in education.
My father inspired me to teach. He has been a teacher for 28 years. He began teaching special education and eventually received his certification to become a Social Studies teacher at Oaklawn Junior High School in Houma, La. He also coached girls’ softball and basketball. When I was a child, I saw my dad grading papers at the kitchen table and knew how important his students were to him. He would become angry when some of his students just didn’t want to put forth the effort to do their best to learn as much as they could. I have also seen how my father changed the lives of students who lived in a poor community by encouraging them to graduate from high school and to go to college.
I truly believe that teaching is a special calling, and many rewards come with this profession. It is not a job well suited for everyone.
Who is someone in current events who you admire and why?
I admire Arnold “A.J.” Johnson and Gabby Briley Johnson, who are the founders of Face To Face Enrichment Center and the Baton Rouge and Gonzales AIDS Society. They both like to enlighten the people in our community about the importance of getting tested for HIV.
What are the greatest challenges in education today?
The greatest challenges in education today are motivating students and funding. Some students want teachers to give them grades they did not earn. Another challenge in education today is state budget cuts. With today’s financial deficit, the first thing that the governor cut was higher education. This issue is not allowing students to get the best of the best professors at the institution when it comes to learning.
What advice can you offer for someone who wants to go into education?
Be dedicated, and make sure you enjoy teaching what is in your field. Make learning fun and enjoyable for students. It’s important for students to gain knowledge of the course material being taught in a unique and positive way.
What teaching moment is most memorable?
One of my most memorable times I recall is when a group of my students in my Introduction to Sociology class did a culture project on Haiti. The group presented their project right after Haiti was hit hard with a major earthquake. That was the reason why that group decided to do their project on Haiti.
The group wanted to make a difference in Haiti by holding a clothing drive at the college to send to Haiti. After the students presented the idea to me, RPCC Chancellor Joe Ben Welch approved it.
The overwhelming response of giving by students, faculty and staff was unbelievable. So much was given that we called Salvation Army to pick them up. At that time they had a truck driving to Texas to load a boat bound for Haiti.
As a professor, I was proud to see my students so passionate about what they learned and researched in class and to see the desire to make a difference in other parts of the world. It inspired me as a teacher to educate my students more on current events that are occurring around the world. Those students made a huge difference and blessing in someone else’s world. And that is something I was very proud of and will never forget.