Kate Fletcher: Fostering community in and out of the classroom

Kate Fletcher is a senior lecturer and academic adviser for the UF/IFAS Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department (FYCS) as well as, the faculty adviser to the FYCS Club. Fletcher is known among all her students as passionate and caring, teaching year-round and serving as adviser to approximately 85 undergraduate students every semester.

“It’s an incredible path to walk, teach, observe, and learn from each student — I see this as a gift,” Fletcher said.

When asked to share a fond memory of when she helped a student, Fletcher couldn’t pick just one. She explains that, “through many fantastic and wise professors who have taught me, I’ve learned that people matter, more importantly, that each student matters.” Helping one is just as important as the next.

Fletcher recalls that during her second semester of teaching, she asked her students for pictures that would describe who they were and their backgrounds. Each of the pictures and introduction papers granted Fletcher the opportunity to make connections with nearly every single one of her 60 students that semester. During her earliest teaching years, Fletcher found the invaluable meaning behind simply knowing someone’s name. She shares that, “knowing a person’s name can make all the difference in the world when you walk across the campus and see that same student you know by name.”

Fletcher advising an FYCS student.

“Their name matters, their story matters, their passions matter, and their purpose matters.”

– Fletcher

 

Thank you cards color the walls in Fletcher’s office.

Fletcher teaches three classes every semester, including the introductory course to the major, FYC3001: Principles of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences; most commonly referred to as ‘Intro’. Although she loves every class she teaches, Fletcher shares that this one in particular is her favorite because it, “allows [her] the opportunity to meet students from all walks of UF undergraduate life.” She is able to facilitate a course that helps each student discover their passion and purpose. From 20 students to 170, ‘Intro’ has fluctuated in size but never in quality. Fletcher focuses on being intentional with what she teaches, how she teaches, and what she expects from her students — which includes service-learning.

“I believe that many of my students learn an incredible amount about themselves through the art of serving others. I love seeing students come alive through their service or seeing it ‘click’ in them – that this thing they are doing is it – this is what helps them rise each morning,” shares Fletcher.

“I have had students tell me that I was their first faculty member at UF who made a point to get to know each student, to invite them into my office to have a snack, a cup of tea, and for us to get to know one another. This simple act has profoundly impacted my teaching career due to the relationships I have built with so many students for the past 15 wonderful years at UF.” – Fletcher

An FYCS themed quilt blankets a wall in Fletcher’s office.

Study Abroad Opportunity

Fletcher travels with Dr. Dale Pracht, another FYCS faculty member, during the summer to Galway, Ireland to lead a study abroad program for students interested in youth development and service learning. Since the summer of 2017, this six-week service learning program has provided a transformative experience in the context of youth development in Galway, Ireland.

Irish flags are featured among other memories in Fletcher’s cozy office.

This program provides service-learning, and cultural learning opportunities, along with collaborations among community-based organizations to solve local issues and enhance community engagement. You can find more information regarding the program on the CALS website. If you are interested in taking part in this learning adventure, contact Kate H. Fletcher or Dale Pracht. The application deadline for this program is February 1, 2020.

The family, youth, and community sciences major prepares students to address predictable human developmental changes, unpredictable events such as natural disasters, and persistent problems such as poverty and nutrition. Students study sociology, psychology, and economics as well as advanced topics in youth, family, and community development. Learn more about this major at cals.ufl.edu or take our majors quiz today.

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