(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – May 8, 2020) A faculty member who helps the community deal with trauma while preparing the next generation of therapists has received California Lutheran University’s highest teaching honor.
Jamie Banker, an associate professor in the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program, received the 2020 President’s Award for Teaching Excellence during the virtual Honors Recognition event. The award was created in 1995 to recognize professors who are held in high esteem by their peers, students and the rest of the university community.
“She has been a transformational teacher and leader for more than a decade,” said President Chris Kimball. “She has worn many hats, often simultaneously, and her impact has gone well beyond her program.”
Banker, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joined the faculty in 2010 and served as program director for seven years. The Thousand Oaks resident is not only known as an excellent teacher and clinical supervisor for trainees but also a dedicated mentor to students as they conduct research, submit publications and prepare to enter doctoral programs, Kimball said.
“Teaching Cal Lutheran students for the last 10 years has been a tremendous privilege. I get to teach a topic that is my passion and engage dedicated and committed students who push me for more in my teaching,” Banker said.
As a doctoral student and family therapist at Virginia Tech in 2007 when a gunman killed 32 people on campus, Banker assisted survivors in their psychological recovery. In the aftermath, she devoted a significant portion of her research and advocacy to the prevention and recovery efforts of mass shootings throughout the United States. After the Borderline shooting in Thousand Oaks in 2018, she provided support and resources to students, faculty, staff and community members.
Now she is helping people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic as a volunteer psychotherapist with the California Mental Health Corps. She used her virtual acceptance speech for the teaching award as an opportunity to comfort students: “I want to tell you that it is OK to feel, and fully feel, all that you are experiencing right now. … We have lost some sense of security, some sense of safety and, absolutely, our sense of predictability.”
Throughout her career, Banker also has worked to improve health care delivery. Her clinical and research interests include women’s and family health, the collaboration between family therapists and medical professionals, and the alignment of medical and mental-health assessment and treatment. Banker has been an appointed member of the Ventura County Behavioral Health Advisory Board for two years and serves on other national and international boards and committees.