Alumnus shares experience with today's students

Professor Joe Shackelford’s positive manner in the classroom helps students learn. An alumnus of Jackson College, he knows firsthand the benefits that a community college offers. Today, as program coordinator for radiography, he gets to share his passion with students.

Radiography involves imaging of the human body – from X-rays to CT scans, MRI and more. Shackelford became interested in health care while attending the Branch Area Career Center in high school. Imaging fascinated him and, as a creative person, he found there was artistry in how one scans a patient. So after high school, he entered the Navy Reserve and also enrolled at Jackson College.

“Every professor I had was wonderful,” he recalls. Shackelford graduated in 1991 as a radiographer, and returned in 1994 to begin teaching part-time at Jackson College. He gained experience working several years at Chelsea Community Hospital and serving as an X-ray technologist and corpsman in the Navy Reserve. In 2002 he became a full-time professor and radiography program director. He also completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Spring Arbor University.

Helping people

“I just love being on a college campus. I always wanted to do this,” Shackelford said. In both health care and teaching, people come first. “For me, life is about people. I like getting to know people, working with people, helping people. What is life without people?”

Away from the job, he and wife, Julie, have been married almost 20 years and have three children. He shares the benefits of community college with his own children. He loves coming to work each day.

“I am very honored to teach at the community college level. I feel that we play a vital role in our community in helping people take that first step with college, learning confidence and ultimately achieving a career that can sustain them for their lives.”