August 2021 Spotlight: Jim Prager

Chrystal GillmingStaff Spotlight

If you’ve been on the Yuba College campus for any amount of time, you’ve most
likely have heard of, or even met, the legend that is Jim Prager. For half a century, Jim
has been a visible part of the Yuba College community, from teaching an array of
courses in reading and writing to performing in plays like “Death of a Salesman” to
cheering on the basketball team since their inception. But, if you haven’t had the
chance to meet him, you most likely have benefited from his passionate commitment
to Yuba College’s tutoring program. Simply put, Jim is a 49er through and through.
Jim began his career at Yuba as a full-time faculty member, teaching general studies.
He was then offered to be the coordinator for the tutoring program. For Jim, it was the
perfect fit.

“I thought working in the tutoring program was the best job in three counties,” Jim
explained. “It gave me a chance to connect with the students and the Yuba community
on a new level.”

As his career at Yuba continued, Jim taught a litany of courses, including reading,
writing and speech, among others. While he retired in 2009, he continues to serve as
an adjunct professor, teaching short-term courses throughout the year.

Jim’s passion for Yuba and the community college system took him to places beyond
the college. During his time at Yuba, Jim, in a partnership with Carl Spring from UC
Davis, composed the paper “Teaching Community College Students to Follow the
Train of Thought,” which was awarded top paper College Reading Association. Later
on, he was elected to the State Academic Senate in California to represent northern
California. During his service, he was a part of the Senate that passed AB1725 which
moved community colleges out of the K-12 education system.

Above all, Jim’s passion is for his students. He feels that it is his duty to instill the
importance of critical thinking, empowering his students to think for themselves as
they attend Yuba and beyond.

“I love creating high-powered connections with my students and recognize a student’s
presence in the classroom. Anyone who teaches at a community college has to
consider themselves lucky. Yuba has always encouraged a community for growth and
it’s something that I’ll never take for granted.”