University Mourns Loss of Learning Skills Instructor John Brown

University Mourns Loss of Learning Skills Instructor John Brown


Mr. John M. Brown, Instructor in the Department of Learning Skills (Learning Services), passed away at Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center in Anniston on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Mr. Brown had been an employee at Jacksonville State University for 27 years. He was a graduate of the University of North Alabama and Auburn University. JB (as he was known to most) was a writing instructor who taught basic English skills and freshman success courses. His largest influence and teaching contribution came through his many years of dedication to helping students pass the English Competency Exam (ECE). He was an innovator in the field of precision teaching, where he contributed many ideas for research, educational measurement and intervention. He wrote two textbooks, Write Away (1-5 ed.) and Exploring Correct English, both of which were instrumental in helping teach grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph and essay development.

He was one of the developers of the successful summer bridge program, ExSEL, which for over 20 years assisted underprepared students in gaining entrance into JSU.  While he was involved in campus activities, committees, and orientations over his many years at JSU, his absolute passion was teaching students. He was a learning/student centered teacher in all respects. He reached thousands of students over the years through his patient, kind and encouraging demeanor. Many students were influenced by his approachable teaching style, empathetic nature, dry humor and wit. He taught students from where they were and elevated them to a level of learning beyond what they thought possible. More than a teacher, he was a true mentor who helped advise and guide students to successful careers after their time at JSU.  Year after year, students who had been in his classes came by to visit, talk, and catch up with JB and thank him for his influence in their lives.

He was a founding member of our Learning Services family, and his passing brings an immeasurable loss to JSU and our department. JB would often quote song lyrics, and one of his favorite lyrics was by Johnny Mercer: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, but don’t mess with mister inbetweeen.” We celebrate his life and accentuate the positive influence he had over so many.

A private family service was held in Tuscumbia, Ala. today. A memorial service will be held at JSU after fall classes begin. Details of this memorial will be posted on this website in the coming weeks. 

Photo: John Brown (courtesy, JSU Learning Services)