When English lecturer Beth Barry gets a classroom full of freshmen each year, she hopes they leave her course with a new understanding of the written word. Her “Write To Serve” method shows incoming students how writing is a way they can communicate ideas they care about.
“Writing is like music or painting,” said Barry. “It’s a form of expression you can use to empower yourself and others. Even academic writing should be creative and compelling – it should touch an audience and inspire action, just like great art does.”
She knows not everyone shares her passion for writing and some students dread writing. They especially dread letting others read their work. That, however, is why she remains so dedicated to her cause.
“Part of their course requirement is that we go into the community and share our stories with others,” said Barry. “We go to Seguin High School each year and work with freshman in the writing center. I tell my students that their story could influence someone else to stand up and fix something they don’t like in their lives. They could be a catalyst for change.”
Most importantly, she wants students to know writing isn’t just a series of meaningless assignments.
”It’s an opportunity to find your voice, sharpen your writing skills, and practice using those skills to empower yourself and others. It’s an opportunity to share and to celebrate our own lives. Your story might resonate with someone. I want students to know their words can inspire others.”
Read More Got Passion? Stories
Although a gardener at heart, Tim Barr is passionate about more than just growing vegetables. From his young daughters to TLU students to members of the Seguin community, Tim sees himself as a co-educator emphasizing the interconnectedness of life in Seguin and on this planet. Whether it’s with local farmers or members of his church, developing a sense of community and cultivating relationships are his main focus. “We’re all part of something bigger,” says Barr, director of the Jon and Sandra Moline Center for Student Leadership. “I hope I can help students deepen their understanding of global citizenship and local involvement. I want students to connect with the Seguin community, invest in their new home, and grow relationships with one another.”
Dr. Robin Bisha has found a way to pair her love for animals with teaching. The communication studies professor’s unique approach to studying leadership involves students in the practice of animal welfare with rescue dogs. The benefits of animal companionship come to life in her Communication Studies 332 course Leadership For Social Change. “We can learn skills that are relevant to our human relationships through our relationships with animals,” Bisha said. “We think about leadership in terms of business and government, but I want students to see how studying positive reinforcement with animals can open our minds when it comes to leadership. People must have trust in those who lead them. I believe my class shows how conflict resolution and building relationships with animals translate to how we interact with other humans.”
|Chef Ernest Servantes|
When a teenage Ernest Servantes first stepped into a busy restaurant kitchen, he knew it was his calling. Having always been intrigued by food and the art of preparing dishes, his natural leadership abilities, determination and sense of pride are what he says make him the chef he is today. As TLU’s executive chef and winner of Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters he wants everyone to remember more than just his big, bold flavors. “It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter the degrees you have on your wall or how many famous restaurants you own,” Servantes said. “It’s about where you come from and who you are in your soul. My family, friends and the TLU community remain at the heart of my cooking.”
Growing up, Dr. Annette Citzler spent many days on her grandparents' farm. From pickling vegetables and making cookies to butchering meat and churning butter, those experiences showed her the true meaning of farm to table. This TLU business professor’s passion for recipes and baking started with her love for the social aspect of food. She wants people to get past the vicarious thrill of cooking and get into the personal thrill of producing a meal. “Cooking is done out of love,” Dr. Citzler says. “We make food for others so we can enjoy meals with them. People have been coming together to share meals since our earliest history, building cultures and families around food. I want students to explore and understand the meaning of food in our lives.”
Working with the Black & Gold President’s Council is like being a parent over and over again for TLU’s First Lady Michelle Dorsey. Inspired by her mother’s encouraging nature, Michelle wants students to have both an academic and social education. From etiquette to wardrobe, students who serve on the President’s Council develop social leadership. By involving them in various University events, they learn how to interact with people and gain confidence in social situations. “We’re committed to turning out a whole person,” says Dorsey. “TLU is transformative. When you see the change in these students from the time they join the council to the time they leave, it’s wonderful. They have lots to offer and with the right tools, they really shine.”
When Rodrick Shao moved to the U.S. from Tanzania two decades ago, he saw endless opportunities. He also noticed how basic needs like food, shelter, and education were sometimes taken for granted. Now an instructional technologist, giving back to those less fortunate remains his passion. For the past 10 years, he and his wife Elly have raised funds and awareness for orphans in Tanzania. “Our hearts go out to these children,” says Shao. “AIDS has wiped out a generation of young parents. Their children are now the responsibility of society. I encourage people to look at their own lives, what they’ve been given, and how they can return the favor. I was given the chance to succeed and they deserve the same.”