The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Teaching tips from professors

The backbone of the Tarleton State community

Tarleton State University has always been held in high regard by students and alumni, even having reached the top five in the Wall Street Journal’s list of “Best Colleges of 2023.” Many enjoy the intimate small-town feel on the Stephenville campus despite its large size.

“Our outstanding faculty and dedicated staff are committed to ensuring that once here, every student has the support to succeed,” Tarleton State University President, James Hurley, said.

A huge part of this university’s success and friendly atmosphere is honed from its professors, who serve as the backbone of the Tarleton State community. When asked to discuss how they offer students this outstanding support, they were happy to oblige.

Many professors emphasized the importance of building relationships with their students.

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“What I have found most effective is to get to know as many of my students each semester as possible. I try to learn their names, their progress in other courses, and their involvement in campus life,”  Dr. Steven Peach, a U.S. History professor at Tarleton State University, said. “Establishing a faculty-student relationship like that is really important to the development of each class.” 

Professor Hayley Danley also seems to apply this logic while teaching her English 1302 classes.

“I do my best to memorize all my students’ names and majors so that I can explain concepts to them in terms they are familiar with,” Danley said. “Every class and every student is different, so I’m constantly adjusting my teaching style to ensure it’s resonating with the students.”

Not only do Tarleton State professors get to know their students, but they also make a solid effort to keep them engaged.

“The question I ask each class session isn’t ‘What am I going to talk about today’ but ‘What will my students do today?’ If they have something each day to puzzle over, talk about, create, or work on, they will get a lot more out of the lesson,” Dr. Derril Watson, an economics professor said.

Another great way to promote engagement, professors found, is through class discussions.

“Be a pro at asking effective questions so that you are ready to listen to student’s thinking,” Kayla Wood, an Algebra professor said.

While lectures are still important, there is a lot more that goes into helping students think about and retain information.

“…it’s important to pause, invite questions, and sprinkle in some primary sources or other materials that get students to participate and, perhaps, excited to participate,” Peach said. “I let them know that while I am a professional historian, I don’t know everything, and I always welcome a variety of perspectives on course information,” History Professor Steven Peach said.

For valuable insight on refining their teaching techniques, there is no better place for a professor to look than their fellow professors.

“I love to hear what other colleagues are doing and being challenged to try new things in the classroom,” Wood said.

Historian and professor, Steven Peach, has some additional advice for his Tarleton State University colleagues.

“I urge them to continue to work on their research, go to conferences, and the like. Your research shapes your teaching. And your students will notice and appreciate that,” Peach said. “Sometimes I worry that reading a new book or drafting a new essay will take too much time away from teaching, but it always seems to work out. One influences the other.” 

Professors here at Tarleton State University are set apart by a love for both what they do, and the opportunity to witness students flourish.

“… you are getting to be a piece of the puzzle that is forming that shows what they will become in their chosen field,” Wood said.

Overall, much of Tarleton State’s success as a university can be attributed to the wonderful professors and faculty. They have truly made a positive impact on students all over campus.

 “I feel successful each day the more I can verify that they have learned something they can take with them and use,” Watson said. “I treasure each note I’ve received from past students who felt I was able to make a difference in their life.”

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Brooklyn McKinney
Brooklyn McKinney, Staff Writer

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