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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New instructor trades Rhode Island cold for Texas heat

Liz Sanders, adjunct instructor of speech and radio-tv broadcast, confers with Jerry Zumwalt, coordinator of the RTVB program on NE Campus, regarding the Computer Video Production class she teaches. A native of Rhode Island, Sanders is finishing her first term at TCC.  Photo by Gary Collins/The Collegian
Liz Sanders, adjunct instructor of speech and radio-tv broadcast, confers with Jerry Zumwalt, coordinator of the RTVB program on NE Campus, regarding the Computer Video Production class she teaches. A native of Rhode Island, Sanders is finishing her first term at TCC. Photo by Gary Collins/The Collegian

By Gary Collins/reporter

Liz Sanders, adjunct instructor of speech and radio-tv broadcast, confers with Jerry Zumwalt, coordinator of the RTVB program on NE Campus, regarding the Computer Video Production class she teaches. A native of Rhode Island, Sanders is finishing her first term at TCC.  Photo by Gary Collins/The Collegian
Liz Sanders, adjunct instructor of speech and radio-tv broadcast, confers with Jerry Zumwalt, coordinator of the RTVB program on NE Campus, regarding the Computer Video Production class she teaches. A native of Rhode Island, Sanders is finishing her first term at TCC. Photo by Gary Collins/The Collegian

From the cold winters of New England to the hot, dry summers of Texas, Rhode Island-native Liz Sanders is one of the newest members of the NE Campus staff.

“ I came here for a little bit during the summer, and we started building a house,” she said. “Then we went back to Rhode Island, and I officially moved here in November. But then I was gone November,
December and January and got back a day before school started.”

Sanders, who teaches Computers in Video Production and Fundamentals of Speech Communication, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah before returning to Rhode Island. She received a master’s degree in speech communication from the University of Rhode Island.

Her degree in speech communication would come in handy as she would eventually land her first job in the radio business, a life-long interest. However, Sanders was not always sure if working in radio was her ultimate career goal.

“ I thought I wanted to teach kindergarten, and then I did some student teaching and found that I don’t deal well with kindergartners,” she said.

With a curiosity about the world and the people in it, Sanders found talk radio a way to learn more about the world.

“ When I was 16, my parents got me an old lime green Chevy Malibu, which had only AM radio. So the only thing I could listen to was Mexican music or talk radio, and I got hooked,” she said.

“ I just loved the places it could take me, and I didn’t have to leave my car.”
With a little cunning and luck while still an undergraduate, Sanders secured her first job in radio at KSL-
AM in Salt Lake City.

“ It was funny. I was the assistant to the vice president of news and programming, and I hadn’t graduated college yet,” she said. “I worked on the second floor and he was on the first in the newsroom, so he’d be gone all day. I’d sneak off everyday to go to class and he never noticed.”

A passionate radio listener, she found working at KSL was her favorite job.

“ I felt that radio was an original thing. It connects with people more … or maybe just with me. I love the immediacy of it,” she said.

Sanders, by choice, has limited experience in television news. She had a fellowship at the International Radio and Television Society. However, while working for ABC in New York, she realized that she didn’t like that segment of media.

She also has some experience in the entertainment side of radio. While at KSL, she did some entertainment news for the Sundance Film Festival, something else she discovered she did not want to do.

“ I got a taste of the entertainment world and found that I didn’t like it,” she said. “It wasn’t real to me and not that important.”

The wide variety of stories that radio can cover is what Sanders likes most about the medium.

“ It’s continuing education at its finest. I learn new things all the time, and I meet people that I wouldn’t meet otherwise,” she said. “And I have an excuse to ask really personal questions.”

She acquired her first teaching gig at the University of Rhode Island as a teaching assistant for a professor from Germany.

Eventually Sanders would get to teach classes on her own. She admired her college instructors who were fun when they taught, and she wanted to be a fun teacher, too. But the biggest influences in her life are her mother and grandfather, who were both teachers.

“ They’re both above and beyond nationally recognized teachers,” she said. “So I think it’s in my blood.”

Working at TCC, Sanders has had to do a bit of adjusting because of differences in working at a four-year university compared to TCC.

“ At the university, the focus was on research while at TCC, the focus is more on instructing the students,” she said.

Teachers at the university level often have teaching assistants to help, so Sanders has had to adjust to being on her own at TCC.

“ Being an adjunct, I definitely struggle. Here it’s all on me, so I get paid for the classroom, go home and have to do a couple of hours of prep for the next class and another hour correcting papers,” she said.

“ So by the time I factor in time, baby-sitting costs and the cost of driving here, I figure I’m making about $5 an hour.”

Some long-term goals in Sanders’ future are to find balance between being a mom and having a career and to focus on writing stories that are not covered by the mainstream media.

With her background in speech communications, Sanders wants students to leave her classes being able to better communicate their ideas and have more confidence in the way they speak.

Sanders offers advice for future students who may want to go into the radio broadcasting field.

“ Read, read, read and be open to the world. People’s ideas are going to be different in the world, and if you immediately push those ideas away, you’re going to kill the interview before it even starts,” she said.
“ Just be open to the world, life and experience.”

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