The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW instructor gives life lessons in speech class

By Tabitha Redder/nw news editor

Justin Gladney/The Collegian  Carol Hunsberger puts her students in real-life situations in her communications classes. Students have given presentations to real auto dealers about car ideas and organized full-day conferences.
Justin Gladney/The Collegian Carol Hunsberger puts her students in real-life situations in her communications classes. Students have given presentations to real auto dealers about car ideas and organized full-day conferences.

Part five in a five-part series on winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching, an annual recognition of faculty who impress and inspire their students.

Carol Hunsberger truly understands and relates to her students, creating what she calls a collaborative atmosphere when she teaches.

“I was a community college student. I was economically disadvantaged and academically disadvantaged, and I think I understand where the community college student is coming from,” the NW communications instructor said. “I know there were some teachers at my community college that made a difference in my life, and I want to be that teacher for my students.”

Hunsberger began her teaching career at the University of North Texas as a teaching assistant in a communications class.

“I had honestly never thought about teaching at a collegiate level,” she said. “But I walked into that classroom, and I absolutely fell in love. I liked the students, and they liked me.”

NW history professor Mike Nichols praised Hunsberger’s work ethic and relationship with students.

“She always has a great enthusiasm for her classes and her students, so it’s hard to not get caught up in the energy when Carol is teaching a class,” he said. “I haven’t met a student yet that just doesn’t love to be in the presence of Carol.”

This summer will mark Hunsberger’s 15th year working at TCC even though she’s currently on faculty development leave and not physically teaching a class.

On leave, Hunsberger is spending her time creating an Empowering the Dream program where she is traveling the country speaking about the importance of both large and small dreams and interviewing accomplished dreamers about their secrets for achieving their goals.

“I’ve found out some really cool things,” she said of the project. “It will definitely change what I’m teaching because there are some things that I found from the accomplished dreamers that you just can’t read in a textbook.”

Hunsberger makes herself approachable to students and tries to engage them in different ways, Nichols said.

Hunsberger is well known on campus for her various teaching techniques that go far beyond any textbook requirement.

In the past, students in her class have prepared presentations and marketed a car to local auto dealers, created plans to improve failing businesses and learned how to conduct and plan a full-day conference event, all in addition to the standard curriculum required for credit in a communications course.

“It’s one thing to hear about successful communication strategies. It’s another to learn by doing,” philosophy and world religion professor Tony Roberts said in his recommendation for Hunsberger. “No other instructor in the district (that I’m aware of) has made the required communication classes so useful.”

In addition to being thoroughly involved with her communications classes, Hunsberger works with Roberts as a sponsor for the NW chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and is also involved with the Communicators Club on campus.

“I get as much from my students that I teach as they get from me,” Hunsberger said. “I just feel that it’s a real mutual relationship. We’re all learning together.”

Former speech student Britney Garcia gained confidence and a new outlook on her life in Hunsberger’s class.

“I came out of that class with my head held high and tears in my eyes because I knew that from that day forward I would be a better me,” she wrote in her Chancellor’s Award recommendation letter for Hunsberger.

Although Hunsberger doesn’t teach with the intent of receiving praise, she said she will cherish the award.

“This award is something I’m very honored to win because it was voted on by my colleagues,” she said. “It meant a lot to me that my peers thought I was a good teacher.”

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