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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

Byrd stays passionate for student successes

South philosophy professor Jeremy Byrd helps students connect philosophy to everyday life.Dakota Greene/The Collegian
South philosophy professor Jeremy Byrd helps students connect philosophy to everyday life.

Dakota Greene/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford/ managing editor

Longtime Bulldogs fan Jeremy Byrd cited a time when he was chosen as a child to sell programs during the first half of a University of Georgia football game.

“In the second half, you get to watch the game,” he said. “I was able to go on a couple of occasions as a small child and get a chance to go to the game for free. I got to watch Herschel Walker and Georgia win every game.”

South philosophy professor Jeremy Byrd helps students connect philosophy to everyday life.Dakota Greene/The Collegian
South philosophy professor Jeremy Byrd helps students connect philosophy to everyday life.
Dakota Greene/The Collegian

Byrd, now a South philosophy professor and department chair, traveled from Georgia to Fort Worth after his wife was offered a job at the University of Texas at Arlington.

It took a while before he ended up at TCC, working as a math teacher in a public grade school, but he almost instantly felt that the college was the perfect fit.

And now that he’s South Campus’ Chancellor’s Award recipient, that may only reinforce his passion for TCC.

“I knew very early on that this was where I belong,” Byrd said. “I loved teaching here right away.”

He really enjoys the types of students he comes across and really enjoys his colleagues.

“What differentiates Professor Byrd is his willingness to help students succeed,” former TCC student Austin Perrotti said. “He will assist you outside of class hours.”

South student Delia Morales agreed, adding that he’s willing to help in the classroom as much as he can as well.

“If we don’t understand the concept in the literature, he’s always there,” she said.

But Byrd seems unfazed by how impressed his students are by the accessibility to their philosophy professor. He thinks it’s just part of the job.

“You can’t teach from 9:30 to 10:50 and then be done,” Byrd said. “At TCC, we are heavily encouraged, rightfully so, to engage with our students.”

Byrd said that his end of the learning process is to be there for students when they have questions, and not every student asks or thinks of their question while in class.

But being a Chancellor’s Award recipient only further proves to Byrd that TCC is interested in student success.

“I’ve been working really hard over the last few years, trying to figure out what works and doesn’t work in my classroom,” he said. “Not everything is going to work, but in some sense, it’s the effort being recognized, and that’s exactly the message we want to send.”

For Morales, Byrd’s philosophy class opened many doors.

His methods helped her bridge the gap between her life and some of the literature she had to read.

“He taught me how to connect philosophy into everyday life,” she said.

Byrd wants students to walk out of his philosophy class with not just a grasp on the literature he assigns but a curious outlook on what intrigues philosophers.

“We’re always trying to understand ourselves and the world around us,” Byrd said. “You try to put these different ways of looking at the world together, but there’s often these sort of tensions. They don’t fit so well together.”

Byrd wants students to be aware of those tensions and start asking their own questions.

“And we don’t want to say, ‘Plato said such and such,’” he said. “I think one of the most amazing things about philosophy is that each student can actually engage in this. We ask our students to figure out if Plato was right.”

His philosophical mind doesn’t stop there. In fact, he often discusses with SE religion and philosophy assistant professor Justin Grace the concept of being a sports fan.

“We often speak about the irrationality of rooting for football. It will most likely end in gnashing of teeth,” Grace said. “Despite knowing it’s irrational to do so, he’s a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan.”

Grace finds Byrd to be a great addition to TCC and an important colleague within TCC’s philosophy community.

Byrd’s passion for teaching and his dedication to helping students make the most of their time extends into his work with the Cornerstone honors program on South.

Not only did Byrd inspire Morales to go into the Cornerstone program, but he also helped her score a spot on the Salzburg, Austria, trip this summer.

Byrd mentioned one of his first TCC students and the experience of watching him grow.

“He was a very average high school student, so he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do,” he said.

The student took three classes with Byrd, and the two talked a lot outside of class to figure out a plan for transferring.

“He ended up transferring down to the University of Texas, which is one of the best philosophy programs in the country, and won their award for best honors thesis,” he said, “and is now up getting his Ph.D. in New York.”

For Byrd, students will always come first, and he takes an interest in their academic needs.

“When you get to know somebody, you start to know people,” Byrd said. “You want to connect.”

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