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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

Blivens credits award to department teamwork

Blivens+walks+around+the+room+and+stops+to+help+a+student+finish+up+his+speech.+
Blivens walks around the room and stops to help a student finish up his speech.

By Dylan Leverett/ reporter

Tonya Blivens is modest when she speaks about receiving the Chancellor’s Award.

SE speech instructor Tonya Blivens discusses speech tips during class. Photos by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
SE speech instructor Tonya Blivens discusses speech tips during class.
Photos by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

“It was a nomination for our team,” she said. “We really go out of our way to help each other out.”

That team, she says, has supported and mentored her throughout almost 12 years of her career as a speech instructor on SE Campus.

Contrary to her humble words, Blivens received the annual campus-specific award for her hard work and dedication as an instructor.

Originally from the east Texas town of Silsbee, she described it as a small community where families knew teachers as neighbors and friends creating lasting bonds.

She points out that situation is a parallel to TCC’s smaller class sizes and one-on-one teacher-student interactions.

Blivens walks around the room and stops to help a student finish up his speech.
Blivens walks around the room and stops to help a student finish up his speech.

“TCC is a great institution to work for,” she said.

Blivens was raised by parents who were first-generation college graduates who instilled in her the importance of higher learning.

Blivens began her teaching career on NE Campus after graduate school.

She says her personal teaching style is influenced by those teachers who impacted her as a student and that connecting is crucial to influencing others.

“People know when you have an emotional investment in them, and they’re more apt to listen,” she said.

One of Blivens’ former students, Duc Ho, praised Blivens’ personality and teaching style.

“She’s nice, very patient and straightforward,” he said. “Let me put it this way: I don’t like speech, but I would take it again if she was the instructor. She’s great.”

Former student Anisa Avalos says Blivens has a hospitable personality and an interactive teaching approach that challenges students to be more successful.

“She is not only willing to challenge you with her lectures and assignments but makes you willing to challenge yourself,” Avalos said. “Mrs. Blivens inspires her students to be more than just students but to be scholars.”

SE speech and drama department chair Pert Durapau says Blivens is effective because of her demeanor toward teaching.

“[She’s] an inspirational instructor who brings a wonderful level of professionalism and expertise to her classroom,” she said. “[She provides] great support to the many students she teaches.”

Durapau said Blivens is also a colleague who believes in teamwork.

“[She] reaches out to other faculty and accepts extra responsibilities in order to serve our campus community,” she said. “I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.”

Students may not realize the importance or influence they can have through communication and public speaking, Blivens says.

“Communications is one of those things that we all do, but do we really know how we communicate?” she said.

Blivens says she enjoys teaching speech because it empowers students.

“I want students to know they have a voice and help them articulate that voice and [to know] how powerful that voice can be,” she said.

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