People often ask why I’m so passionate about teaching and my answer is always the same. Students are my inspiration. They remind me why my work is so important—and that I need to keep raising the bar and bringing my A-game into the classroom every day.
In class, I often encourage students to open up about their personal experiences and am often taken aback by their responses. Most recently, a student told me about his long commute across the U.S.-Mexico border to his high school in the Rio Grande Valley. It took two to three hours just to make the trip—and those hours extended after football practice. Another student shared her experiences traveling to Arkansas on a monthly basis to visit her mother in a federal prison. She would make the trip in one day to stay on top of her schoolwork.
I want students to share these stories to empower others who have walked in similar shoes to push past barriers and face adversity head-on. It’s also important for these stories to be heard by those who come from different worlds. In sharing these lived experiences, we can find a middle ground and have meaningful conversations about the things that truly matter.
By enabling these students to succeed, they, in turn, change the world. Here in the DDCE, our goal is to get them where they need to be—especially during their first critical two years on campus. In these pages, you can read about our many programs that are preparing current and future Longhorns for success—from peer mentoring to leadership initiatives to advocacy programs for our future thought leaders and policymakers.
I hope you take a moment to throw yourself into someone else’s life. I hope you feel empowered by something they say or stand for. But most importantly, I hope you can see the world from a new perspective.
Dr. Leonard Moore
Interim Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement,
George Littlefield Professor of American History