“Farewell to my Students and Colleagues at Indian River State College”
Today is my last day of work at Indian River State College (IRSC), where I had the opportunity to serve as a professor and a mentor to students for about a decade. Those years have marked my life in a tremendous way, and language fails me to articulate with precision the impact the IRSC community has had in my life and family.
IRSC has given me the immense opportunity to teach, mentor, love, and guide many students who come to us from various parts of the world and socio-economic background. In countless ways, they have enriched my life meaningfully and contributed immeasurably to my growth as a human being, thinker, writer, educator, researcher, and a scholar. IRSC students have taught me to have a greater appreciation for our multicultural and inclusive world, diversity in thought and expression, and the world of difference and pluralism. An ethic of care has been my driven motive during those wonderful years at Indian River State College, and a politics of relationality has guided my pedagogy and approach to human knowledge and understanding toward the success of IRSC students.
During my years at Indian River State College, I was surrounded by a group of caring and committed educators, administrators, and staff, whose friendship and collegiality have added more meaning, love, and joy in my life. My colleagues and friends at IRSC have taught me about the value of education, the importance of nurturing the life of the mind, and the non-negotiable dedication to students’ learning and future. More importantly, I have learned that treating all students with love, respect, and dignity is where the real learning begins and ends. Yet I remain convinced that the goal of education is human formation and growth, and the goal of teaching is to seek understanding, and understanding is the heart of effective pedagogy and engaging teaching.
I am leaving Indian River State College to assume a new responsibility and a new adventure as the Chair of the English Department at San Jacinto College (Houston, Texas). I will miss my IRSC students, the Writing Club, which I sponsored for the past four years, and my remarkable colleagues in the English and Communications Department who have loved me and supported my career during those years.
At San Jac (San Jacinto College), as an administrator, I will have another opportunity to influence and mentor both faculty and students and contribute to a more perfect union and a robust democracy in this country, in which both faculty and students will be agents of change and human flourishing in their community and in the world. For me, the professor and the administrator share something in common: the spirit of servanthood.
My new position would allow me to continue my work in serving others and mentoring faculty to be persistent and robust about their vocation and commitment as citizens and educators—the commitment of a worthy cause: the cause of their country and the global community; the cause to fight against human oppression and to champion human dignity; and the cause of love, justice, equality, and the cause of freedom for all.