Why I Teach

Brandi Darensbourg, assistant professor of disability and addictions rehabilitation, earned UNT's Student Government Association Honor Professor distinction at last year's Salute to Faculty Excellence Awards event. (Photo by Gary Payne)UNT's faculty members, many who are recognized as experts in their fields, are the foundation of the university's excellence. Their commitment to high-quality, meaningful education comes from their personal passion for teaching and care for their students.

"I am often reminded of the things I cannot or should not do. Many came before me who were not afforded the opportunity to work or receive a fair education," says Brandi Darensbourg, assistant professor of disability and addictions rehabilitation, who is legally blind. "Teaching allows me the opportunity to educate students on the vast accomplishments of people of color and those with disabilities. Being at the front of the classroom, I give the students the opportunity to see a person with a disability performing and not limited by an inaccessible world. "I truly enjoy being a part of their educational journey."


Neal Brand"I enjoy the logical structure and consistency of mathematics and its usefulness in modeling and solving real problems. I think that the logic needed to master mathematics can be useful regardless of career. It is a pleasure to work with young people who are just starting their adult life. How can I not get excited about future plans and goals? I also feel younger and invigorated from just being around and working with young people."
— Neal Brand, professor of mathematics and winner of the President's Council Teaching Award


Janice Hauge"Teaching requires creativity, empathy, mastery of a topic and consideration of others.When a student understands a new concept, she smiles, her eyes light up and she is engaged in learning. It is rewarding to see that growth. It is my role to expand minds to consider real-world problems and to realize value in the way economists think. I also am fortunate to share with students the importance of personal responsibility and respect."
— Janice Hauge, associate professor of economics and winner of the President's Council Teaching Award


John Ishiyama"Why do I teach? Because it is one of my favorite things to do and I have always wanted to make a difference. In graduate school, I realized that I loved to teach. Every day, I look forward to getting in front of a class. Although I do research, teaching is a daily reward. I teach also because I want to make a difference in people's lives. This sounds a bit cliché, but I really do believe it."
— John Ishiyama, professor of political science and winner of the Distinguished Research Professor Award


Keith Johnson"I had a choice of performing or teaching. I chose teaching — the right choice — and am surrounded by colleagues who are gifted, devoted to teaching, performing and to their students. Every day, I learn new things. I hear the progress my students are making, and share their achievements. After almost 50 years, I go to work each day with gratitude and anticipation. What a great journey it has been and continues to be."
— Keith Johnson, Regents Professor of performance and winner of UNT's Distinguished Teaching Professor Award


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