The Professor Chronicles: Alicia Moore
July 09, 2020
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching, either at the elementary or postsecondary level, for 32 years.
How long have you been at Southwestern?
I have been happily teaching at Southwestern University for 19 wonderful and fulfilling years. It has been a dream come true and one that I aspired to when I was still an undergraduate student! I have always wanted to teach teachers to teach! Here, I am living my dream.
What inspired you to become a university professor?
As a four-year-old, I lined up my dolls and stuffed animals, took roll, and taught class intently and often. Even as a young child, I was passionate about knowledge and the benefits I felt it held for my toys. As I grew, I realized that I possessed an impassioned sense of commitment for education itself and about what I felt education meant for our world, nation, state, and society! Even as an undergraduate student, I felt that I had something to offer prospective teachers in higher-education settings and began my career by teaching pre-K in the Austin ISD, which I absolutely loved. The beginning of my career set the stage for my passion to teach teachers, and as a result, I felt moved to work at the university level. Yet, later still, I was further moved to passion by an essay that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in 1947 as a college student. In this essay, he contended that education should provide opportunities for students to be effective, logical, and resolute thinkers. He also surmised that “intelligence plus character” was a goal of education. He went on to share that “we are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda” and provided more insight into his beliefs by writing this following statement: “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.” This, I believe, is the goal of true education: to create independent, critical, logical, and creative thinkers who value diverse perspectives and ways of knowing and who possess a moral compass that points due north toward equity and social justice. These are the goals that I have for my students, and they continue to inspire me even to this day. To these goals, I commit my heart, my career, and my life. This is a snapshot of what has inspired me to become a university professor.
What is something your students would be surprised to know about you?
First of all, I listen to hip-hop/rap and have for many years. Since hip-hop/rap began as a forum for social justice, equity, and advocacy that shared the plight of underserved youth, it has continued to be intriguing to me. Second, I am a true introvert, and I am very nervous to stand before my class and begin each semester. Third, I graduated from high school when I was 16 years old. Fourth, I was once a cheerleader, gymnast, and bodybuilder. Finally, I was 1 of 15 historians in the country invited to the White House in 2013.
When not working, you can find me …
This is rare. Once I am on campus, I am working until late at night, but when not on campus, I am involved in community-engaged learning activities through several organizations of which I am a member.
If you could have a drink at the Cove with anyone in the world, living or dead, what would the beverage be, who would the person be, and why?
I would want to talk to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I would ask him about his take on today’s political climate, his selflessness during his struggle for equality, and his thoughts about the entitlement that many feel today that deters their commitment to advocacy, protest, and altruistic endeavors. My beverage would be a vanilla milkshake.
Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation is to travel to Bora Bora. It is serene, beautiful, and disconnected from stress and the challenges facing our world today. There are spectacular views, with villas situated over the water.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
My superpower name would be Advocacy Alicia, and I would travel the world teaching people ways to advocate for populations that need assistance (including animals). My advocacy would also include a substance that abates prejudice, bias, hatred, and bullying.
When you reflect on your time at Southwestern, what comes to mind?
Thoughts of collegiality, student organizations, lasting relationships with students, and the opportunity to continue to explore my passion of teaching prospective teachers the strategies that will be conducive to their success, as well as the success of their students and their students’ families. And the platform that is afforded to me as a professor supports my goal of advocacy and service to our communities.
What advice would you give students going into your field today?
Use the repertoire of strategies and tools you have learned to teach with student success in mind. Teach lovingly and responsively, communicate confidently, lead intelligently, discipline judiciously, grade equitably, reflect deeply, make decisions thoughtfully, and advocate for youth courageously, especially those populations who are marginalized and prejudged. If you use these tools, you will be able to impact not only the lives of your students but also, exponentially, the lives of thousands of students.