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For many, the passion for teaching comes at an early age, but that wasn’t the case for associate professor of English, Dr. Carole Carroll.
“Teaching chose me. I did not want to be a teacher. My parents taught in elementary school, and the thought of a room full of 9-year-olds terrified me,” Carroll said.
Carroll began her path to education at Texas Tech University where she said she changed her major “every Monday for 4 years,” because she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. During her time of uncertainty, Carroll did some vocational testing that recommended she be a teacher, but it took some time before teaching became Carroll’s career of choice.
“I finally realized all students are not 9-years-old, and so I decided to teach high school. But, God had other plans. I got a part-time job teaching in a business college, and a light bulb went off in my brain: I knew I wanted to be a college professor,” Carroll said.
By 1999, Carroll had earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English with a minor in Classical Latin. This was also the year that she began teaching at Lubbock Christian University. She started as adjunct instructor and applied for a full-time position the next year. Right before being offered her full-time position, Carroll’s life was met with unforeseen circumstances; her husband, Brent, was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Carroll described this as being a “crazy, crazy time” in their lives. She and Brent still had four teenage daughters at home, and, in order to facilitate travel to Houston for Brent’s Leukemia treatments, Carroll had to put her dissertation on hold. However, this did not hinder her teaching at LCU.
“LCU had faith in me and offered me the job anyway, and I am more than grateful. This truly is a dream job for me,” Carroll said.
Brent’s illness also changed Carroll’s perspective. She said that she now has more hard-earned wisdom to share with her students and that her faith has grown, not because Brent’s health has improved, but because of an understanding of the really important things in life.
“I experienced the peace that passes understanding and a calm that I have never felt before in my life. And this happened when Brent was so ill that I thought he might not come home from the hospital. I take things slower now. I see the divine everywhere and in everything. I understand the beauty of my grandchildrens' smiles and smudged faces in a deep and profound way. A well-spring of gratitude and contentment has opened in my soul,” Carroll said.
Carroll has now been with LCU for 15 years, and she says she continues to love it as much as day one. She brings literature to life for students through the use of electronic multi-media formats and by dressing in medieval or character costume any time she can, with her favorite being Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. Being a veteran renaissance faire patron, Carroll has costumes spanning centuries of British history and the like. And, by using multiple formats, Carroll provides students a way to effectively understand other cultures and their quest to discover what it means to be human through literature.
When asked what she loves about teaching at LCU, Carroll said, “The students. We have so many creative, intelligent, and bursting-with-life kids on this campus. I learn something every semester from my students. Also, my colleagues, fellow professors, [and] the fact that I am allowed to create my own syllabi and teach works and authors that I firmly believe connect best with my students and which will benefit them both in their careers and throughout their lives.”