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Plenty of reasons to pick GHC for Callahan

AS SEEN IN THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS: http://daily-tribune.com/newsx/item/5600-bartow-bio-plenty-of-reasons-to-pick-ghc-for-callahan

Bartow Bio: Plenty of reasons to pick GHC for Callahan


Sean Callahan had more than one reason for accepting a teaching position at Georgia Highlands College three years ago.

“Georgia Highlands was good for me for several reasons,” the associate professor of psychology said. “It was a good fit for me in terms of where I was in my development as an academic. There’s a lot to learn, and even more to accomplish, in order to enjoy a successful career in the academy. Georgia Highlands provides the flexibility and the opportunities for me to work on those things.

“Dr. Alan Nichols, dean of SSBE [social sciences, business and education]; Ken Reaves, Marietta campus dean; Elijah Scott, dean of libraries; and Dr. Renva Watterson, VPAA [vice president for academic affairs], to name a few, have been particularly supportive of the work I do.”

Callahan’s family situation also made GHC an attractive career choice.

“I was a single parent when I graduated and thought it would be a good idea to be near my support system,” he said. “I have a lot of family here. It’s my hometown. GHC has a campus here. I can give back to the community that helped shape who I am. It only made sense to do my work here.

“Those are just a couple of reasons why I chose to work at GHC.”

DTN: What do you teach, and what do you enjoy most about those classes?

SC: I mostly teach Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Human Development. I’ve taught Social Psychology in the past. I also teach Psychology of Hip Hop, a special topics course I recently designed and created. Again, the flexibility I have in the classroom makes the classes enjoyable. I don’t lecture very much in my classes. I have students engaged in activities that require them to work with the concepts and theories and apply them to real-world scenarios. That way, if students are struggling or have misconceptions, I’m there to provide more explanation and support the learning process.

DTN: Why did you want to become a teacher, and what do you enjoy most and least about it?

SC: I wanted to become a teacher because of my own experiences as a K-12 student. I was in the gifted program for a year in elementary school, and I was the only person of color in class. It was a mixed blessing. I liked the idea that someone besides my family thought I was smart. But when I was pulled out to attend the gifted class period, there were only one or two people that talked to me. And the teacher didn’t teach. There wasn’t a curriculum. The experience could have, should have, been better.

Originally, I enrolled in UGA to become certified to teach high school social studies. Throughout middle and high school, I grew tired of talking about the same things over and over again. In the history books, black folks were slaves; indigenous people were slaughtered; and the white folks always won. I remember writing term papers about the topics we never covered or barely discussed in class. By the time I reached high school, I wrote papers about the Black Panthers and African empires. These were ideas and people I learned from listening to hip-hop music. Folks like KRS-One, Public Enemy, De La Soul, N.W.A., A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah and Poor Righteous Teachers filled in the gaps that formal education left. When I wrote papers on those topics, they didn’t go over well with the teacher. So, my intention was to go to grad school, become certified to teach and use hip-hop to teach history and social studies.

DTN: What do you see as the most pressing issues facing GHC, and what do you think can be done about them?

SC: I’m not sure I’m the person to answer that question. You would certainly get a more appropriate response from the president, Dr. Don Green. He seems to have a pretty interesting story.

DTN: What do you think is/are the best thing(s) about GHC?

SC: GHC is one of the best, if not the best, deal in the state for getting a two-year degree. That, to me, is a clear demonstration of excellence. I get to be a part of that excellence. I get to help folks break cycles of poverty and create access to resources folks need to live well.

DTN: What kinds of changes would you like to see occur at GHC in the next five years?

SC: The changes I would like to see at GHC are the same changes I would like to see in education at a national level. Teachers need to be paid more. We bust our a****. We sacrifice our personal time. We pay for resources out of our pocket to help students succeed. Pay us.

DTN: Do you have a bucket list, and if so, what is the one thing you most look forward to accomplishing?

SC: Yes. I do have a bucket list. One of the things that I look forward to accomplishing the most is living abroad five to six months a year on a regular basis. I’ve been to Costa Rica a few times. It’s a beautiful place and an awesome experience.

DTN: If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and why would you want it?

SC: If I could have one superpower, it would be the power to heal. We could all use some healing, myself included.

DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

SC: I learned how to box while I was writing my dissertation.

DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?

SC: Tall, dark and ridiculous.

DTN: Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

SC: It depends on which part of life we’re talking about. My parents are influential, of course, for the all the reasons that parents are  influential. My mom is awesome. My dad is awesome. But Bruce Lee, Richard Pryor and Mrs. Hudson were also pretty influential to my life. Bruce Lee, through his philosophy and martial arts, taught me how to be like water. Richard Pryor, through his comedy, taught me that when water wants to move, there isn’t a man in the world that can stop it. Mrs. Hudson, my third-grade science teacher, taught me that the body is 70 to 75 percent water. When I put those ideas into practice in my daily life, I’m able to flow around, over and through obstacles. I develop a better understanding of the cycles and patterns of people around me. I gain a deeper understanding of the effect I can have on the people around me. The goals I set for myself are accomplished more easily when I am like water.

DTN: What would the title of your autobiography be and why?

SC: “Little Brother ThunderTongue: The One Who Licks The Sky And Makes The Clouds Quiver.” When I was kid, I dreamt a lot about the Etowahs. That was the name they called me. Seemed like a cool name for an autobiography.

Page last updated: June 6, 2016