Renee Collins-HSU Associate Dean, Irvin School of Education

"It became evident that everything the faculty members were doing had a purpose and relevance to the field of teaching."

When my family and I moved to Texas because of my husband’s career in the U.S. Air Force, I started teaching in Abilene ISD. One of my colleagues told me that she was pursuing her masters at a university across town and asked if I wanted to pursue that as well. I enrolled at HSU and started my master’s degree as a Reading Specialist. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to expand the degree with numerous hours in gifted education.

As a teacher in the local school district, I had fantastic student teachers who were usually from HSU. As I was taking classes here, I quickly learned why the caliber of students coming out into the field was of such high quality. It became evident that everything the faculty members were doing had a purpose and relevance to the field of teaching.

While I was attending graduate school at HSU, I developed professional relationships with some of the Irvin School of Education faculty members. Later, one of the faculty members was granted a sabbatical, and they asked me to serve as an adjunct. That began a relationship which I’m very thankful to have because I was eventually able to come as a full-time faculty member.

Personally, HSU has impacted my life in so many ways because I get to work alongside some special people. One of the best things about HSU is the closeness of everyone, staff, and faculty. It’s impacted me to see how everything comes together to provide such diverse experiences for so many kinds of learners.

During our EC-6 education majors final Summer I term, my students get to work with kids who are struggling, and in Summer II, they get to observe and interact with parents and teachers of gifted kids. This final summer before they begin clinical teaching is one of the most action-packed times of fun and learning. I love to see their hard work come to fruition. I think it’s a great transition time to move from the classroom experience into clinical teaching.

Hardin-Simmons to me is a mosaic. I think about it as beautiful pieces which are each fitted together. It forms a beautiful piece of artwork that you can enjoy from afar, but when you come up, you can get different interpretations and view it from different points of view. There are so many facets of who we are on this campus that I truly see a mosaic of people, programs, and purpose.