Cameron Professor Spotlight: Impacting University Life

By Cam Alsbrook

Assistant Editor

Professors at Cameron University work hard every day of the week to ensure that students receive knowledge through education, and gain the skills necessary to pursue a career.

Professors will be highlighted every so often to showcase the talent and brilliance that Cameron has employed.

Department of Communication, English, and Foreign Languages Professor Dr. James Heflin originally came to Cameron to help former debate coach and former chair of communication department Tony Allison, but ended up staying to teach students.

Heflin’s favorite part of teaching is that he gets to support his students’ journey towards their career paths, and the subject matter—persuasion, in particular.

As for what pushes Heflin to keep teaching, Heflin lists the environment, his involvement, and understanding of the practice of communication.

“First, I really like teaching at Cameron,” Heflin said, “I enjoy both the faculty and students.  Second, I enjoy coming to work. Cameron has a beautiful work place—the campus, the buildings, my office. Third, I continue to learn more and more about the field of communication. Because I have a long frame of reference for the area of speech communication, I can point out to students many relationships and evolutions in our understanding of the theory and practice of communication. I enjoy being active and involved with all aspects of campus life. I enjoy being the President of the Board of Directors for Cameron Campus Ministry. Life is good.”

Science department faculty Professor Ron Gaines chose Cameron to be alongside his wife Dr. Loree Gaines, who was stationed at Cameron University.

“…This is exactly the type of school (student-centered, not research-centered) that I’ve always wanted to teach at.” Gaines said.

The best aspect of teaching to Gaines is student learning being top priority for Cameron University.

“I enjoy the fact that student learning truly is our first priority: it’s not just a slogan on our Core Values list.”

Gaines is retiring summer 2020, but as for a favorite experience here at Cameron, Gaines thanks the McMahon foundation.

“BY FAR – the generosity of the McMahon Foundation in providing our Gross Anatomy lab,” Gaines said, “That has elevated our allied health core program to above national standards.”

English Department Professor John Morris chose Cameron after applying to 90 schools as an ABD (All But Dissertation) candidate—Cameron was also the only school he applied for that was searching for individuals who had completed their degree at the time of applying.

Morris wants to teach poetry classes relating to Modern, Contemporary American, and British genresin the future.

“I’ve been teaching a series of one-hour workshop classes during the summer about various aspects of film,” Morris said, “so there are some others [classes] that I would like to offer in the future. I miss teaching our genre courses in Modern and Contemporary American and British Poetry—we eliminated those courses and revamped our curriculum about ten years ago because the enrollment for such courses had dwindled—so I would like to offer each one of them again sometime before I retire.”

Morris also wants to host a seminar in the future highlighting poet James Wright, as well as other poets.

“Also, since I have never been able to offer a seminar focusing on the poet I wrote my doctoral dissertation about—James Wright—I would like to offer a seminar about him and another poet or two who wrote during the same period; for example, Robert Bly, since Wright was a comparatively minor figure.”

Having taught a couple generations of students, Morris said he will continue to teach as long as he can make a difference.

For inquiries and requests for featuring faculty, contact Cam Alsbrook at 580-583–1178

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