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Faculty Spotlight: Teresa Galloway

02/10/2021

For Teresa Galloway, Hillsborough Community College is more than a workplace; it’s home. Student success and service have led her to a rewarding career as an English professor at HCC for 15 years. But her story doesn't start there; before teaching, she was a student Hawk herself. 

 

Professor Galloway hails from a military family. She was born on a U.S. Air Force Base in Canada but grew up in Savannah, Georgia. In time, after graduating high school in 1975, she got married and traveled the world with her husband, who served in the U.S. Army. 

 

Eventually, they settled in Florida. When her son started college at USF, she says, “I looked around and realized I was the only one in my family without an education.” 

 

While on a mission to figure out her next steps in life, Professor Galloway visited the HCC Brandon Campus, where she talked with advisor Betty Doyle. 

 

She said, “I remember walking into her office and through tears, I began saying, ‘I think I’m too old and too tired and not smart enough, but I have always wanted to go to college.’ She got up from behind her desk and hugged me. She said ‘Mrs. Galloway, the hardest thing for you was walking through that door.’”

 

Professor Galloway went on to enroll at HCC, and in 2001, at the age of 44, she graduated with her first college degree. 

 

In the following years, she would graduate with bachelor’s and master's degrees in English education from USF. 

 

In May 2006, Professor Galloway returned to HCC, not as a student, but ready to teach as a faculty member. 

 

Despite being a student at the Brandon Campus, she has spent most of her years as an educator at the Plant City Campus. “I think I am just as much a part of the campus as the trees growing outside and the sunshine that comes through the windows.” 

 

When asked on the advantages of attending a community college, Professor Galloway simply said, “Well here I am. In 1999, I did not have a college degree and by 2005, I was working as an adjunct and teaching students who were in my same position a few years back. I can relate to women, veterans and especially adults coming into a college classroom for the first time. 

 

To those people I say, ‘Listen, you have a world of background and knowledge; you don’t even know how much you know and how much you are going to bring to a classroom. You have the education of life that the younger students have yet to experience.’

 

The beauty of our classes is that we may have ninth grade, dual enrolled students mixed in with our adult learners. Whoever raises their hand always has something insightful and bright to say and suddenly, we are all learning from each other. None of our students are at a disadvantage at our institution.”

 

As an English professor, you will find Professor Galloway teaching courses such as American literature, English literature, English composition and linguistics. 

 

With the social and racial tension demonstrated in 2020, Professor Galloway was more than ready for her fall semester African American literature class. 

 

“In my own life, I’ve noticed the lack of passing on of traditions and history when it comes to African American literature in the classroom. I encounter students who don’t even know who Booker T. Washington is or who the heroes of their history are. Because of that, I do my best to incorporate as much history as I can into my classes, but thankfully, I also have the opportunity to teach an entire course on the topic. Those pieces of literature are like medicine to the heart of young people who feel they have never had a voice,” she says. 

 

“I do my best to make every individual student feel welcome and at home, regardless of their background. On my first day at HCC, my only fear was not knowing if being 42 years old was too late to go to college. But as soon as I stepped foot in the courtyard and saw the variety of people and faces, I wasn’t the least bit afraid anymore.

 

Our college isn’t a bunch of buildings; it's a home. Just like a family, you’ll find someone to turn to for guidance, someone to listen to you and most importantly, someone to teach you. It’s a home of educational learning. 

 

The day I graduated from HCC, I cried. I said, ‘This has been my home for the past two years; I don’t want to leave.’ And guess what? After a few years away, I got to go back home.”

 

To contact Professor Galloway, you can email her at tgalloway@hccfl.edu

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