October 15, 2018 | George Mattingly II
Once Assistant Professor of Writing Christal Seahorn entered a school classroom, she
never left. From attending school as a child, to teaching University of Houston-Clear
Lake students the foundations of composition, she knows the impact of education firsthand.
“My passion for undergraduate education comes from my own history,” she said. “As a first generation student and a person of color, it is very present to me how much my education has played a role in networking and professional development opportunities I’ve received.”
Seahorn is continuing to live her passion with her recent three-year appointment to the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee (UEAC) as part of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The committee is comprised of representatives from community and technical colleges, health institutions, universities, independent institutions and at least one student who advise the THECB on ways to enhance undergraduate education in the state. Their role is part of the 60x30TX higher education plan, which aims to create a more educated workforce by increasing the percentage of young adults who earn a certificate or degree to 60 percent by 2030.
“The committee’s focus on undergraduate education at all levels from certifications to associate’s degrees demonstrates their dedication to undergraduates, which is important to me as an educator,” Seahorn said. “I look forward to addressing issues concerning underrepresented populations and their barriers to education as well as open access to resources.”
Seahorn is no stranger to these student success initiatives. She has served as the director of UHCL’s First-Year Composition program since 2014, when the university welcomed freshmen for the first time. In 2017, she became chair of the College of Human Sciences and Humanities Core Faculty Advisory Committee.
“We work to support faculty teaching core courses to add value for students taking those classes,” she said. “It’s important to have support at this level because these are ‘gateway’ courses, or foundational courses students must take to move successfully on to their advanced courses, which is related to retention.”
The new responsibility might seem like added work, but for Seahorn, her role on the UAEC is one more step in her pursuit of creating positive educational experiences for her students.
“I’ve seen education and at all levels. Over time, I realized that research has become so much of a focus that teaching sometimes gets lost. I can see myself in my students, so my goal is to be there for them as a teacher who helps them meet their goals and passions.”
Learn more about UHCL’s minor in professional writing at www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/professional-writing-minor.