Terri Milroy is on the road again. The Assistant Professor of History, Humanities and Political Science at Southside Virginia Community College has, since coming to SVCC in 2006, traveled 600-700 miles per week going from school to school; now living in Richmond, that has increased to nearly 1000 miles per week.
“If I didn’t really believe in what I do, I couldn’t keep up the pace of the travel and juggling the demands of three to five campuses a semester. What keeps me going is the knowledge that what I do makes a difference in the lives of my students,” said Milroy.
Milroy graduated with a B.S. in Communications and Public Relations from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, in 1990. Her M.A. in History/Humanities is from the University of California, Dominguez-Hills (2007) and also have 18 credit hours in Political Science (M.S. studies) from American Public University. In addition to history and political science, the humanities courses required for my M.A. allows Milroy to teach a variety of courses, so she is actually credentialed in three subject areas.
Hired primarily as a dual enrollment teacher, she has taught seated classes at SVCC and online/hybrid classes as well.
“I love teaching the high school classes, because I love bringing those young people to a point where they are confident in their ability to work and write at a college level. Their minds are also so very open to new ideas, “ she said.
“One of my favorite classroom experiences anywhere is the debates held in my DE US Government classes each year. The topic is something related to government and/or politics, and the students control the classroom for the day, arguing for and against the issue that I’ve posed to them. When you get the kids to really engage, to the point where they are drawing the students watching into the debate as well, you know you’ve really taught them critical thinking skills, “ she said.
Milroy said, “As a college, I think we seek to touch the families of our community, and make their lives better through education that leads to jobs and financial opportunities. As a teacher, I feel that my responsibility is first to present these opportunities to students in ways that allow them to learn . . . meaning finding different ways to teach, and different methods of assessment to judge what they have learned. Second, it’s my job to push students past what they know or feel comfortable doing. Every learner is capable of advancing their abilities to a new level, and it’s my responsibility to ensure they progress in their capabilities, even as they learn the material.”
Milroy started at SVCC in 2006 when her family moved to Virginia from New Mexico. The fall semester that year was not just her first at SVCC, but her first in the classroom, so it should have been incredibly stressful.
Milroy noted, “I’ve always had great support from my supervisors and other faculty; that level of support has made me feel like part of a family.”
As many may know, my husband, James, was headmaster at Kenston Forest School for six years; that means that our home has always been very education-focused. We have two children: Catherine is 15 and a freshman in high school, while Thomas is 13 and in seventh grade. Both kids get sick of mom and dad horning in on their schoolwork, making “helpful” suggestions about their assignments and study habits, but they also know they have huge support if they need it. “
The 1,000 miles Milroy travels each week is only a small sacrifice for all the educational futures she influences at SVCC.