Danny Chancy loves the University of Mobile. It is where he earned his college degree. It is also where he met his wife – they now both teach at the Christian university. Today he is pouring his love of learning into the next generation of University of Mobile students.
As director of the Writing Center in the Chora Godwin Center for Learning and Writing, he gives students the skills they need to thrive. We asked the assistant professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences to share more about teaching at his alma mater.
Q. Tell us about your UM connection.
A. After graduating from Mobile College (now the University of Mobile), I spent the next 30 years teaching English and counseling students in high schools in Clarke and Baldwin Counties while also teaching English in a local community college.
The University of Mobile has been most kind to me as it launched my professional career, introduced me to my wife, and transitioned me from a career in secondary education to one in higher education.
At UM I get to do what I love: teach English to some of the most amazing students from all across our nation and the world. They also help me by teaching me about their experiences and by sharing new technologies and strategies so that I can stay relevant and current – or so I hope!
Q. Why should someone choose to study English?
A. The study of English provides a sound, marketable platform for sharpening critical thinking and interpretative skills while enhancing skills in oral and written communication. The current market is hungry for individuals with skill sets in expressing thoughts, ideas and policies clearly.
Contemporary employers are also anxious to bring individuals in their organizations who have the abilities to interpret, analyze and understand the motivations and actions of individuals, skills gained and enhanced through the study of literature. This body of knowledge opens pathways into varied professional careers ranging from journalism, law, education and business.
Q. What courses do you typically teach?
A. My teaching schedule includes introductory English courses for early enrollment students as well as the AWARE class (EN 199 Academic Writing and Reading Enhancement), which is my favorite because of the variety of students who take the course.
Many incoming freshman students and international students select to take this course to strengthen their knowledge of academic modes of writing and to gain confidence in expressing themselves in oral settings and written formats.
The class also offers a safe venue for learning to interact with texts, both literary and textual materials. Each semester this class is peopled with bright, eager and insightful students that over the course of 15 weeks become a close-knit community.
Q. UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.” What does that mean to you?
A. I would say that what we really offer is Higher Education for THE HIGHEST Purpose, which is to be used by God to make His world a better place to live. While faculty are mentors, our students often enlighten and stretch our understanding of that Highest Purpose as well, which only proves that Higher Education is never a done deal.
Q. Why do you choose to teach at UM?
A. I most like that the UM fosters success in students. I love that some of the students who feel led to study here are the top students in their high school classes and plunge into higher education to discover that Highest Purpose in life and find great success!
It also amazes me that we have some students who come here with deficiencies in their K-12 educational experiences who are able to overcome their past, restore their present circumstances and discover success. It is a privilege to observe, share and support students in those victories, struggles and triumphs!
Q. What are you passionate about?
A. My top 2 passions spring from the same UM trait – the ability to foster success. I see success fostered through our RamLegacy organization and our Chora Godwin Learning and Writing Center. RamLegacy is a support community on campus that helps first-generation students build a foundation for success.
We do not merely want students to attend college, but we desire for students to thrive while in college and to earn their degrees. RamLegacy assists first-gen students in finding answers to questions – and to find the questions these students didn’t even know needed to be asked.
The Learning and Writing Center does much to help students succeed. Not only do our tutors and directors help students with their immediate academic need, but many times we are able to pinpoint weaknesses in their study skills and techniques and offer solutions to correct those weaknesses.
Based on four decades as an educator, I can say it is a rare occurrence to find a place that can challenge academically gifted students and support and develop students without a strong, academic background. I’m grateful to belong to such an inspiring and supportive community.