For four weeks, Austin Community College will talk to the incoming 2019-2020 employee association presidents. We will ask each of them 10 questions to get to know them better.
Our third Q&A in the series features the new Adjunct Faculty Association President, Christina Michura. She is the associate dean of Student Affairs and has been an adjunct professor at ACC for 21 years.
1. When did you start working at ACC and in what role?
In July 1998, I started as an adjunct in Speech Communication (before the department changed its name to Communication Studies).
2. What additional role(s) at the college have you held?
While I have always been an adjunct since I was hired, aside from the short time I lived in Ohio when I was in grad school, I have also been a Professional Development Coordinator and also the Interim Professional Development and Evaluations Director in Human Resources, Faculty Development Manager under Instructional (Mike Midgley).
3. What inspired you to run for president?
I have enjoyed being an adjunct at ACC and wanted to make sure adjuncts had a strong voice at the table and that adjunct concerns and needs continued to be addressed. ACC is very supportive of the associations and I appreciate how we can all work together to make the college better.
4. Where did you grow up? What was it like?
I am an army brat who never really got to move. My parents didn't want me changing schools, so we settled in Killeen, Texas. It was a lot smaller back then — for instance, the "big mall" was in Temple, Texas, and there were only two high schools. I really enjoyed the diversity of folks that the military brought to the area and had a great childhood growing up as an army brat.
5. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
I think everyone should do something that challenges them at least once in their lives. That will be different for each person. For me, I have a fear of heights and one summer I challenged myself to go ziplining down 14 zips in Costa Rica. Granted, I did offer to live on one of the platforms as a greeter so I wouldn't have to go on, but that apparently was not an option. By the end, I started to enjoy the speed and the views in the jungle canopy.
6. What do you do to unwind and get your mind off work?
I love the ocean and anytime I can get in or around the ocean, it helps me to unwind. I love to swim, scuba dive, snorkel, boogie board, sail, and just float around in the water.
7. Do you have a motto, mantra, or personal philosophy?
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi
8. What's the biggest lesson you've learned professionally?
Everyone has something they can contribute and we are better when we collaborate.
9. What do you believe it takes to help students succeed?
Positive support, clear expectations & reminders. I try to live by these F's: Be firm, fair, flexible, and have fun in my classes. If the students feel safe, supported, and happy, they tend to do better in the course. Teaching public speaking and a variety of speech courses, many of my students start out apprehensive but really enjoy the course by the end.
10. Any final thoughts you'd like to share?
It is important to remember to lift each other up and to be kind. Life is not easy and you never know what the other folks around you are going through. Try to give people a little grace.
Read other Q&As in the series:
Jo Ann Larkins-Foster, Classified Employee Association President
Dr. Missi Patterson, Full-Time Faculty Senate President
Latisha Addison, Association of Professional-Technical Employees President