Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Erik Anderson
Dr. Erik Anderson was the new guy in the History Department in 2010 when he became the instructor for all the 11th graders attending Travis Early College High School.
He didn’t plan it that way – it just happened that no SAC students had registered for Anderson’s classes because the course instructor was listed as TBA. Next thing you know all the Travis juniors were registered.
Now, three years down the road Anderson serves as the academic liaison between Travis (an SAISD School) and San Antonio College. He does the scheduling for the students, which must coordinate with their high school schedule. Anderson said his relationship with Travis began just by responding to some of their school invitations.
A native of New England, Anderson got his undergraduate degree from Grinnell (Iowa) College and his doctorate at Brown University in Rhode Island.
How did he come to SAC?
“I wanted to teach in an urban community college,” he said. In 2010 Anderson was living in California and the academic job market was not good. He said there were only two history instructor jobs in the state. “Texas community colleges were still hiring.”
He likes teaching at SAC and here’s why: “Junior faculty members like me can become involved. There are a lot of opportunities to help our students.”
Anderson said he discovered that the Travis students needed a lot more support. “These were some wonderful students who had given up a lot to come to Travis,” he said. Unlike at traditional high schools, the first initial Travis students didn’t have a prom, clubs or any extra curricular activities. But at the end of the four years, they would have an associate of arts degree in Liberal Arts.
Anderson no longer teaches Travis students exclusively, and other changes have also occurred. Next year, the incoming 9th graders won’t take college courses until the spring semester. Sophomores take two college courses each semester and juniors and seniors will take four courses.
Last year’s graduating class included a student who got a scholarship to Yale, but the university did not accept any of his SAC college credits; and a student who is now attending UT-Austin as a junior.
“The program is designed for students to go to a state university,” Anderson said. He said you can’t compare Travis students with SAC students. Travis kids have a better completion rate compared to SAC students. Anderson explains that “Travis students don’t have children and full-time jobs.”
The deadline to apply to Travis is May 31. The web site is: www.saisd.net/schools/travisearlycollege022/
“Travis is a wonderful opportunity for students who may not otherwise attend college,” he said.
We wrapped up the interview with questions to Anderson like those posed by Vanity Fair magazine (which are, in turn, taken from the Proust questionnaire):What is your favorite pastime?Kayaking or hiking.What historical figure do you most admire?Franklin Delano Roosevelt
If you had a super hero power what would it be?Time travel.What trait do you most abhor in others?Apathy.What trait do you most abhor in yourself?Laziness.