Today@Sam Article

SHSU President Returns To Classroom Roots

May 10, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

Dr. White in the Classroom with SHSU students

As the 14th president of Sam Houston State University, Alisa White has held an accomplished list of titles throughout her career. The Texas native served as president of Austin Peay State for over six years. Prior to that, she was senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler and provost at Midwestern State University. Recently, White reclaimed a former title as well—faculty instructor.

With the demands of the role, not many university presidents take the time to teach a course themselves. Despite these constraints, White enthusiastically returned to her roots in the classroom to teach MCOM 3382, Principles of Advertising this semester in the Department of Mass Communication. She sees this valuable time in the classroom as a way to grow in her administrative role.

“I love teaching. Students keep me on my toes. They engage with the course material in ways that stretch me,” White said. “It’s a pleasure to interact with students in a deep way about my academic discipline, and it’s a great way to remember the mission of the university. Everything we do is to promote success in the classroom.”

While there are many events and programs in place that allow her to connect with students in smaller settings, White also enjoys being in the classroom, because it takes the personal touch to a new level.

“My goal as president is to be approachable, but the position title itself can be intimidating,” she said. “My role as instructor puts me in an environment in which students and I can explore together. I enjoy the classroom, and it’s been a pleasure to get to know students in an instructional setting.”

White also taught courses while serving as president of Austin Peay University, including a President’s Emerging Leaders Program. Her background in mass communication and enthusiasm for advertising is what tends to draw her back to the classroom time and again.

“I’ve taught a variety of mass communication courses over many years, and advertising courses are my favorite. I’ve taught the principles course, advertising strategy, advertising copywriting, advertising campaigns, among others,” White said. “My hope is that this introductory course gets students enthusiastic about the field.”

White has learned a lot about Bearkat students since being named president in 2020. Teaching Bearkats in an instructional setting only further confirmed their tenacity and dedication to gaining a quality education.

“Students in my class confirmed what I’d already heard from faculty members,” White said. “They’re ready to learn. Many of them work and balance a lot of responsibilities. They don’t make excuses. They’re analytical. Their work has been good. I’m proud of them.”

The Department of Mass Communication focuses on education in print, broadcast and online journalism, video production, media management & sales, public relations/advertising and film production. Housed in the Dan Rather Communications Building, the department is home to an award-winning student newspaper, 24-hour student radio station, and student operated community television facility. Students produce television and radio news programs for the SHSU and Huntsville communities and broadcast the only university Spanish-language television newscast in Texas.

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