Geographic location.  Career direction.  Interpersonal relationships.  There’s a lot in life that can be negotiated, however, time will never make the list.  After all, we only have so much to divide up in a variety of different ways.  I know who and what matters to me; I’m focused.  It probably has something to do with […]


Recently, I rewrote a presentation on political parties because I felt that it needed to be updated.  While looking for supplemental materials that will be used to generate an in-class discussion, I found polling data from earlier this year that indicates 42% of people surveyed self-identify as “political independents,” i.e. they don’t claim either the […]

TWRC ducks being released

Routines.  I really like them.  I embrace the consistency of a healthy pattern because repetition brings me comfort.  That said, sometimes routines have to be intentionally broken.  To me, challenging yourself is vital to a purposeful existence.  A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to do something in addition to teaching over […]


Some nights you can’t forget.  I remember pulling into the driveway of the suburban Chicago home where I spent my adolescence one July evening twenty-five years ago.  The sun had not yet totally disappeared from the sky.  You could still feel the warmth of that summer day lingering as dusk approached.  I longed to take […]

Ignite - A War Against You

When I listen to Ignite’s A War Against You (2016), I can’t figure out if it’s an arena rock-influenced melodic hardcore record or a melodic hardcore-influenced arena rock record.  To me, many of the guitar leads and chord progressions, combined with the vocals and slick production make it sound like more of the latter.  Hardcore […]


As a teacher, it would be really easy to resign yourself to defeat when students don’t follow directions or meet your expectations.  Those of us in education have all been there.  You grade a round of assignments or exams that leave you feeling befuddled and exasperated.  At times like that, I think we really need […]


Eager to escape the congestion that’s too common in northwest Harris County and relax by spending time outdoors, my friend and I regularly drop by a local park just a few miles from our apartment.  It’s a simple, yet perfect, suburban refuge conveniently tucked behind a housing development just off of a major thoroughfare.  While […]

H2O Use Your Voice

If you enjoy H2O’s Nothing to Prove (2008) as much as I do, then Use Your Voice (2015) will be a solid companion album worthy of adding to your music collection.  It has plenty of catchy guitar riffs and intense, rapid fire drumming across the eleven tracks for those of us who dig melodic hardcore.  […]

MLK on the phone

Conspiracy theories.  Where do they come from?  The C.I.A. killed President John F. Kennedy.  The Apollo 11 astronauts never landed on the moon.  A scientist created AIDS in a laboratory so it could be used as a biological weapon.  The federal government blew up the levies in New Orleans.  Last spring, a student expressed concern […]


When I returned to graduate school nearly a decade ago, I knew that teaching would be my career focus once I finished the program because it is my passion, and I believe that students deserve an instructor who makes them a priority.  So, I couldn’t help but feel insulted the evening that I heard a […]


Last weekend my friend and I went to an independent coffee shop we like that’s located near the University of St. Thomas campus in Houston’s active Montrose neighborhood.  While talking, I glanced over and noticed a young couple seated at an adjacent couch.  Both of them were so engrossed in their respective smartphones that they […]


Facilitators use it in workshops.  Job candidates say it during interviews.  Administrators use it in meetings.  Students even mention it in their course evaluations.  When I heard the words “critical thinking” (click here for a definition) again this week during a workshop, some important questions echoed in my mind: What does it really mean in […]


Feedback. I find it to be invaluable in multiple contexts. Each semester I encourage my students to complete the course evaluation because I want to know what they think about my class.  I instruct them to share whatever is on their minds as long as they’re thoughtful and respectful.  I’m not afraid of being critiqued.  […]

Port and Company T-Shirt Made in the USA

This fall we decided to have Center for Civic Engagement t-shirts screened to distribute to students at our campus events.  As coordinator, I felt that we should buy some that are manufactured in the United States to support jobs here at home and avoid contributing to worker mistreatment abroad.  Honestly, the massive amount of offshoring […]

Texas Plate Confederate Flag

Last Thursday, our nation’s highest court made the right decision when it ruled against the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ request to put the Confederate flag on license plates here in Texas (news story with audio; text of the court’s opinion). While I’m an ardent supporter of free speech rights, this case is problematic. As someone […]