To say that Dr. Eric Huggins’ path to Fort Lewis College meandered is an understatement. The professor of management in the FLC School of Business Administration never planned on becoming a teacher. Teaching sort of found him after he’d earned his master’s degree and felt burnt out on graduate school.
“I took a ‘one year’ leave-of-absence and moved to Honolulu, HI,” he says. “That one year turned into six, mostly because living in Hawaii in your twenties is awesome–I highly recommend it–but also because I got a job teaching at Hawaii Pacific University. It turned out that I really liked teaching and I was pretty good at it.”
To say that Dr. Huggins is “pretty good” at teaching is another understatement. He is one of FLC’s best, and now has the 2017-18 Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award to prove it. Among the many lessons he’s learned about teaching is that a good teacher knows when to step in and when to back off.
“The in-class moments that are the best are when I watch a student finally grasp a difficult concept that they have been struggling with,” he says. “Getting to watch those ‘a-ha’ moments may be the most rewarding part of this job.”
“It’s particularly funny when I’m helping a student, they figure out what they need to do, and then basically tell me to go away so they can get it done on their own. I’ve learned not to take offense at this; being a good teacher means knowing when to help and when not to.”
Before he learned he’d won the award, he saw that he had a voicemail from FLC President Dene Thomas. There was a little voice in the back of his mind that wondered if he was in trouble.
“But the news was good and my wife and my mom were very happy and proud of me, so that was pretty sweet,” he remarks. “Maybe the hardest part was that my wife was desperate to put the news on Facebook but I had to make her wait until the official announcement came out.”
He also noted with some humor that this award puts him in a pretty good neighborhood of great teachers, literally.
“Dr. Lee Frazer lives a couple doors down from me and he won the Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award a year or two ago, so I’m not even the first person on my block to receive this award!”