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Meet Assistant Teaching Professor Terri Tilford: ‘I Hope Students Learn From Me the Joy of Learning, How to Effectively Help Others and How to Identify and Develop Their Niche in Counseling’

NC State College of Education Assistant Teaching Professor Terri Tilford

Editor’s note: Terri Tilford joined the NC State College of Education in January 2022.

Name: Terri Tilford

Title: Assistant Teaching Professor of Counseling and Counselor Education

Education: Ed.D. in Counselor Education from Western Michigan University, M.A. in Counselor Education from Central Michigan University, B.A. in Communication from Saginaw Valley State University 

Experience: Associate Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Montreat College; Adjunct Counseling Professor, Northwestern University; Adjunct Counseling Professor, Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University; Director of Counseling Services, Winston-Salem University

Why did you choose a career in education?

I am passionate about helping others, and teaching was the most enjoyable way for me to accomplish this goal! Overall, I believe this is part of my purpose in life—guiding people into a direction for personal life success. Also, I am a third-generation education professional that includes teachers, educational consultants and principals. Several individuals, on both sides of my family, have won awards as outstanding educators in their community and for their state.  Thus, in part, education was a part of my upbringing in my home.  

Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree? 

I decided to pursue a doctorate degree because I enjoy learning, and I wanted to be intentional about being at my best in my field of study.

What are your research interests?

My research interests include ways to empower people to reach their potential, positive thinking/negative thought stopping to achieve wellness and community awareness, programming and evidenced-based strategies to support personal life success and mental wellbeing.

What sparked your interest in those topics?

My interest was sparked in these topics because I learned the impact of helping people by watching others and by being intentional about caring for others and helping them to identify their strengths to help them overcome pain, failure and deficits.

What is one research project or moment in your academic career that you are particularly proud of?

I was very excited about being awarded a sabbatical to conduct a national study focusing on successful approaches that help individuals persist and overcome barriers.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My professional philosophy for teaching includes creating a learning environment that helps all students believe they belong in the classroom, including all learning styles with instruction and including evidenced-based theory and practice in the classroom.  Also, my teaching philosophy includes creating a learning environment in which students will desire to be lifelong learners and continue to grow to become leaders in counseling as they advocate for equity, inclusion and social justice in their respective communities. 

What do you hope your students learn from you?

I hope students learn from me the joy of learning, how to effectively help others and how to identify and develop their niche in counseling.

What makes someone an “extraordinary educator?”

An extraordinary educator has the ability to be intentional about creating a learning environment in which everyone believes they have a place in the classroom, they are engaged in the classroom and each student is able to integrate what they have learned in the classroom to empower and help others.