College students can take comfort in the fact that their professors have been there before. Tamra Phillips, a communication professor and department coordinator at Salt Lake Community College, is a perfect example.
Known to her students simply as Tammy, Phillips attended SLCC in 1992 where she completed her associate degree in general studies.
“My favorite part is working with the students. I want to provide them with the same experience that I had at SLCC,” says Phillips.
She always had a desire to be a teacher, although the decision of what age group she wanted to teach was a perplexing one. It was not until her public speaking teacher at SLCC influenced her decision to be a college professor.
Phillips had a positive experience as an SLCC student and loved the feeling of inclusivity and acceptance on campus. She appreciated that her teachers knew her on a first name basis and wanted her to be successful.
Those experiences solidified her decision to return to SLCC to teach.
Phillips has worked at SLCC for 16 years, spending eight years teaching as an adjunct and the remaining eight years as a full-time professor.
Determined to ensure a student has an experience similar to hers, Phillips memorizes each student’s name and gets to know them on a personal level. This is one office door that is always open and she wants students to feel at ease when asking for help.
As someone who has experienced the arduous process of education, Phillips empathizes with some of the struggles many SLCC students encounter.
Phillips attended school part-time while raising young kids at home. And while it took a total of ten years to complete her education, Phillips obtained outstanding academic achievements that led her back to her ultimate goal to teach at SLCC.
“The best advice I can give is to keep plugging along. It is easy to get discouraged and want to quit, but just keep going,” says Phillips.