Paul Eaton: Becoming a Lifelong Learner
“I would do it all over again,” says Paul Eaton, PhD (BA ‘02, history and English), a recipient of a 2021 College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Alumni of Notable Achievement Award.
“I love everything that liberal arts did for me—both from a cognitive and intellectual perspective and then just the way that it set me up to be able to be successful in my life and in my career. I would never trade [that experience] for anything," Eaton says about his time as an undergraduate student at CLA.
As an associate professor of higher education leadership at Sam Houston State University, Eaton has taught 15 different courses, including one he created himself, and served on 21 different committees. As well as having many publications and a podcast of his own, Eaton is a dedicated community member and activist for social justice.
Eaton prepares students who want to work in higher education. He is interested in researching how digital technologies are changing education and student experience and teaching courses about equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.
In 2020, Eaton won Sam Houston State University’s Excellence in Teaching faculty award for his teaching philosophy, impactful learning activities, and interactive classroom spaces.
While his love of teaching runs deep, Eaton says he is most proud of his work as a mentor for students.
“Be an advocate for the University, no matter where you end up going,” says Eaton as his parting advice for recent CLA graduates. Eaton looks back on his studies at UMN fondly and recognizes how the broad range of courses he took still influences him today.
“Even though I don’t understand all the intricacies of [other fields of study], my liberal arts degree gave me awareness and it helps me to be a more informed person and a more curious person. I can build on that knowledge as a lifelong learner,” he says.
Eaton encourages other CLA students and alumni to be lifelong learners as well, and always take a piece of the University with them.