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In the current political climate, it might be difficult to find a space where there is zero judgment and avoid the noise and friction of the constant 24-hour news cycle. But in the classroom of Stephanie Hallock, professor of political science, it is what she strives for every single day.
By utilizing small groups, team teaching and simulation games, she has seen students from polar opposite backgrounds begin to see one another’s sides. She makes her students realize that “there’s no right or wrong answer with these things.”
Hallock is seen as a pioneer in encouraging others to think about politics in ways they never thought about before. She challenges students to be self-aware, to question their own pre-existing notions, and to try things or learn things they haven’t before. She sees herself as a guide on this internal process to conclusions her students have never considered, hoping that over time, “they will be reinforced by others and change their worldview. It’s not my job to do that and I certainly can’t do it in one semester. I can at least help make that space.”
She goes out of her way to create conversations every semester, but she also takes any chance to learn about higher education in order to benefit Harford Community College’s political and international study curriculums. She was recently a part of the Maryland Higher Education Commission Team at the Complete College America Conference in California, learning about equal opportunities for all college students across the country.
For Hallock, education has been a big part of her life both in Harford County and around the world. She’s an advocate for travel-study abroad experiences as the founder and coordinator of the Global Education and Engagement department, which provides HCC students and faculty travels to such locations as Iceland, Cuba, Wales/UK, and Costa Rica.
For her students who aren’t able to travel like she has, she still brings her own experiences into the classroom in an innovative way. For her trip to Cuba, she returned with photos to help retell the story of the Cuban Revolution from their perspective. Most importantly, she “finds their voice. Not what it looks like or what it tastes like, but what it feels like to be there in a global context.”
But just because she loves to travel doesn’t mean she can’t be involved on campus or around the county. Hallock can be found on many committees and teams, serving as chair and advisor, always lending a helping hand to the upkeep of the College. Within the community, she has held leadership positions in the Harford County League of Women Voters and formerly served as an appointed member to the Harford County Charter Review Board.
Ultimately, while balancing her teaching, her travels and her involvement, her end-goal is to fortify her students’ worldview. Her philosophy is simple, revolving around a sense of “global community” that is unique and not completely uniform. “In a community,” Hallock explains, “you value and respect the differences [...] if you are going to be successful in the global workforce, your worldview needs to be open, respectful and civil.”
The respect and civility found within her classroom has proven to inspire students long after the semester ends. On the walls of her office are postcards from her former students, who have been traveling the world and building their own global community. Much like Hallock, they haven’t forgotten their roots and will always have HCC as an important building block in their educational experience.
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