What do you do after teaching 100 straight semesters? If you’re Warren Heatwole, Austin Community College professor of construction management, the answer is simple. You keep going.
“You don’t choose to be a teacher. You are born to do it,” says Heatwole. “Being in the classroom is my joy.”
Heatwole teaches at Riverside Campus and has been there since it opened in 1989.
“He is the heart and soul of this department. He created the culture here. He mentored students who are now staff and administrators,” says Dana Gutierrez, DMCAT administrative assistant.
In the decades since he first stepped into a classroom at ACC, Heatwole has touched the lives of some 4,000 students. He’s served as department chair and professor and helped launch the gateway program at ACC to prepare incarcerated individuals with marketable skills for success after release.
“He is fearless with reinventing the wheel to meet students with what they need,” says Donnie Thurman, assistant professor.
“There is more to this job than just teaching,” explains Heatwole.
For Heatwole, each day is about setting others up for success.
“You see the students at the beginning of each semester who are eager and ready to learn,” he says. “Getting them where they need to be isn’t a single person’s job. It takes a dedicated team.”
That team is what Heatwole describes as his greatest accomplishment.
“I have a unique ability in recognizing teaching talent in others, so when I became department chair, I started putting people into place that helped build the program,” he says.
“If you surround yourself with good people, you don’t have to look as good,” he joked. “We’ve had fun over the years and still do. Work hard and do a good job, and everyone appreciates it.”
“Every day you learn something new. He inspires students, faculty, and staff to do better,” says Thomas Alvarado, a former student and current employee in the building construction technology program.
After more than 33 years leading a classroom, Heatwole isn’t ready to stop just yet.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had, heck, it feels like the only job I’ve ever had. For the next four semesters, I plan on improving as a teacher and hopefully influencing others to be better teachers as well,” he says.Back to Top