by: JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Feature Editor
Some like to take the high road, and some like to take the road less traveled.
Alan Worley, the chairperson of Math and Engineering Department, is in his 18th year of being a member of the faculty at South Plains College.
“I’ve never desired to teach or be a chairperson,” Worley said. “I’ve been at a crossroads, and logic stated I take the highway. God always told me, ‘Go down the dirt road.”
Worley says that he wasn’t looking for a career in teaching. He was a tutor for math in college. He says that some students didn’t see the point in math, and the students didn’t care about the class.
Worley tutored the students, and he says that it was rewarding helping the uncertain students.
Before attending New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, Worley attended Eunice (N.M.) High School.
Worley didn’t live in Eunice. He lived in a small town called Oil Center, N.M. His father worked for the oil company in the town, so Worley traveled to Eunice for school.
At Eunice High School, Worley was heavily invested into academics and also played many sports such as football, basketball, and baseball.
Worley was named All-State in football and basketball, and he says that he can connect to the student athletes at SPC better because of that. He understands what the student is going through trying to juggle sports and academics.
At the end of his high school career, Worley was offered a full-ride to attend college on scholarship.
“Everybody was telling me to take the full ride,” Worley said. “They said I was crazy to stay at the junior college for my girlfriend.”
Worley says there was a fork in the road. He says he made a good decision to go down the dirt road instead of taking the full-ride scholarship and taking the highway.
There are two reasons why Worley says that not taking the full-ride scholarship was a good decision.
“It was my first positive experience with college, and I married my girlfriend from high school,” explains Worley.
This part of Worley wants everybody to take a chance and take the road less traveled.
Worley spent one year at the junior college and got a degree in biology, statistics, and mathematics. He also enjoyed tutoring the students. That same energy from helping students in college transcends his work as a college professor.
“I want to make it clear that I appreciate my faculty and those who support my faculty,” Worley said. “Most of all, students come first.”
Worley cares about his students and really wants to make learning as entertaining as possible. The way that Worley makes math interesting is by applying the material to real-world problems.
In Worley’s statistics class, he gives an example of Frosted Flakes and feces.
According to fda.gov, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) allows no more than a certain amount of contaminants such as feces, rodent hair, and insects in the foods that we eat.
Worley ties in the amazing facts of feces in food and how the math of statistics is applied to it. Worley also doesn’t just focus on one application. He learns each of the students’ majors and strives to teach how statistics can be applied in their field.
Worley and his faculty are enthusiastic and help the students to be successful.
“I want to emphasize that we have 365 students who are pre-engineering majors, 129 computer science majors, and 41 math majors,” says Worley. “ Not all of them will make it through.”
Worley goes on to explain that they are demanding fields, and for those who do make it, he and his faculty hope that they become successful engineers and scientists.
“We hope all become productive citizens,” Worley said. “Even those who don’t make it through.”
Worley also says there is a great outlook for the engineering and computer science fields, which have grown more than 200 percent. He adds that the success of the math and engineering program can be attributed to the growth of the field and also the “outstanding instruction and mentorship that [the] faculty provides.”
Worley enjoys the professional relationship with the faculty and said he believes that learning should be entertaining.
“People are afraid to take the road less traveled,” says Worley. “I would encourage everybody to just take a chance and go down the dirt road.”