by SARA MARSHALL/Photo Editor
College is a time of discovery, learning who you are and even possibly discovering your calling.
For Michael Slaughter, a Computer Information System (CIS) instructor at South Plains College, it was fate when he came to attend SPC after graduating from Dawson High School in Welch, Texas.
“I had absolutely zero idea of what I wanted to do going into college, like most people,” Slaughter said with a laugh. “So I was going to do a business major, which a lot of people who don’t know what they want to do, do. My [girlfriend’s dad] had a computer problem, and I fixed it for him. He said, ‘You’re pretty good at this. Why don’t you just do computers?’ and I said ‘Huh, that’s a good idea.’ So we looked online and saw the CIS program and came and talked to the advisor, Charlene Perez, who’s now one of my coworkers, and I thought it was a great idea. So I got signed up for it.”
Slaughter graduated from SPC with an Associate of Science degree in CIS in May of 2010. After graduation, he and his girlfriend got married, and he transferred to Lubbock Christian University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in CIS.
“Once we finished our graduations of our bachelor’s, life kind of got easier in a sense,” Slaughter said. “We bought a house. We started to really enjoy life. We were actually making money for the first time, ever. I was worried that it was just going to be work, but it wasn’t.”
While attending LCU, Slaughter worked at SPC as the Technology Center supervisor and taught a few select classes while pursuing his master’s degree online through the University of Houston-Victoria.
“I always enjoyed teaching,” Slaughter said. “Something felt like it was time to come back to teaching, and I felt like even though I loved my job, I didn’t feel like I was making an impact. But I felt like in teaching, advising, and that kind of stuff, I did make an impact.”
Since coming to teach at SPC, Slaughter has built relationships with his students by helping them through things that come up throughout the semester, just as his advisors had for him. However, life for Slaughter was not easy when he first began teaching.
“A couple of years ago, I went through a really bad depression,” Slaughter said. “It was my faith that really brought me through that, with the help of some friends, and I got in with a really good Christian counselor. I feel like my faith in Jesus Christ really brought me through that and changed my life, because that’s really when I started teaching here. That’s when I started teaching at the church, and that’s when I realized my passion for teaching was so deep, even though before I didn’t realize it.”
That is why Slaughter always makes a point to put in the Counseling Center’s contact information at the end of his syllabus.
“Don’t get discouraged,” says Slaughter. “Don’t get overwhelmed. Take a step back and make sure you’re not being a detriment to yourself. Reestablish what your goals are and what you want to do.”
Helping students through tough times isn’t Slaughter’s only reason for teaching in the CIS department.
“I just love technology; it’s always changing,” Slaughter said. “I love trying to keep up with the trends. It’s just kind of a passion of mine. Computers are pretty simple to figure out. So, I like conveying that information to other people and watching them actually be able to take it and grow with it.”
Sticking around SPC is definitely in his immediate plans when considering the future, but Slaughter’s faith is definitely influencing his direction in life.
“I’m actually going for my ordination, to get ordained as a minister,” Slaughter said. “Me and my wife would eventually like to plan a church. We don’t know exactly where yet, but Levelland is always a big possibility because I work here.”
He says that he also has high hopes for the CIS department in the coming years.
“I hope to build up the Computer Information Systems program the best I can,” Slaughter said. “I’d like to see this program go from being half full to a complete program where we’re having to offer multiple sections of certain classes to fulfill the demand.”