Students in Harry Parker‘s theatre classes are not simply learning ways to improve their acting techniques and performances.
Parker’s main focus is to help craft his students into better human beings.
“I like that I’m teaching about the theatre. This is what I love the most, and I believe the theatre can literally make the world a better place,” Parker said
His passion and dedication for his work led him to be selected as the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar in September.
“Student after student I have spoken with about Dr. Parker says one common thing about him: he inspires them,” Chancellor Victor Boschini said. “He is exactly the kind of professor I would want teaching, inspiring and prodding my own children.”
Students echoed that sentiment.
“I look forward to that Harry Parker charm-that little bit of spice he adds to the lessons,” said Cameron Smith, first-year theatre major.
First-year theatre major Chase Ainsworth said Parker’s charisma and excitement for the theatre program encouraged her to attend the university. The two met over coffee and discussed the program, ultimately leading Ainsworth to pick TCU over other universities.
“He’s a large portion of the reason I’m here,” she said.
Parker said he has a love for theatre and shares his enthusiasm for the discipline with his students.
Faith Lawrence, first-year musical theatre major, said she learns a lot from Parker.
“I eat up anything he says because I want to hear all of his wisdom,” she said.
Parker said the most important skill he tries to teach his students is to be thoughtful, tolerant and kind individuals. He emphasized this and said theatre is the only art form where the material that is used to teach students about people is other people.
Parker’s enthusiasm for teaching captures the attention of his students. He aims for his teaching style to have a sense of constant conversation going back and forth between himself and his students.
Sydney Kirkegarrd, a first-year musical theatre major, said she enjoys the personable and understanding tone he brings to the classroom.
“He tells us that he’s not the perfect guy and doesn’t make the right decisions all the time,” she said.