Teresa A. Henderson Vazquez, M.A.
M.A., Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Iowa, 2004
B.A., Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Iowa, 1996
"Teaching and learning are acts of optimism and social justice. My primary goal is to facilitate students’ exploration of their own agency in a diverse and interconnected world."
I originally intended to be an English professor, but could not resist the pull of Hispanic languages and cultures. During college, I went to Spain for a month and stayed for a year, studying Spanish, Basque, and the dangerous art of dancing with sticks. I returned, completed a Spanish Honors B.A., and continued on to graduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. I moved back to my home state of Iowa to complete my degree in Hispanic Literature and learn to Latin dance. During this time I lived in Paraguay for a month to study Guaraní and a month and a half in Argentina to shuffle papers. Before joining UMR I taught for six years at Indiana University East, where I received the Helen Lees Award for Excellence in Teaching and was an Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow. I was a member of the 2015 Collaborative Leadership Fellows cohort, became certified in the Intercultural Development Inventory in 2016, and was a member of the UMN Internationalizing Teaching and Learning cohort of 2016-17. I travel frequently to Mexico to visit family and to other Spanish-speaking countries whenever possible.
I have taught Spanish courses at UMR since 2011. During the 2016-17 Internationalizing Teaching and Learning cohort program, I redeveloped the required Spanish sequence to specifically target UMR’s specialized student body; a process I began planning in 2014. The courses are now designed as one three-semester long course with an intentional focus on health-sciences communication uses and intercultural contexts, and incorporate an intercultural community engagement component. I am also a member of the highly collaborative and interdisciplinary team for UMR’s unique Community Collaboratory course, which has been honored by UMR with the 2014 Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award. My goal in any course is to foster an environment in which students challenge themselves, each other, and the pedagogy, and intentionally develop their own professional and personal toolbox to better pursue their goals. I most value diversity of experience, collaborative strategies, and community engagement in my professional and personal lives and seek to support the same in my students. Courses at my previous institution have included Elementary through Intermediate Spanish, “Colonial Spanish America”, “Fair Trade vs Free Trade: the effects of globalization on Central American communities”, “Hispanic Women”, “The Hispanic World”, and “20th Century Spanish Literature”.