Hullabaloo U, Texas A&M’s First-Year Experience Course, Announces Instructor of the Year
Elizabeth Lindan, an assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, is the 2022 recipient of the Hullabaloo U Instructor of the year. Lindan is a 1982 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in agronomy.
Hullabaloo U, Texas A&M University’s first-year experience course, equips first-year students to achieve academic and personal goals, take advantage of campus resources, develop community and a sense of belonging, and contribute to a diverse and inclusive Aggie community.
Instructors are Texas A&M employees who teach a section of the course, serving as educators, resources and ambassadors for Texas A&M. They work closely with undergraduate peer mentors to create engaging learning opportunities for their students.
In January, all students enrolled in a Hullabaloo U course during fall 2021 were asked to nominate instructors who demonstrated exemplary characteristics. Lindan was selected from a pool of 84 instructors and more than 105 nominations. Her students recognized her for her motivation, inspiration and commitment. More than 350 instructors are involved in Hullabaloo U.
Lindan started working for Texas A&M in the Department of Music Activities as administrative coordinator for Choral Activities. In January, she accepted a position with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs as an administrative coordinator.
“I am honored to receive this award,” she said, “but the students are the real award winners. They are the ones who inspired me to want to be the best. Every week, I looked forward to interacting with them, and I’m certain I learned more from them than they learned from me.”
Lindan became a Hullabaloo U instructor in 2020. When she first read the email asking for instructors, she was hesitant, but took a leap of faith and submitted her application. Past experience teaching elementary school gave her confidence, but the thought of teaching college students was intimidating.
“I was so nervous in the first class,” she said, “but quickly learned that yes, college students are pretty cool, lots of fun, and will talk if the climate is safe and not scary. I was hooked!”
Lindan’s Hullabaloo U success stems from a passion for students and their well-being. She believes that her role is simply to be present for her students, and the rest follows.
“My advice to other instructors is, first and foremost, to truly care about your students,” she said. “Care about their well-being. Ask them what you can do for them, mean it and be prepared to follow through if they come to you with an issue. Be genuine and make yourself accessible.”
Her students mentioned that Lindan was much more than a teacher. While she met all the criteria for an instructor, providing resources and education, she also provided support and a shoulder on which to lean. One of her students, Camille Hanson, who is part of the class of 2025 studying engineering, described Lindan’s caring and welcoming approach.
“Mrs. Liz had a huge impact on me during my first semester at Texas A&M,” said Hanson. “Not only is she an incredible instructor, but she is an incredible person. She loves her students and wants to help them succeed in every way possible. Mrs. Liz made her classroom a safe space for all students and aimed to benefit each one of us. She encouraged students to email her if they were having a bad day or if they needed to talk to someone.”
As a Texas A&M former student who was the first in her family to attend college, Lindan reflects on Hullabaloo U and how it may have changed the first year of her Texas A&M experience.
“My motivation for instructing this course is that I would have benefitted from such a course when I was a freshman. I was a first-gen college student,” she said. “I was so lost and overwhelmed when I came to A&M in 1978 and had no idea what I was doing or where to go or who to ask for help. If I can help one student from floundering, let them know there are resources available to them, including me, it’s worth it.”