Exemplary? You bet. Dr. Kathleen Galindo’s Inspiring Journey at TCC Northwest

The goal of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching is not only to recognize excellence in the classroom but also to provide an example to both students and colleagues. This year’s TCC Northwest recipient, however, had some doubts about whether she fits the description. 

Kathleen “Kat” Galindo gets rave reviews from her biology students who spread the news to others, creating a ripple effect. “Before I knew it, I had students coming all the way from Dallas to take my class,” she said. She has a lengthy list of service to both campus and College, ranging from search committees to the Faculty Association presidency. Additionally, she chairs the Kinesiology Department, even though she’s never taken a kinesiology course. 

Yet she humbly states, “I don’t necessarily think of myself as exemplary.” Her dean, Greta Bowling, disagrees, asserting, “Dr. Galindo is the absolute definition of ‘exemplary.’ She goes above and beyond in every possible way, caring for students and diligently working with them. She is willing to step outside her comfort zone to learn new things and truly cares about the faculty voice and their opinions on new procedures. So, yes, she’s a great advocate for faculty and for students.” 

Galindo’s passion for science, particularly biology, began in elementary school in her native San Antonio. She excelled in advanced courses and, influenced by her college student older brother, gained exposure to research, shaping her path towards becoming a researcher. 

Earning her Ph.D. in genetics and development at UT Southwestern, she initially planned a career as a research scientist. However, budget cuts led to job insecurity, prompting her to reconsider her career path. Enjoying mentoring students, she transitioned to teaching, initially as an adjunct at TCC Northwest. She strategically chose TCC Northwest over Richland College in Dallas, anticipating a full-time position. 

The full-time position materialized, and she immersed herself in committee work, recognizing its role in a tenure application. The nomination for the Chancellor’s Award surprised her, as she had not been previously recognized for teaching. Winning from Northwest was an even greater surprise. 

While Galindo contemplates retirement eligibility into the world of adjuncts, she remains dedicated to her teaching and personal growth. She stepped up as the Kinesiology Department chair, viewing it as an opportunity to learn something completely different and challenge herself. 

Despite the physical and demanding nature of teaching, she works diligently, aiming to leave work behind when at home with her family. Continuously evolving in her teaching techniques, she remains committed to becoming a better instructor and embracing the fun challenge it brings.