In the far-right corner of David Lawver’s office, there sits a collection of colorful artwork, vibrant fabrics, hand crafted instruments, and a globe. Each physical item reminds him of the grand adventures he has experienced. His passion for teaching others about agricultural education has taken him all over the world.
David Lawver, Ed. D is a professor of agricultural education at Texas Tech University who impacts students in Lubbock and beyond. After graduating from the University of Missouri and earning his master’s degree, Lawver started off as a high school agricultural education teacher in Missouri. Shortly thereafter, his passion for teaching grew. He knew he wanted to continue to teach on a larger scale. He then went to complete his doctorate at Mississippi State University. Upon graduation, Lawver worked at Texas A&M University for a year then started teaching at Texas Tech in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications.
“I studied abroad during my senior year of college, so I have had embers burning for a long time” Lawver said.
Soon thereafter, Lawver found himself starting his own international work. His first international experience was in 2005 when he had a doctoral student in Kenya. He was able to travel to Africa to help the student with his dissertation in person. This was just the beginning of Lawver’s international impact. He saw these people were in need of food and education and was ready to do what he could to help them.
Soon thereafter, Lawver found himself leading study abroad programs as a faculty member. One of his first trips was taking students on a drive through Chihuahua, Mexico where they studied the human dimensions of international agriculture. He showed the students how different life and agriculture is in other countries. Lawver saw the power of helping students broaden their horizons by taking them abroad.
“It may open career opportunities; it changes prejudices someone might have,” Lawver said.
Lawver expresses how these international opportunities can shape the path of the student’s future. It shows students that life is larger than them and the world is bigger than the United States.
His most impactful experience was his Fulbright in Kenya circa 2009. The Fulbright Program allows students, teachers, and professionals to partner with countries to provide them with educational experiences that are offered in the United States, but not traditionally in their country. Lawver attended his Fulbright and was inspired by how optimistic the students were to learn from him.
“You may have a room that’s capable of holding 200, and there’ll be 200 people, but there’ll be a ton of extra seats available because they’re all jammed up close to the front,” Lawver said.
This Fulbright experience created opportunities to attract new doctoral students to Davis College and changed the way Lawver teaches his Human Dimensions course in the classroom today. It has allowed students from around the world to get their terminal degree from Texas Tech so they can return home and teach the future generations in their country.
No matter how far his travels take him, Lawver said he is always impressed to be reminded how small our world is. Whether that was running into someone from Lubbock in the hotel lobby while in Africa or staying with a family in Eldoret who happened to be an agricultural education teacher from Michigan, he feels the impact of Lubbock worldwide.
The impact of Davis College is felt globally because of committed educators like Lawver. His effort and hard work towards his international work has opened doors for students all around the world. In the far-right corner of his office, there lies two inches of free space on his shelf, encouraging his next adventure.