Levi Johnson: TrUE

Levi Johnson Headshot

High impact learning can be experienced both inside and outside of the classroom. Many people say, if you come to Texas Tech University, you can get more experiences that you cannot get in other places.

If you are interested in research and do not want to wait for graduate school; the Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences offers many opportunities for students. TrUE has a mission to ensure every undergraduate student has an opportunity to be a part of high-impact educational practices, while earning a degree at Texas Tech.

Levi Johnson, director of TrUE, started his position in November of 2019.

“I have been working at Tech since 2006,” Johnson said, “my first job was with this department, I was hired to work on a National Science Foundation grant. It was designed to recruit smart kids in STEM, specifically from rural schools, to come to Texas Tech.”

Johnson said his first high-impact learning experience was a failure and he was unable to finish his research. That did not stop him from giving students the chance to gain real-world experience.  

“I had a lot of high-impact learning experiences that were very transformative for me, while in grad school at Texas Tech,” Johnson said. “Every Friday, there would be a complex analysis problem up on the board and the professor would randomly select someone to solve it in front of the class.”

 Johnson said Texas Tech has been an innovator with high-impact learning experiences with a lot of them coming from the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.

“Davis College is doing stuff that other colleges are years behind in figuring out,” Johnson said.

“As far as the history, I think that has been foundational,” Johnson said. “It was always kind of this heritage of being intentional about connecting opportunities for students, with things that matter and that impact you.

“A big piece of it for us is trying to help make sure that you get the resources you need so that you can get the experiences you need.”

Johnson explained how TrUE is centered around trying to get money in the places it is needed so that students have opportunities to do things like he did. Specifically, the TrUE Scholars Program, which is designed to recruit and train talented students with real-world experience that will set them apart from the rest.

The first year in the program is also known as the exploration year, called the novios or baby matadors. If you are more interested in creative experiences, Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities is more geared towards students majoring in liberal arts.

There is also a program for faculty, the TrUE Transformers Program. This program supports faculty in developing and launching transformative experiences for undergraduate students.

The TrUE program is seeing consistent growth and interest every year. Many students who come out of this program are important and successful after graduation. There is a program for everyone that wants to partake in these transformative experiences.