September 27, 2011


Alumnus Heath Chambless Enjoys Dream Job

Heath Chambless, 1991 graduate of Northeast Alabama Community College, is living his
dreamteaching at Dongguk University in South Korea, and he gives his community college credit for the role it has played in his life.

"A drama scholarship to Northeast was the best gift I received when I graduated from Scottsboro High School in 1989,” said Chambless. “My two years at NACC provided a solid foundation that instilled a lifelong appreciation for excellence in the field of education and teaching. It was here that I came to recognize that learning can be fun when you are instructed by academic giants like Dr. David Campbell, Ann Everett, Cheryl Gorham, Elaine Brookshire, and others too numerous to name. They all taught that education provides a sense of adventure as well as personal challenges to make this world a better place, one person at a time."

After graduating from NACC in 1991, Chambless was well prepared to complete his undergraduate degree in 1993 at Middle Tennessee State University with a major in Mass Communication and a double minor in English and Speech and Theatre.

After returning to Scottsboro, he was employed by CommScope, Inc. whose headquarters were in Catawba, North Carolina. In 2006, CommScope's Scottsboro plant shipped their equipment to Suzhou, China, and sent Chambless to this new plant to teach the Chinese how to operate the equipment. He remembers that it was during his extended stay in China that he developed an appreciation for Asian culture and his lifelong love of travel was rekindled.

The Scottsboro CommScope plant closed shortly after Chambless returned to Alabama. To obtain a new direction in life, he sought TESOL certification. After attending 100 hours of training in Atlanta, Georgia, he was certified to teach English as a second language as well as Business English. This led to his first job in South Korea.

Heath Chambless


Heath Chambless, NACC Alumnus

While teaching English as a second language in a high school in Daegu, South Korea, Heath enrolled at Keimyung University to obtain a master's degree. This led to his present teaching position in the College of Liberal Arts of Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea. Dongguk University was established in 1906. In addition to its College of Liberal Arts and Engineering School, Dongguk also has a College of Medicine that includes a working hospital.

Chambless has also done consulting work for the Daegu Cultural Centre and the Governor of Daegu's province, which included editing and speech diction before the Provincial Governor addressed the United Nations in New York. As a reward for assisting with a speech well received, the Governor made it possible for Chambless to visit Dokdo Island located off the east coast of South Korea. This is an almost unheard of privilege for an American (or visitor of any nationality), since security for this island is strictly enforced.

Chambless considers it both an honor and a challenge to inspire native Korean university students to enjoy and ably teach English as a second language in South Korean public schools. In his creative writing, debate, and conversational English classes, he strives to make learning fun. Teaching American and southern idioms is a challenge at times but one of his most rewarding endeavors.

Heath shared that his current method of teaching goes back to ideas and inspiration he first received at NACC. The love of learning and global interests instilled by NACC instructors has followed him from Alabama to South Korea. His pursuits in the field of education have also provided opportunities for pleasure trips to Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Jeju-do Island, and tours of the entire South Korean peninsula.

"My daily goal is to represent the United States in a manner that will make my South Korean friends and associates appreciate the USA and the great State of Alabama,” said Chambless. “I do my best to show all of them, by example, the reasons one should want to become a true Southern gentleman. I will be eternally grateful for the role Northeast Alabama Community College continues to play in all my life journeys."

Photo provided courtesy of Heath Chambless. Article by Debra A. Barrentine, Director of
Promotions and Marketing at NACC.