Alumnus Heath Chambless Enjoys Dream
Heath Chambless, 1991 graduate of Northeast Alabama Community
College, is living his
dream−teaching 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
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, NACC
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.