Meet Anna Dunlap Higgins-Harrell

Faculty Spotlight

Meet Anna Dunlap Higgins-Harrell (a.k.a. “Mama Higgins”); Professor of English and Director for the GSC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Originally from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, located at the crown of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Higgins-Harrell now lives in Griffin, Georgia. She earned her MA at Appalachian State University and her PhD at the University of Tennessee. An enthusiastic member of the Gordon State family, her favorite part of her job is simply having the opportunity to work with students, faculty and staff. She loves seeing everyone on campus and lifting their spirits with a big toothy smile or an encouraging word.

According to Higgins-Harrell, she always wanted to be a teacher, but as a survivor of child abuse with a stubborn stutter and an even more stubborn belief that she was unintelligent, she did not believe that she could follow her dreams. Now, however, she is the director of the GSC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, calling herself “living proof that we can do all things.” She especially loves teaching first-semester courses like English 1101 because she enjoys helping new students feel welcomed, comfortable, and encouraged. Her goal is to show students that, no matter how nervous they may be, they can succeed in English courses. Beyond that, she hopes her students feel truly cared for and walk out of her classroom feeling encouraged for whatever meets them next.

Higgins-Harrell was welcomed to the Highlander community in 1997. She says she fell in love with Gordon the minute she walked on campus. However, before her arrival here, she also lived in Washington, D.C., and received a job working for a member of Congress — during which she gave tours of the Capital, was proposed to by the Chief Liaison of the Navajo Nation and was offered a job by the CIA. (She also drove a wrecker for a time.) Needless to say, we are overjoyed that Higgins-Harrell, with all her love and encouragement, joined the Highlander Family!