Friday, February 15, 2008

February Faculty Feature - Dr. Steve Farmer

For this month’s faculty feature, we interviewed Dr. Steve Farmer, one of the professors in the Counseling Department at UNT Dallas Campus. He opened up about his educational and professional background, how he came to the UNT Dallas Campus, what he does in his free time, and some important advice for students.

Dr. Farmer grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO and received his bachelor’s degree in English from Concordia University, a small Lutheran university in the located in the cornfields of Nebraska. Afterwards, he moved back to St. Louis and attended Concordia Seminary so he could become a Lutheran pastor. While a student at Concordia, he was able to spend a year at Westfield House in Cambridge, England and one year interning in San Antonio, TX. After graduating from the seminary in 1994, he served as a pastor in the Lutheran church in Harlingen, TX for 5 years. He decided to become a counselor and moved to San Antonio to study at St. Mary’s University where he received is M.A. in 2001, and his Ph.D. in 2004, both in Marriage and Family Counseling.

Dr. Farmer worked as a case manager for elementary and high school students at the non-profit agency, Communities in Schools of San Antonio while working on his Ph.D. He provided counseling and referral services for the students and their families. He also worked at La Paz Community Health Center in San Antonio where he provided individual and group therapy and supervision of clinical services for adults with mental illness as a counselor and later as the Program Coordinator.

Dr. Farmer began teaching counseling as an adjunct professor in the Counseling Department of the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2005. He enjoyed this job and decided to look for a full-time teaching position in a graduate Counseling program. This search brought him to the UNT Dallas Campus in the summer of 2007 and he began teaching here in the fall. Dr. Farmer says that he is “very impressed with the mission of the campus to bring an excellent higher education institution to Dallas.” And he is excited to be a part of the Counseling Department at this campus. He enjoys the diversity of the Dallas Campus and thinks that it contributes to making the Dallas Campus a true university which he defines as “a place where knowledge and research can be shared, ideas can be exchanged, and perspectives can be expanded.”

In his free time, Dr. Farmer enjoys running. Last year, on his 40th birthday, he ran in the Austin marathon. And to celebrate his 41st birthday on February 17th, he plans to run in Austin again. But this time it will only be the half-marathon because his knee isn’t ready for the full marathon this year.

Dr. Farmer’s advice to the students at the UNT Dallas Campus is to be a critical thinker. He warns that the amount of information we encounter every day is overwhelming and requires thoughtful digestion. He says that “the many voices competing for our attention often simplify their messages into rhetoric that is often meaningless and inaccurate.” And he encourages students to take time to listen, research and ask critical questions and also to “trust in the capacity of your own mind to sort through the issues and make and informed opinion.”

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