The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Parks and rec success

Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

Lou Hodges has been teaching at Texas A&M for almost 50 years in the recreation, parks and tourism sciences department.

With his service to students in the classroom for almost five decades, it would be difficult to find someone who embodies the Aggie Spirit as impeccably as Lou Hodges.
A 1965 graduate of Rice University, Hodges chose to obtain his Ph.D. from Texas A&M in the university’s first-ever recreation and parks program. Once he graduated in 1971, Hodges took a position as assistant professor and has worked in the department ever since.
Though he was a double major in anthropology and biochemistry at Rice, Hodges said he wasn’t happy with his career prospects in either field. Things finally began to make sense for him when he began taking agriculture classes at A&M.
“I enjoyed what I was doing for probably the first time since I got into college,” Hodges said. “It built a lot into my strengths, and so when I got offered a position as an instructor here, I accepted it.”
During his career at A&M, Hodges has taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Today, he teaches computer courses in the recreation, parks and tourism department, such as Computer Applications and Park and Tourism Applications. Hodges said while he enjoys working with computers, it is meaningless if he isn’t involved in the classroom.
“I enjoy being in the classroom,” Hodges said. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be here.”
Katie Guerra, recreation, park and tourism sciences junior, is currently taking Hodge’s Computer Applications class. According to Guerra, Hodges is understanding and adaptable in his teaching style.
“He wants you to be able to understand the assignments and help you through them step by step, but he also won’t hold you back if you’re working faster than your classmates,” Guerra said.
Myles Inglish, recreation, park and tourism sciences sophomore, said the most beneficial lesson she has learned while taking Hodges’ classes are the practical use of Excel spreadsheets for real world tasks. This semester, Inglish is taking Computer Applications and Park and Tourism Applications with Hodges.
“I’ve learned how to actually use all the basic functions of Excel — for example, formulas and sorting,” Inglish said. “I’ve also learned how to create a money analysis of different products and techniques and how to use it to figure out which product or technique is best.”
For students such as Guerra and Inglish, working with computers in Hodges’ classes has given them the confidence to solve problems they will face in their careers. Guerra said taking Computer Applications has helped her sharpen the skills she will need.
“You can basically code projects within Excel, and I found that really interesting,” Guerra said. “I’ve learned a lot of finer details about basic computer programs that I believe would help anyone get a job in the future.”
Now in his 50th year of teaching at A&M, Hodges said he has no immediate plans to retire. For him, the most rewarding part of his job is equipping students with the tools they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom.
“What I would be happy with is if they walked out of the classroom with improved skills in thinking, seeking and communicating,” Hodges said. “If they can do those three things, they’ll be a success wherever they go out of college.”

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