Focused on empowering students with effective communication skills and championing their internal sense of self, Courtney Brazile is known as a nationally recognized advocate for incorporating diversity and inclusion into the college classroom and organizational setting. As a professor of communication studies at Dallas College and student in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D..) in Organizational Leadership program at ACU, Courtney knows a thing or two about what it means to strive for excellence despite the obstacles that come along life’s journey. Whether he’s working with a student struggling with a problem, teaching a class on how to best communicate across different generations and ethnic audiences, or giving a lecture on the importance of incorporating diverse studies across academia, Courtney has given a voice to the voiceless by proclaiming that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you but rather what you plan to do with the gifts and talents God has given you.
Blessed, Favored, and Driven To Education
Proudly born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Courtney was surrounded by black educators throughout his life. Whether they were school administrators or teachers holding doctorate degrees in curriculum and instruction, the Braziles are composed of strong women and men who excel and commit themselves to educating students. From his grandmother, all the way to his cousins and extended family, education has always been something that has made his family stand out. Regardless of the subject in school, Courtney enjoyed learning. And though he wanted to add to his family’s legacy, he knew it would come at a cost. Still, he pressed forward and decided to pursue a college education at the University of North Texas.
After being highly involved with the university and other extracurricular clubs and groups, Courtney graduated with his bachelor’s degree in communication studies surrounded by his family and friends. On that day, Courtney felt like he added to the prestige and honor of his family name.
“It was a great feeling,” Courtney said. “In many ways, it felt like I finally was part of something bigger than myself. My family has a long line of highly educated people and to be a part of that was really special.”
Looking back, Courtney believes his choice to major in communication studies was something of a godsend. Realizing his knack for making friends and being a natural-born leader, Courtney concluded that he could use his communication skills for something greater – maybe even become a principal like some of his family members. However, it was going to take a long way before he would reach his goals. But, of course, Courtney didn’t mind. In fact, he was excited.
“I realized that to be a principal, you need to have a certain amount of hours in the classroom and years of experience teaching so you can become a well-rounded administrator in the future,” Courtney said. “And I remember thinking to myself, “Well, if this is what I want to be, then I might as well major in something that I would actually want to teach. And since I was pretty good at communicating with people, I figured communication studies would be the best way for me to learn, teach, and one day, lead other educators.”
Teaching and Moving Up
Holding on to his yearning to teach in one hand, and a degree in the other, Courtney was determined to get into the education field as soon as possible. Beginning as a substitute teacher for various Dallas school districts, Courtney quickly learned some important lessons about what teaching was really like. From realizing the issues within school districts to seeing what it takes to be a good teacher, to noticing his heart grow for his struggling students, Courtney’s drive to do something began to spring up again. Teaching all sorts of subjects and all grade levels, Courtney got a first-hand look into the public school system. Perhaps it was God calling him to something greater, but Courtney knew he needed to do something if he wanted to become someone who could improve the system. And that something was to continue his education.
So, Courtney enrolled and earned a master’s degree in communication from the University of North Texas. It didn’t take long for Courtney to step into a new aspect of his career as an adjunct professor at Dallas College.
“I saw they had an opening and I just remember saying, ‘It couldn’t hurt to apply’,” Courtney said. “Within a few days, I was asked if I could teach three classes related to communication. Honestly, the rest is really history. I loved it.”
Now, working as an adjunct professor at Dallas College, Courtney got to see the other side of the public school system. Teaching classes and becoming heavily involved in school activities and events, it wasn’t long before Courtney was asked if he wanted to join Dallas College’s visiting scholar program, a competitive program dedicated to assisting faculty members who needed more experience in higher education for better chances to advance in their careers. Eager to see where the program could take him, Courtney applied and was accepted into the program. However, he knew that the real work was about to begin.
“I knew it was going to take a lot out of me if I wanted to make a career in education,” Courtney remarked. “And in many ways, I was ready for that. I wanted to go through with it. I told myself, “This is your chance. Don’t lose it.’”
Within the visiting scholars program, Courtney was held to a higher standard than other faculty members. He needed to prove that he was not only a good professor but also an individual with strong ethical and academic perspectives who could advance the field of communications. Harnessing this and rising to the occasion, Courtney has served Dallas College for more than 14 years. Teaching classes including Introduction to Human Communication, Public Speaking, and Voice & Articulation, Courtney has also led various committees and campus-wide events including chairing communication conferences and organizing national holiday events such as Free Speech Week, Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month. During his time at Dallas College, Courtney has also won several university awards including being a recipient of one of UNT’s Excellence in Teaching Award for his dedication to his students and their academic success. The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to the teacher who has shown an outstanding ability to be innovative and engaging with their students, making an impact both in and outside of the classroom and is considered one of the college’s most prestigious awards.
Leading and Ending at ACU Online
Needless to say, Courtney was – and still is – at the top of his game. Earning more recognition for his work in innovative professional development workshops focused on culturally responsive teaching practices, serving as the faculty fellow for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and trending for his TEDx talk titled, Diversity in An Un-Diverse Word, Courtney is proud of who he’s become today.
“I’m just in shock, you know,” Courtney replied. “All of this is only possible because of Him [God] and I knew that if it wasn’t for the people He placed in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Hoping to continue to strive for excellence, Courtney decided to pursue his doctorate in education because of one thing: his love for learning and expanding his curiosity on what it means to be a good educator in today’s divisive and broken system. Now completing his second year of coursework, Courtney is thoroughly enjoying his time as an ACU Wildcat. From the classes to the professors who showcase their love and enthusiasm for professionals like Courtney seeking to better themselves, Courtney is excited to see where his education through ACU will take him.
“The people and professors I’ve met at ACU Online are just amazing,” Courtney said. “They care just as much about students as I do. They want to see us succeed in our careers and it has pushed me to see how I can implement the strategies I’m learning in my classroom. It is where I am meant to be for this point in my career.”
With a focused track on higher education, Courtney looks back over his career thus far with joy. From growing up around educators to becoming one himself, Courtney is a firm believer that it doesn’t matter what stands in your way, any person, regardless of their color, race, age, or gender, can reach their dream goal.
“I tell my students all the time, ‘Keep dreaming. Once you stop, that’s when you stop growing,” Courtney declared. “I haven’t stopped dreaming. And I don’t plan to.”
Are you interested in taking classes with other aspiring educators like Courtney? Learn more about our Ed.D. program today! Call our admissions team at 855-219-7300 to set up a meeting.