The Westmoreland difference: Professor says caring faculty foster support and success


Date Published: December 11, 2017

Brian HaysBrian Hays, Assistant Professor of English, genuinely loves teaching at Westmoreland County Community College.

“I get up in the morning and I’m happy to come here.”

Hays teaches both English and Speech Communication classes. He has been with the college since 1994 and has taught at other institutions including the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow University, but he said coming to teach at Westmoreland was “a breath of fresh air.”

What is different about Westmoreland?  Hays said it is both the students and the faculty. 

“Students have real relationships with teachers who understand that what’s happening in their life affects how they do in the classroom.”

Hays also said Westmoreland students truly appreciate their education and the “lasting difference in their lives.” He said there is a sense of sharing among students.

“No student here is necessarily alone. They are all a part of the same community.”

A community that fosters support and success.

“The care here is personalized,” Hays said. “I’ve taught in large schools and small and met a lot of students and teachers. I think this is one of the most genuine and altruistic caring schools I’ve encountered.”

His love of English began in high school, when he read Sanctuary by William Faulkner, a banned book at his school. He received detention for reading it. “I would purposely seek out stuff to get me in trouble,” Hays said.

While in detention, he read more banned books and the cycle continued.  “It really inspired me to just keep reading.”

He encourages students to study English and the other Humanities because “it broadens minds.”

“A major in humanities allows students to step outside the narrow parameters of their world to embrace other ways of thinking,” Hays said.

Photo: Brian Hays teaching Intro to Literature on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.