Humans of TAMS is a photojournalism project that seeks to capture the diversity of the TAMS population through a series of interviews and portraits of students and faculty. Thank you to this week’s interviewee, Dr. Eric Gruver.
Another new addition to the administrative staff, Associate Dean Dr. Eric Gruver found his way to North Texas after learning that he would be able to work with both TAMS and the Honors College. Although he was originally born in Arkansas, Dr. Gruver grew up in Oklahoma and completed high school in Texas. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in History from East Texas State University, now known as Texas A&M-University Commerce.
Dr. Gruver was originally a high school teacher until a job opened up at A&M Commerce to work with future teachers in social studies. “I applied and was fortunate enough to be chosen as the candidate,” Dr. Gruver says. “I did that for nine years.”
In 2008, he became Assistant Dean of the Honors College at A&M Commerce and worked there until he moved to TAMS.
“Being able to work with high-school-aged students who are in college,” as well as the large size of UNT both presented him with a way to “get in touch with a lot of students.”
“I get to see you guys go from being young juniors in high school all the way through,” Dr. Gruver exclaims. However, he doesn’t want all of us to end our journey in Denton at graduation. “We lose too many of you to other schools. My goal is to get more to stay at UNT and continue your research.” In order to accomplish this goal, TAMS has recently created the TAMS to Eagles Scholarship, which will be awarded to academy students who continue their education at UNT.
This push for TAMS students to finish out their undergraduate education here at UNT is not Dr. Gruver’s only goal as the new Associate Dean. “One thing we are talking about right now is adding computer science to the core curriculum,” he states. “In so many stem fields you have to know how to code or program. I don’t know if it will be for next year or the year after, but we have a committee that’s talking about how this would affect student’s schedules.”
Another new change became very famous around McConnell Hall for several days in September. “The only reason we did the card swipe system was because it was easier than using a sheet of paper and checking off names, which just became too cumbersome for the people taking attendance,” Dr. Gruver says.
Students with classes on opposite ends of campus (shout out to the Matthews-to-Hickory kids), however, do not need to worry. “We understand that there are classes that are a long ways away.” He explains that whoever is taking attendance will stay for several minutes after the class has started to account for the students who are hurrying from another class.
Although this ID swipe system is currently focused on classes with a large number of TAMS students, Dr. Gruver points out that “if this works out, we will probably try to move it to each class.” He reminds us that TAMS has our best interest in mind with this new protocol. “As I said in my email, attendance is in direct correlation with the grade you make.”
When he’s not in Sage Hall or Mac Café, Dr. Gruver can be found partaking in some of his favorite activities. “I love to watch soccer and hockey,” he smiles. “I live for Saturday and Sunday mornings when the Barclays Premier League is on.” He states that he doesn’t have a favorite team, however, there are some athletes he roots for. “Eden Hazard is one of my favorites,” he beams.
He also enjoys watching movies. Although he will stick around to watch any kind of movie that catches his interest in the first few minutes, he admits that he has come to enjoy romantic comedies. But he says that “the action-adventure type movies are [his] favorite.” His laid back attitude towards entertainment is also reflective in open door policy. He is willing to have casual conversation over history or anything else on your mind. Dr. Gruver is an overall great addition to our TAMS community and we are glad to have him.