The warm and charming scholar-professor Dr. Michelle Liu is also … scary. If you see her fast-pitch a softball, you probably will not have the courage to stand in front of her if a softball is within her reach. Liu held the national fast-pitch softball championship title for all of Taiwan (the Republic of China), for seven consecutive years.
She was always athletic on a very competitive scale, even as a child. She was a gymnast from the 3rd to the 6th grade, traveling to another city for competitions. Then she moved on to track and field – she was particularly good in the long jump – and softball.
She began her professional softball career when she was in junior high (Chinese rules are different from here in the States), and when she was 19 she was chosen to go to the Olympics. She selected a university path instead.
“I played all four years of my [undergraduate] college life,” she says, “both collegiate and professional ball. Playing softball is what enabled me to go to college. I not only played then, I also coached, both fast- and slow-pitch.”
One of the reasons she joined the faculty at Averett was the large number of student-athletes at the university. She knows what it’s like to be a student while playing competitively, and she is happy to share her hard-earned wisdom: “I tell the students that if you come here to play, you must get the education. If you fail in the classroom, you can’t play anymore. If you want a better life, you must do the work. And, even more important, if you want to teach, you must care.”
Her primary role is preparing students to be physical education teachers, and she takes the responsibility very seriously: “My job is to help them get a job, immediately after graduation. And they do! Public school superintendents know my students, and that helps them get jobs. Within their four years here, I give students the experiences they need … and when they graduate, they are ready to teach.”
Liu says that she starts preparing them to teach the very first year they’re at Averett, with that year providing a chance to see if teaching is what they really want to do. The second year, they begin teaching … again, to help them see if it is their career of choice.
With Liu’s academic and athletic achievements, it’s hard to imagine a better role model.
Doctor of Philosophy, Sport Pedagogy, The University of Idaho
Master of Education, Human Performance/Health Promotion, The University of New OrleansBachelor of Arts, Physical Education, Fu-Jen Catholic University [Taiwan]