DMACC Professor Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd grew up in the Quad Cities, just east of Des Moines, where he met his wife of fourteen years. They met when they were just eleven years old and got married the summer before their senior year of college. Now, with six kids from three to thirteen, they both have their hands full with homeschooling. He enjoys playing video games and watching superhero or sci-fi films, mostly ones that his kids are interested in. Byrd said, “Growing up [I preferred] Marvel, but now DC. It’s what my kids watch.” But he still takes time to indulge in the things he enjoys or watch movies with his wife. 

Byrd has been teaching at DMACC for over thirteen years now. After graduating from Iowa State University, he began working at Urban Campus as an adjunct professor before eventually transitioning to teach full time at the Ankeny campus. Despite the longevity and success of his career, his interest in teaching wasn’t sparked until later in his academic career.  

“I never liked public speaking,” Byrd said, “[I] still hold that opinion, I don’t really like small talk.” Despite this, Byrd has gone out of his way to prioritize not only his duties at work, but his students and colleagues. Jeania Cozad, Administrative Assistant at DMACC Ankeny and Byrd’s coworker of eight years, said Byrd is “energetic” and “considerate of others.” “Every day he’s in [the office] to say ‘hi’ and catch up on our families.”

I love being around students, being in the classroom,” said Byrd. His passion for making a difference is clear, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may be. Byrd strives to be involved in the DMACC community and has made several personal efforts to incite change at DMACC including ensuring policy change regarding service animals on campus and handling students mental health issues. 

Byrd recalled stories of helping students personally with their mental health struggles. One of his students was showing all the signs of being in a severe mental health crisis. After his lecture, Byrd decided to offer to visit the counseling center with her. “I sat with her for forty-five minutes before anyone came back to help her,” Byrd said. 

Despite being younger than most of his colleagues, Byrd has accomplished much. He is the District Chair of five departments at DMACC. A few of his responsibilities are hiring part-time teachers, picking books, and setting the curriculum. Byrd does so all while he teaches several courses on history and political science. But above all, he professes his children and wife as being the greatest accomplishment. He remains a humble and helpful person to his community, those around him always know they can depend on him for anything.  


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