Al Cook, Ph.D.
After High School, I launched a full and exciting life of academics, sports, military (USAF) and work. First, I attended the University of Alabama on a four-year football scholarship, where I played football for Coach Paul” Bear” Bryant while lettering three (3) years. I was very fortunate to have played on the first National Championship Team for Coach Bryant. Recently, some notable historians have indicated that perhaps, the 1961 championship team may be the best Alabama team ever (e.g., we scored 297 points while our opponents all together only scored 25). Since I played defense, this was especially meaningful. After completing my Masters Degree at Alabama, I entered active duty as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War era. Finishing my four-year tour as a Captain, I returned to civilian life to enter graduate school, pursuing and receiving my Ph.D. in Social Psychology at North Carolina State University. In 1973 I began teaching and doing research as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Seven (7) years later, I took a position as a Corporate Director in Planning and Administration at CIGNA Health Plan in Dallas, TX. After several years I left the corporate world to direct an Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program in Dallas, which was especially fulfilling since I was able to affect the lives of many young people and their families in a very positive way. The program was identified by the Texas Attorney General’s Office as the best non-profit program in the state of Texas.
During the last thirty one (31) years, I’ve served as Professor of Psychology and Sociology at Trinity Valley Community College, where I received the “Extra Mile Award” in 1996 for Distinguished Teaching of students on campus and at the TDCJ maximum security prisons units. During the years of 2011 ,17 &18 I was also nominated for the prestigious Ray Williams Teaching Excellence Award. I continue to find my work with general and special populations very meaningful and rewarding. And therefore, I will continue to teach as long as I feel that I’m able to make a positive difference in the lives of my students and can grow and challenge my own knowledge and skills in the fields of psychology and sociology .