Title: Clinical Assistant Professor, Communication
Degree: PhD, Northwestern University
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Courses taught: ACCOM 101 Oral Communication and Presentation, ACCOM 201 Introduction to Communication, ACCOM 205 Communication and New Media
What attracted you to Arrupe College?
A number of things attracted me to Arrupe College. I heard about Arrupe while adjuncting at Loyola in the School of Communication. I was impressed by Arrupe’s holistic mission and affordability. I was also eager to work at a school that pays attention to student concerns inside and outside of the classroom. Additionally, I was very excited about possibly teaching and advising first generation college students. It was clear to me; Arrupe offered incredible opportunities and challenges for students and professors.
Talk a little about the classes you teach.
I teach Oral Communication and Introduction to Communication. Both classes lend themselves to experimentation and innovation. I continue to be amazed by the amount of versatility and creativity required to teach in the field of communication. I enjoy facilitating student group work and interpersonal communication exercises in Introduction to Communication. My goal in Oral Communication is to give students practical skills to use beyond Arrupe College. I cover interview techniques and the ethics of public speaking during the semester. In both classes, I show short film and video selections to highlight my main points. More than anything, I like to have fun in the classroom and keep students engaged. I want to hook them and then teach them!
How did you get involved in teaching communication?
My road to communication was winding. When I was younger, I won several public speaking competitions and enjoyed composing speeches in grade school. In college, I started off studying English literature, but eventually decided to commit to a PhD program at Northwestern University, studying media’s influence on culture. Specifically, I studied documentaries created during the civil rights movement and representations of African Americans in nonfiction film in my dissertation. During the course of my research, I fell in love with the interdisciplinary nature of communication and started teaching classes in the field. In my opinion, all disciplines are influenced by how we communicate in the world. Given how we obtain information these days, we would be wise to examine the role of mass communication (television, the internet) in society. I believe I was destined to study and teach communication in some form or fashion.
What’s your favorite part about teaching? And the biggest challenge?
My favorite aspect of teaching is watching my students progress over time. In Oral Communication, student growth is easier to gage, considering students give longer and more complex speeches as the semester goes on. However, even in Introduction to Communication, I love watching a student hone his or her ideas and become more vocal about topics that matter in our world. Test preparation and grading continue to be a challenge for me. How do you measure and examine what a person has learned when teaching communication? What concepts should students be tested on, given the ubiquitous and nuanced nature of communication? In public speaking and Intro to Communication, a person may be aware of certain terms and theories but lack the ability to apply them in other classes or personal situations. This paradox keeps me motivated inside the classroom, and humble in everyday life.