Adjunct Assistant Professor in Rhetoric
Doctoral courses, Communication Studies, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
M.F.A., School of Drama, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
B.S., Speech with Drama Emphasis
B.A., French; Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Diplôme d'Études Françaises, Université Paul Valèry, Montpelier, France
What classes are you currently teaching?
Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Interviewing, Teamwork and Leadership in Small Groups, and Lakota (Sioux) Culture and Communication. On an as needed basis I have taught Media and Mass Communication and our Topics in Communication courses.
What activities or campus organizations are you actively involved with?
I've done workshops for Alpha Omega Pi sorority and Cultural Diversity. Lambda Chi fraternity also just destroyed a car in our driveway for Homecoming. One year Susanne Gubanc and I took a group of communication and PR students to a Business Communication Conference in Cleveland. We're hoping this can become an annual event. I'm also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Finally, I've been a loyal supporter of the ESL program, having hosted more Japanese students than I can recall in over twenty years at Coe.
What makes Coe stand out from other schools?
Teachers have long-term interaction with the students so we can see them grow intellectually and in character over the years. I think the liberal arts perspective combined with our strong extra-curricular offerings encourage this growth both in and out of the classroom. And while it may sound silly and old-fashioned, people here are nice... to each other and to the world around them. This innate kindness toward others, even those we don't know well, is the best hope for a better future.
What is your favorite class to teach and why?
This is so hard as I try to teach each class as if it were my favorite class....if I'm that enthusiastic, the students are more involved. I love going to Standing Rock Reservation, SD, each May term and introducing Coe students to the Lakota culture and my friends there. Encountering the spirituality of the Lakota culture, the poverty, and the effects of our government's policies, has caused me to rethink my values and change some of my behaviors. In three short weeks, my students also begin to re-examine their life choices. It's a moving time for all of us.
What is your most memorable moment interacting with a Coe student?
This occurs on the reservation, often as we come out of inipi (a purification or sweat lodge ceremony) or late at night talking over the day's events. We share our discoveries, and even more significant, our self-discoveries.
What is your favorite website?
EBay, sigh. Or perhaps Fox TV and Hulu so I can catch-up on Fringe or Dollhouse or Buffy. I can never watch TV programs when they're scheduled as I'm also raising my four-year old granddaughter and her bedtime routine takes a wondrously long time.
What book are you currently reading?
At home I read sci-fi/fantasy to relax and escape; but you could probably have guessed that from my website list. I try to keep a more challenging book going as well: Alexie Sherman's Ten Little Indians or Raven in Winter by Bernd Heinrich. The former deals with residence life today and the later with discovering that ravens share carrion. My first criterion for a book is that it opens a new world to me.
What do you enjoy doing outside of class?
I do activities that I both enjoy and that bring me closer to other people. I'm in a Mideast dance group called the Sisters of the Shifting Sands. Belly-dancing filled a void for feminine companionship left when my sister died of cancer ten years ago. I work on a Japanese style garden with my older son just as I used to do salt-water fish tanks with my younger son.
What is the best getaway location, local or abroad?
Dairy Queen.....hey, we have to accommodate a four-year-old these days! Our favorite vacation is a week canoeing in the Boundary Waters.
What is your favorite thing about Coe?
Coe follows my experiential teaching philosophy by asking that students complete an internship and/or research project and service learning. We learn best by doing and we remember most what we do.
What advice would you give a prospective student?
Don't get so caught up in learning content and skills for a specific job that you forget the 'soft skills' that will advance you in any job: empathy, communication, leadership, interpersonal skills, flexibility, appreciation of diversity and change. The advantage of this knowledge is that it enriches all aspects of your life. You build relationships through communication. And in the end, the quality of your life depends upon the quality of your communication with others.