I graduated from Hutchinson Community College in 2006 with my associate’s degree before transferring to Wichita State University to complete my bachelor’s degree in communication.
Starting with the Fall 2022 academic semester, I will be returning to my roots in a way by becoming a Blue Dragon for a second time.
I will teach part-time for HCC as a public speaking instructor in the evenings. I will alternate between the McPherson Center and Newton Center.
I love teaching, and I love journalism. Journalism fits within the communication sphere, so, even though it isn’t about reporting the news, teaching public speaking is rewarding, especially when I can bring journalism or TED Talks into the mix because I love a good TED Talk.
That’s because it is so vital to surviving and thriving in society. Public speaking plays an important role in civic engagement, and in our politically divided times, being able to speak to others and listen to what is being said can help reduce the division.
Furthermore, people working in all fields need to be able to communicate with others effectively, so cultivating those skills within individuals is crucial.
Sure, a person could read a book and learn about the craft, but in order to gain oral communication skills, which include critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with research and analysis capabilities, one must speak out loud to an audience.
On a more personal level, though I started teaching public speaking a bit reluctantly, I see such immense importance in it that now I enjoy it and look forward to each semester I get to lead a course in this particular field of study.
Part of this might be because of my doctoral work in Leadership Communication. Through my studies, I have come to see how intertwined communication and leadership are.
Without communication, you can’t have leadership.
Also, because of my keen interest in democracy and social engagement, public speaking reveals itself to be a key component of the public sphere because journalism and the media are key drivers of the public sphere, and for journalism and media to function, individuals must speak, which means oral and other forms of communication are absolutely necessary.
It’s all related, and it’s all fun.
Outside of all of this, though, some might think I already have too much on my plate and shouldn’t be taking on another job.
Maybe they are right, but I love teaching and have bills to pay.
If I can make extra money while doing what I love, I consider that a win. I just have to be sure to keep all the plates spinning.
I can do it, and I can’t wait to get started and be a Blue Dragon again.