Inaugural Alumni Teach Days in CSTA
Oct 12, 2012
Homecoming is a time to welcome alumni back to campus, and the communication studies and theatre art department came up with a unique approach to include its graduates. CSTA alumni taught most of the department classes Thursday and Friday of Homecoming week.
Alumni from a 20-year span returned to campus to teach one or two class periods. Each professor found a graduate or two, and worked together on what content would be covered in class that day.
Each class took a different approach: some were primarily sharing of career experiences, some were question-and-answer, some were class discussions and others were lectures.
Dr. Cindy Carver pitched the idea to her colleagues, who were receptive and have really enjoyed the experience.
“And we’ve certainly had a positive response from the alumni. They’ve been glad they were asked to come back,” Carver says. “We think there’s great networking opportunities for our people, too.”
Steph Villella '11, a proposal coordinator at Ulteig in Fargo, N.D., came back to teach Intro to Communication and Research Methods, both regularly taught by Dr. Aileen Buslig. At the end of the class periods, there was an opportunity for the students to ask Villella questions about her career after college.
“I had a lot of fun being on the other side of the classroom, and I’m grateful Aileen gave me that opportunity,” she says. “Her students seemed engaged and they asked a lot of great questions, so it was a very pleasant experience.”
The Nonverbal Communication class was guest-taught by Katie (Corwin) Hasbargen '95, who now works as the senior communications manager for Microsoft. She started her class period by explaining her background and career path, and then opened the floor to questions about the nonverbal office life and culture at Microsoft.
“It was so much fun,” Hasbargen says. “It’s great to see the excitement of students and that they’re so engaged in what they are doing and learning.”
Carver says that CSTA hopes to do Alumni Teach Day again next year, and maybe expand it to other departments. She’d love to find alumni from across the state and country who plan to come back for their reunion and are willing to teach a class.