The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

Meet communication studies professor Megan Cole

Hailey Roden

Megan Cole, a part-time faculty member in the communication studies department, is no stranger to NKU’s campus and community.

Although she began as a professor in the communication studies department seven years ago, her experience working at the university goes even further back.

Megan Cole

Professor of: Communication

From: Alexandria, Kentucky

Time as a part-time faculty member at NKU: 7 years

Cole arrived at NKU in 2007 for undergrad, and later graduated in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in counseling and human services. Soon after, she received her masters in communication from NKU in 2013.

After graduating with her masters, Cole worked as an assistant and administrative secretary for the provost’s office for over four years before later becoming a part-time faculty member in the communication studies department, which is housed in the School of Media and Communication within the College of Informatics.

The Northerner spoke with Cole in a Q&A to discuss her career and journey as a part-time faculty member inside the College of Informatics.

Q: What made you want to come back to teach at NKU?
A: “I was studying for a communications masters for employability and to further my career, and I took one of the classes with an instructor I enjoy, Dr. Jacqueline Emerine, just to basically try it out. I thought it would be a good thing to have under my belt as an option for the future, and I fell in love with it. I did my teaching internship with Mark Leeman, and it was something I never knew I wanted to do until I gave it a try. I loved it, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Q: What would you say your favorite things are about teaching?
A: “It sounds cliche—my favorite thing is the students. I love to see students more than just their communication skills. I like to see them develop their critical thinking skills and be able to apply those outside of the classroom. One of my favorite things to see is students no longer taking what they consume at face value, or taking things for granted. They really process them for themselves with the skills they learn in public speaking. I like seeing students grow, I like seeing shy students feel more confident in themselves, I like seeing students who maybe are good public speakers grow more empathetic with other parts of communication such as listening or interpersonal skills. It’s really a course that teaches others how to contribute to their communities.”

Q: You mention the public speaking course that you teach, are there any other courses you teach?
A: “I’ve taught a few others. I taught introduction to mass media, I taught interpersonal communication and I developed a course for the honors college that I taught one semester about communication activism.”

Q: What would you say is your favorite course to teach?
A: “I love teaching public speaking, but I think my favorite is interpersonal communication, because you use those skills every single day. I know we use public speaking every day in a lot of ways, but I think it’s easier for students to grasp how to immediately apply interpersonal concepts and it immediately changes their relationships with their friends, family or their workplaces for the better.”

Q: How many classes do you teach in a given semester?
A: “I used to teach at Ivy Tech as well as Northern. When I did that, I taught five a semester, but right now at Northern, I’m teaching two to three a semester.”

Q: Do you hold any other part-time jobs or full-time jobs outside teaching?
A: “Yes, so as I mentioned already, I used to combine and teach at NKU and at Ivy Tech part-time in each. I have been the director of communications in a nonprofit camp in Falmouth the last two years. Right now, I split my time between Northern and doing freelance communications for The Marketing Collective in Cincinnati.”

Q: How do you balance freelancing and being a part-time professor?
A: “I try really hard to keep my priorities in check, which I have found for me is making sure I have time with my family and my friends and giving back to my community. I try to maximize my time when I am working on my nine-to-five, and that means that even though I create my own schedule, I really structure that time using a planner and using timers every day, which maybe that sounds silly, but I dedicate two hours to working on one thing than two hours to working on another and I still fill up my days.”