My colleague Chris Roush has an excellent column in the latest AEJMC newsletter. The topic is guest speakers, and he offers great tips about making their visits meaningful to students.
Like Roush, I invite guest speakers to visit my class on occasion. They provide a break from the routines of lectures and assignments, and they offer expertise on topics that are not my strong suits. Both my students and I learn a lot from them.
For example, in recent years, students in Advanced Editing have expressed interest in careers in book publishing, academia and the corporate world. As an editor with a background in news, I cannot speak from experience about what it’s like to be an editor in those situations.
That’s why I recently asked three editors to visit my class:
- Lindsey Alexander, a freelance editor formerly at HarperCollins;
- Ayse Erginer, executive editor at Southern Cultures, a journal published by the Center for the Study of the American South;
- Lisa Chensvold, director of communications at UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases.
Rather than have each person to do a formal presentation, I served as lead interviewer, asking each guest questions about her job. Then I asked the students to ask questions and make comments. In my experience, this informal format works well, putting everyone at ease and encouraging conversation between students and visitors to the class.
I also like taking guest speakers to lunch on the day of their visits. It’s a sign of gratitude for their time and effort, and the conversation there can lead to ideas for the discussion in class. And who knows? Maybe you’ll make some new friends, as I have.