Teaching professionals

For Student Affairs staff who double as instructors, the learning goes both ways.

Pam Roe, adjunct instructor for J1200, walks from the School of Journalism.
Pam Roe, adjunct instructor for J1200, walks from the School of Journalism to her Student Affairs office in the Student Center Dec. 10, 2020. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

By Feiyu Su

On Monday and Wednesday mornings this fall, Pam Roe starts her day at Gannett Hall, teaching freshmen the fundamentals of journalism. Right after class, she walks across campus to her office on the second floor of the Student Center, switching back to her role as a strategic communication consultant in the Division of Student Affairs.

“I feel like teaching is just a natural extension of what I do here and who I am,” Roe said.

Roe is one of several Student Affairs professionals who also serve as instructors at Mizzou. She started teaching Journalism 1200 in the fall of 2019, in addition to her full-time job.

“It’s kind of nice to pass along some of the tips and tricks and different things that I have learned in my lifetime,” Roe said.

Meeting the requirements of teaching while working a full-time job sometimes means sacrificing personal time. Roe usually works longer hours on the days she teaches and spends her evenings and weekends grading and preparing for class.

It’s a similar situation for Sam O’Keefe, a Student Affairs photographer who also teaches Journalism 1200.

Sam O’Keefe and his cat Bill Murray grade J1200 assignments
Sam O’Keefe and his cat Bill Murray grade J1200 assignments while working from home Dec. 10, 2020. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

“There are certain projects that take me a little longer to grade than others, so I’ll take a day off from Student Affairs and use a vacation day just to sit at home and get some grading done,” O’Keefe said. “That way they can get the feedback they need before they go on to the next project.”

O’Keefe said his experience teaching informs his work in Student Affairs. “The more I work with young people and have to explain my approach and how I do things, the more I learn about myself,” he said.

“I’m growing with them and trying to learn those different areas as well,” O’Keefe said. “That’s been a big key for me, feeling motivated and curious and hungry about wanting to develop that side of my professional career.”

Jayme Gardner, coordinator for leadership development in Student Affairs, also teaches the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, in which students can develop their leadership skills. She shares O’Keefe’s feelings.

“Teaching makes me a better professional,” Gardner said. “It helps me to really think through concepts and how students really understand the things that I’m trying to teach them and what they really think.”