Faculty Feature: Mathis Cannot Imagine Doing Anything Else

by Jennifer Shaskan

Faculty Feature: Mathis Cannot Imagine Doing Anything Else

Sara Mathis is an Assistant Professor and the Basic Course Coordinator for the Department of Communication. In these roles she is responsible for not only teaching students but training and supervising instructors for COMM 101: Fundamentals of Communication. Mathis loves her job so much, she claims she cannot imagine doing anything else.

Mathis’s area of interest is communication education but, it wasn’t always that way. While she always had an interest in communication, it was her family needs at the time that led her to education and instruction. To help support her family, Mathis took on a job teaching high school which opened her eyes to the existing racism, sexism, and chauvinism existing between administration, teachers, and students. It was through this initial experience that Mathis gained the desire to better the education system and improve those areas through communication instruction. Mathis stated, “Because communication is such a broad umbrella, you can bring in gender, critical cultural studies, critical race theory into the classroom with teachers and students to make sense of what’s going on and hopefully build better models for the future.” This has translated into her efforts as a researcher, an instructor, and basic course coordinator.

In her role as Basic Course Coordinator her fundamental goal is to “prepare the COMM 101 instructors to become impactful teachers in the classroom.” With this goal in mind, Mathis aims to have the instructors develop their own style of teaching, learn how to run a classroom, practice effective communication with students, and have instructors be as prepared as possible for whichever situations may arise before they even step foot in the classroom. Additionally, Mathis serves as a source of support and guidance for instructors throughout the semesters when they face the unexpected or need to create a different path separate from teaching.

For recent graduates on the job hunt, Mathis advises that they “be very patient, take good care of yourself, and keep knocking on doors.”