Holly Williams

Holly Williams

Holly Williams

Adjunct Faculty

“There is a voice inside of you

That whispers all day long,

’I feel this is right for me,

I know that this is wrong.’

No teacher, preacher, parent, friend

Or wise man can decide

What’s right for you – just listen to

The voice that speaks inside.”

- Shel Silverstein, “The Voice”

Poetry has always been a big part of my life and this poem by Shel Silverstein truly captures my teaching philosophy. I want to help students find what speaks to them, whether it is academia, visual and performing arts, technical skills, or other career-based interests. As a first-year college student, I knew what I enjoyed studying, but never knew how to combine those interests with the professional, working world. With each passing year of my undergraduate career, I was able to pair more of my interests with the professional world and discovered that education is where I thrive.

Upon entering graduate school and starting my journey as a graduate teaching assistant, I reflected on a few of the more meaningful undergraduate experiences. During my undergraduate career, I grew as a writer and began taking performance studies classes, which furthered my understanding of how communication-based theories can align with real-life experiences. Additionally, I was introduced to the value of a healthy classroom environment, which must be established in order for students to feel safe and respected by both their peers and professor. The field of communication studies requires students to reflect on their own identities, cultures, and interpersonal relationships. These concepts can spark emotional conversations that challenge students' vulnerability.

As an instructor, I dedicate a good portion of class time during the first week of the semester to practicing trust and community building exercises that continue throughout the course, such as a mix of private and shared journaling, creating self-concept diagrams, and anonymous online polls focused on intercultural communication competence. Though verbal communication is foundational to interpersonal growth, students must also feel comfortable in the classroom space itself before truly forming a bond with their peers and instructor. I enjoy incorporating a variety of nonverbal communication-based activities in my courses that require students to move about the room to work with others, navigate space at the front of the room while presenting both formal and informal speeches, and engage in sensory challenges that allow them to explore the impact of internal and external noise in conversation. In virtual courses, I challenge students to also navigate the physical space around them, while stressing the importance of practicing eye contact and examining paralanguage techniques.

Perhaps most importantly, I acknowledge that teaching and learning are both a lifelong process. My students, colleagues, and community teach me new strategies, ideas, and philosophies, but it is up to me to incorporate this newfound knowledge into my curriculum; After all, as Silverstein mentions above, no one can decide what is right for us except for the voice that speaks inside. My goal as an instructor is to provide my students with the same amount of enlightenment, motivation, and enthusiasm that I absorb from the world around me in hopes that they, too, will find the voice that speaks inside.


Master of Arts in Communication Studies

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies; minor in Media Studies

University of North Carolina at Greensboro