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Faculty (Adjunct) 1980-1982
Fulltime Faculty 1982-Present (31 years)
My husband and I moved to Orange County from Oklahoma so that he could begin his teaching career. I was married at 17 and had never attended college. When my youngest child started school I enrolled at Fullerton College (then FJC) as it was close to our home and I had promised my father that if he would let me get married at 17, I would attend college.
Since I was married, I did not participate in any of the extracurricular activities with the exception of the Speech Forensics program.
I found the school very welcoming and the faculty supportive of me as a "re-entry" student. I was a business major and was very impressed with the faculty across all departments. Although Speech was a required course, I really did not want to take it since I had debated throughout high school and I felt it was not necessary. However, when I realized I really did have to take it to get my AA in Business, I reluctantly enrolled in Public Speaking, then called Speech 1A. Gene Courtier was my instructor and strongly encouraged me to compete in various tournaments. Noel Gilbert agreed to work with me and became my Speech coach, spending hours of his personal time helping to make me successful as a competitor. I competed for a year attending several tournaments and winning a Gold award at the National Speech Tournament in Sacramento.
I then transferred to CSUF in 1975 and obtained by BA in Business in 1977. Upon completion of my degree, I was offered a position as a Teaching assistant to a professor in the Business department and I realized then that teaching was what I really wanted to do. One of my professors at CSUF, Bob Emry, found out I was teaching in the Business department and encouraged me to go back and get my Master's degree in Com Studies, which I did, and I taught at CSUF as an adjunct both in Business and Speech.
When I finished my MA, Noel Gilbert was the Speech department chair and offered me a position as an adjunct at Fullerton College and I was subsequently hired full time in 1982.
My life changing experience at Fullerton was taking that beginning Speech course as I had so much encouragement and support from my instructors. When I realized how much I loved to teach, that became my goal but I never imagined that I would be hired back at the school that had done so much for me as a student.
I guess the thing I found fun was at that time, "streaking" was alive and well on campus. Many of us would gather on the bridge between the Humanities and Business buildings at noon on the designated days to watch them run by (I didn't want to get too close!). I was not surprised to find that it was only the guys who took pride in participating in this activity and really seemed to enjoy it, oh well, why not?
When I hired in, we were offering only two classes in Public Speaking. The first year I taught, I went to Dr. Portolan who was the Dean, and suggested we offer a class in Interpersonal Communication. She agreed and we offered one, with an enrollment of 12 students. Since that time, and with much effort of the entire Speech department faculty, we have grown from those two classes to adding not only Interpersonal Communication but Small Group, and Argumentation with Intercultural being added in the coming year. I was privileged to serve as the Department Coordinator for 18 years and it is hard for me to believe that I now have seniority over four of the most amazing faculty members I can imagine, all of whom share the same passion and interest in the students that was instrumental when I was a student here. I am convinced that the opportunity to teach is one of the most rewarding occupations a person can have.
As an instructor, the advice I give my students is to realize the importance of prioritizing and encourage them to make their education the most important thing they have do at this time in their lives. I try and explain to them that if they put social life on hold (of course they think I am kidding) and work hard now, they have the rest of their lives to enjoy the benefits of the resulting success.
My experience at Fullerton College completely changed my life, primarily due to the dedicated professors I had, all of whom took a personal interest in me. Their encouragement and support gave me the confidence to face the challenges of a re-entry student and not give up. Because of their impact on me, I knew I wanted to be able to do the same for other students as they start on the path of higher education.