Jennifer Burt, a professional in residence at Southern Utah University, never pictured herself as a professor. In fact, the very idea of speaking in front of a room full of people multiple times a day used to terrify her. After an opportunity to teach in grad school, however, Jen found that she enjoyed teaching much more than she ever could have imagined.
After finishing her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Utah and her master’s from Bowling Green State University, Jen decided that she wanted to do and not just teach what she had been learning. She became the Communications Director at SUU and worked in that position for 8 years before receiving another opportunity to teach. Jen became a full-time faculty in 2015 and has been loving it.
“Teaching pushes me out of my comfort zone every time I step in front of the class,” said Jen. “You have no idea what questions will be asked on any given day, and I like the way that forces me to continue learning at a much faster pace than I otherwise might.”
Jen teaches the following classes:
- COMM 1130 Writing for Communication
- COMM 3020 Communication Research
- COMM 3950 Strategic Communication Writing
- COMM 4240 Technical Writing
- COMM 4890 Internship in Communication
- COMM 4950 Public Relations Campaigns
- COMM 6210 Strategic Communication Practices
Jen’s primary focus as a professor is to prepare her students for the work force so they feel qualified and confident right out of college.
“I remember what it felt like to be a new professional, fresh out of college with a degree that said I was qualified but with this worry in the back of my mind that maybe I didn’t know enough. I want students to confidently talk the talk and walk the walk, so I try to create class activities and assignments that mimic the work they will be doing and—to what extent I can—expose them to the professional environment they will one day be joining,” said Jen.
A few of her many cherished experiences while at SUU include flying high above campus and through Cedar Canyon in a helicopter, throwing paper airplanes off the top of the belltower, and doing the hokey pokey with Thor.
As an individual that has experienced incredible growth from pushing herself out of her comfort zone, Jen leaves her students with this advice, “Try something new. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone; once you adjust, you will find that you are and can do so much more than you may think.”
Learn more about SUU’s Communication Program.