Educator Spotlight: Jennifer Lundberg Anders, WSCC communications professor.

December 19, 2021

Educator Spotlight: Jennifer Lundberg Anders, WSCC communications professor.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, Staff Writer.

Educator Spotlight is a presentation of is a presentation of Smith & Eddy Insurance, with offices in Scottville and Manistee, offering discounts for MEA members and school employees.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP – With almost two decades of teaching, West Shore Community College’s, Jennifer Lundberg Anders is a communications professor and she has the verbal and non-verbal skills to back it up.

A graduate of Mason County Central High School, Lundberg-Anders then went on to college to study communications and political science at University of Detroit. After graduation she attended Marquette University, receiving a master’s degree in communication and rhetorical studies.

“I began teaching as a graduate student at Marquette University in Milwaukee,” she said. “Upon graduation, I was hired to teach full-time at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. After teaching there for a few years, my husband and I decided to start our family, so I left teaching to stay home and raise our sons. Once our youngest son began kindergarten, I started teaching at WSCC and have been at WSCC since January of 2009. Education has been the primary focus of my professional life.”

Someone during her time at University of Detroit she already knew she would do well teaching in higher education.

“My undergraduate advisor, who was also a mentor, encouraged me to consider a career in teaching at the college level,” she said. “Before that, I had never considered a life as an educator. Once I started teaching as a graduate teacher assistant, I was hooked.”

In her 11th year teaching at WSCC, one thing still remains the same as it was the first day Lundberg-Anders stepped into the classroom.

“Hands down, my favorite things about working in education are working with students and the continuation of my own learning as a professor,” she said. “I have students returning to college, trying to balance family, work, and academics. These students have rich life experiences that add depth to my courses. I also have students who are at the beginning of their college experiences, either as dual-enrolled students or traditional college students, and they are working through what they want to study and be in life. As a college instructor, specifically a community college instructor, I am able to share these educational experiences with them.”

In her classroom, topics surrounding what social norms look like in present day compared to years past often come up and Lundberg-Anders likes to explore these new social practices with students, but also stated that there is still a great deal of unknowns when it comes to personal interactions in an ever-changing society.

“Researchers representing a range of social science disciplines (psychology, sociology, communication) all note that despite having more ways to connect with one another than any other time in history, people generally report feeling more separate and isolated from others. In my courses, Introduction to Communication, Principles of Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Small Group Communication, we examine this new ‘norm’ and develop communication skills to connect and create understanding.”

There is no doubt that Lundberg-Anders learned a lot during her time at university and she enjoys sharing those experiences and the knowledge she gain there as well. She stated that she encourages students to look further into the education field, if they have a true passion for it, but she also encourages them to get their feet wet while still in college to make sure it’s the right fit.

“If a student is interested in teaching at the college level, I encourage them to apply for teaching assistantships during their graduate studies,” she said. “These positions are competitive but offer significant benefits like free or reduced educational costs, additional payment, and experience. Additionally, working as a graduate teacher’s assistant will give them an understanding of some of their responsibilities as a college-level instructor. For example, Marquette University is a private university, but because I was awarded a full teaching assistantship, my graduate education was paid for in full, I earned a monthly stipend that paid for my living expenses, and I gained invaluable teaching experience. This teaching experience was significant when it came to attaining my positions at UW-W and WSCC.”

When looking at the “real world,” Lundberg-Anders stated that having appropriate communications skills are still some of the most important when looking for any type of employment.

“Strong communication skills continue to rank among the most critical abilities an employee can bring to any profession,” she said. “My courses focus on the skills students need. I teach classes that have a real, immediate, and lasting impact on students’ academic, personal, and professional success.”

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