By Theresa San Luis, CAS Reporter:
Mass communications professor Suman Mishra, SIUE professor since 2009, has received the 2014-2015 Teaching Distinction Award. Dr. Mishra says she feels greatly honored to be recognized by her students and peers.
The committee selected her in recognition of her role as an outstanding mentor to graduate students in mass communications. Her award letter notes, “Part of your gift as a mentor is that you bring a global perspective to your students and you value each student’s unique point of view. In addition, you routinely involve graduate students in your own research and projects. You hold both undergraduate and graduate students to high standards in your classes, while your passion for teaching shines in the high level of interaction and support of students. You have been particularly active in updating the Mass Communications curriculum to reflect emerging trends and global perspectives, as well as creating and adapting new online courses.”
Mishra said she has been very fortunate to study, travel, and research in different countries and feels that the life experiences has enriched her classroom teaching.
“I often draw on my international experiences to teach students about diversity of people, cultures and ideas. Through assignments and activities, I challenge students to explore and go beyond their known world and think critically about issues,” Mishra said. She also appreciate that students also have a contribution to make. By bringing their unique experiences and sharing these experiences and different points of view help them learn from each other.
According to Mishra, she tailors goals for each of her different classes but overall wants students to develop an interest in the topic so that they can create a direct understanding of the subject for themselves. She recommends that this is the best way for students to take charge of their own education and become lifelong learners.
Travis Cox, a former student, recalls that Mishra encouraged him to take the initiative and start his own advertising business.
“And I have,” Cox said. “I’m launching in three weeks. She always told me that she saw the raw talent in me to do that and I never really registered it at the time because I didn’t believe in myself that I could do it. It wasn’t until a few years later that her words continuously echoed in my head that I should start my own business and I have. I already have five clients before I officially launch and it is going amazingly well.”
Cox, a new business owner of Red Pine Creative said he will always be grateful to her for that and she was always his favorite professor and mentor.
“I honestly don’t know if I would’ve done it if it wasn’t for her encouragement,” Cox said.
Mishra teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate classes in the area of marketing communication and international media. Courses include research methods, media law, transnational media, international advertising, and media campaigns.
Mishra said her research interest matches the classes she teaches.
“In my research, I have focused on issues of nationality, race, class and gender in the media,” Mishra said. “In addition to this, I have also examined eastern and western models of teaching and try to incorporate the strengths of each in my classes.
Before coming to SIUE, Mishra taught at Temple University in Philadelphia where she also earned her doctorate in Mass Media and Communication.