Monday, November 5, 2018

Meet Our Faculty: Sarah Billington

Sarah Billington

Assistant Professor
Communication Studies
School of: Arts, Communication, and Media
What she teaches:
Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Intercultural Communication

Number of years teaching at SLCC:
7.5 years

Texas Wesleyan University

Stephen F. Austin State University
Why working at SLCC matters:
It matters because I get to help students succeed that may not have had a chance otherwise. I was once a student that struggled academically, college/school didn’t come easy to me, but I worked really hard to get to where I am. I have learned and believe that anyone can achieve what they set out to achieve with motivation and hard work; you don’t have to be a “genius” you just have to be willing to put in the work.

Greatest professional challenges:
Different aspects of classroom management have been a real challenge for me. Trying to figure out what works well for me, and more importantly what works well for my students. I like to create an atmosphere of collaboration with my students. I tell them their voices matter, because they do to me. I take their comments seriously and develop my management solutions based off of their commentary. However, each semester, I encounter the same classroom management issues with students. For example, students not showing up for speech day, or not showing up for class, or not completing all of their work for the course, or wanting to submit several assignments late. At the beginning of every semester I have high hopes for the new ideas or the way I have set up the class, and I think this semester is going to be the one where every student is highly engaged and late work will not be an issue and students will show up. Unfortunately, at the end of the semester I find myself going back to the metaphorical drawing board and trying to figure out what I can do to adapt, to change to the needs of our students while also preserving my own high expectations for students in the classroom and online.

Greatest professional accomplishments:
I would say I have several simple accomplishments: Hired on to work at SLCC (adjunct faculty and then full-time tenure-track faculty). The co-creator and the continued director and promoter of the Presentation Skills Lab. The chair of the Student Speakers’ Showcase Committee, being able to be funded by ACE and having several of my students each semester be one of the top six students speaker for the showcase. The course coordinator and creator of new course materials for Communication 1020 - Principles of Public Speaking. When students have come to me and told me how I was able to impact their education or career in a positive way. And, sometimes just knowing that students really did learn a lot in one of my courses.

Advice for students or others:
While where you start out in life matters and influences you greatly, it’s much more about where you end up and the journey life takes you on to get you there.

Future plans:
One of the biggest and ongoing in terms of my professional life would be to continue to develop myself as a teacher and learner. I would like to continue to collaborate with other faculty, staff, students and administrators to encourage effective public speaking skills across the college. One way I have begun to do this is through the Presentation Skills Lab, but I am also looking to expand and grow the lab.

The husband – the creative, who does graphic design for a living.
The 16-month-old toddler- the destroyer and energy of the family.
The dog – a Pitbull-Lab mix, the trickster and most well-behaved of us all.
Me - the teacher and the voice of reason.

I am a big fan of hobbies. Some of my favorite activities are: taking walks, going new places to shop or do and see - anything new, go shopping and out to eat with family and friends, work on home-improvement projects, meet up with friends and invite people over to the house to socialize, traveling, volleyball every week, snowboarding, tennis, cycling, swimming, yoga, hiking and taking classes at the local recreation center.