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Jodi Hallsten

This week’s Her Campus Celebrity is ISU’s School of Communication teacher, Jodi Hallsten. Check out our Q&A with Jodi and see what she has to talk about besides Communication Theories and Mass Media! 

Her Campus ISU: When did you start teaching, and when did you come to ISU?

Jodi Hallsten: I started teaching as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Grad School at the University of North Dakota in 1997.  I came to ISU in 1999.


HC ISU: What classes do you teach?

JH: I teach Com 111 – Intro to Communication Theories and Com 160 – Intro to Mass Media.


HC ISU: What college(s) did you go to, and what did you study there?

JH: BA: University of Minnesota Duluth (1997) – Major: Communication / Minor: Journalism MA: University of North Dakota (1999) – Major: Communication / Certificate: College Teaching PhD: Illinois State University (2014) – Higher Ed Administration


HC ISU: What are some of the best about being a college teacher? The worst?

JH: I absolutely love my job because I get so much energy from the students. I can be having a horrible day but when I walk into the classroom it’s like it all disappears. It’s cathartic and I will leave feeling a million times better. There are so many great kids – I love getting to know them.The worst thing is dealing with the notion of entitlement, which is kind of like an affliction from which a large number of students these days seem to suffer. It can be both frustrating and demotivating.


HC ISU: Is there anything you feel that you struggle with as a teacher? Howdo you overcome this?

JH: I struggle with teaching only lecture halls because I don’t have the opportunity to interact with all of the best students; they don’t need me so they never come and see me.  I spend my office hours managing student problems or deflecting their anger about tests and assignments because those are the students who need me in a lecture hall. After several years, that can become very disheartening.  I’ve learned to refocus and realize that while my primary job is to teach content, my secondary job is to teach freshmen and sophomores how to be college students and what college-level expectations are.

HC ISU: Why do you believe you are so well known on campus? (Jodi Hallsten is one of the top 10 most rated professors for ISU on ratemyprofessors.com, which is a pretty good look at how many people know you at ISU)

JH: The School of Communication contains the largest amount of majors on campus – we have 800 majors. Every one of those kids is required to take my class before they can get through the major. So, in total, I have about 300-400 students a year in just my Intro toTheories class.  Then, I have another 300 each year in my Mass Communication class (though probably half of those are majors) – so that’s like 150 additional non-majors who experience my teaching as well. That’s a lot of people that move through my classroom; by default it makes me well known.


HC ISU:  How would you rate YOURSELF on Rate My Professor? (1-5, 1 being worst, 5 being best) JH: A. Helpfulness – probably a 4 or 5 B. Clarity – probably a 5 C. Easiness – definitely a 2 D. General Comments – I know there’s always a gap between what you think you are and what you really are. I think that I am: entertaining, engaging, passionate, energetic, informed, informative, challenging, and kind. I’d like to think I have a knack for picking content that resonates with students, but I don’t know if what I think actually connects with them. I’m not so hip or cool anymore, so I’m not terribly in touch with current popular culture. Maybe the students are just being nice and really, what I bring to them is terribly lame at the end of the day. :)


HC ISU:  If you could teach any other class at ISU, what would that class be and why?

JH: This question is way too hard to answer. I honestly can’t answer it. I don’t know. I really don’t know.


HC ISU: What is your best advice for college students?

JH: I have two pieces of advice. Be here to LEARN, not simply get a degree. Also, don’t be afraid of hard work; it’s incredibly rewarding and the outcomes are unbeatable.


HC ISU: What was your first job after graduating college?

JH: This. 


HC ISU: What do you like to do in your spare time?

JH: I love to travel and I’m fairly adventurous. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends; we have so much fun together. I love to swim and hang out at the lake in the summer. Additionally, I always have some kind of home improvement project going on, whether it’s big or small. I really enjoy that kind of thing.


HC ISU: What are you most passionate about, teaching aside?

JH: Travel. Really – I can’t get enough of it; truthfully, it’s because I love to learn and meet new people. When I’m 90, I want to look back and say, “Remember that time…?” That’s what life is all about. I’m trying to collect as many stories as I can. I don’t have kids, so I know that when I’m really, really old, stories will be all I have



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Rebecca Davis

Illinois State

New writer for HerCampus at Illinois State University
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