Shine the Light is a series of interviews conducted by L&C's Science of Happiness class spotlighting faculty and staff members who make a difference in our community and the world.
Name: Elizabeth Grant
Degree: Master of Arts in Speech Communication
Years at L&C: 13
Role: Professor, Speech
What brought you to L&C
Q: When you were young, what did you dream of becoming?& Why?
A: I loved making my own greeting cards and wanted to work for Hallmark so that I could bring non-occasion greeting card sending to others.
Q: What did you do before starting at Lewis and Clark?
A: I was in sales, a food broker, taught full time at SIUE and was the Undergraduate Director of Speech, advising and teaching four classes each semester.
Q: What brought you to campus?
A: I heard about it from someone applying. My second son was in kindergarten, and I was full time at SIUE, but not tenured. While at SIUE, I was not able to do anything but teach. I wanted other opportunities, and I also wanted to work somewhere else while he was in kindergarten.
Your work at L&C
Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Lewis and Clark?
A: I love my students, teaching, and the campus. It is a beautiful place. I also love the resilience and courage of my students.
Q: How does your work connect with your beliefs about the world?
A: I believe that everyone has a voice and a responsibility to use it for good. I believe that by building students’ confidence, they can change the world. I give them opportunities through creating a fun and interactive class climate to take risks at the podium and thrive.
Q: What do you expect from students?
A: I expect honesty. If you are not prepped for a speech, tell me. Attendance is also very important to me. If you just stop showing up, I cannot do anything. You do not even let me say that I can work with you. I want to be fair, but fair is not equal. I know to some people it looks like I let people do a speech late, but I just want you to get the experience of a speech class.
Q: What do you love about the students?
A: I really like students who have fun in class. My class is a contract you have to try. I start out by asking who wants to be here and who HAS to be. I try to win over those who weren’t there by choice. My goal is not to get people ready for the speaking circuit but to give them the tools to speak up for themselves. I also enjoy their willingness to share deeply. They do not hold back. We start each class with opening speeches, and I usually have a box of Kleenexes next to me for preparation. I have been amazed at the depth of their disclosure.
Q: What surprised you most about being a professor?
A: The value of what we do. Community colleges are so good for the community. You’re providing life-changing work for a whole community.
Shining a Light
Q: What outside or on-campus activities do you do that helps people stay connected and positive? How do you contribute to making this world a better place? Why do you think that that is important?
A: One thing that is currently taking a lot of my time is serving as the president of the Edwardsville YMCA board. We have over 17,000 members and we serve all of their wellness needs. We have made difficult decisions about programming, closures and are currently doing a search for a new leader. I also serve as a “driving angel” for Faith in Action, a group that desires to keep people in their homes as long as possible by providing rides. I have done the shopping for a shut-in every week during the pandemic. I also take her to work out at the Y. I feel that we need to connect at the personal level with those in need.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I’m passionate about everything: Spirituality, my family, keeping close with my family and my dog. I am a part of 100 Women Who Care, and we vote on the best charity to give to out of three. I am always so passionate about all three! Overall though, having a good time is what I’m most passionate about.
Q: How does that affect your work/how do you connect to your work?
A: I do not disallow any topic. Not allowing someone to talk about a certain topic is bologna. We will talk about anything you’re passionate about. If it makes you uncomfortable, you may leave and then come back. You can talk about anything you want.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?
A: I have a mentor at work, Margie Sinclair-Parish. She is retiring soon, and she is so positive with everyone. I would also say, Renee Brown.
Q: What is your advice for students? What words of wisdom would you like to share (yours or others)?
A: LIVE EVERY DAY. I think we all understand vulnerability a bit more since COVID-19. There is an urgency to make the world better, and we need to take personal responsibility for our own self-care and the care of others.
This interview, by Andrew Beck, is a part of our “Shine the Light” series, brought to you by L&C’s Science of Happiness class. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.