I had Professor Perreault for an 8 a.m. Crisis Communication course at Appalachian State University. The class lectures were based on out of class readings from the book Crisis Communications: A Casebook Approach and Prof. Perreault’s power points, which related to the assigned readings. The information on the power points were not always exclusive to reading material; often Prof. Perreault would add external information not covered by the readings, helping the information in the lectures to be fresh and non-repetitive. Prof. Perreault very much encouraged participation in her lectures. It is often difficult for a professor to generate regular class discourse during an 8 am class; however, the class regularly participated and shared their thoughts and opinions on the course material. I think the main reason for this class participation was Prof. Perreault’s consistency in giving genuine feedback to the students. If a student gave a good argument or comment, she would make sure to let the student know that their point was appreciated and taken seriously. If a student’s argument was underdeveloped, she would point the student in the right direction. Many professors do not encourage class discourse, and even those that do often do not seem to seriously value the thoughts of the class, which discourages discourse. When a lecture is one way, the classes become stale and boring, which causes students to learn less. Prof. Perreault did a fantastic job of keeping students engaged and participating. This played a direct role in my learning experience for the class, knowing that my thoughts on the subject were noted, taken seriously, and appreciated.
Efficiency and consistency were a must in Professor Perreault’s class. There were often multiple assignments a week and many big projects throughout the course. Prof. Perreault maintained strict deadlines for the assignments, gave them well in advance in order for the students to have plenty of time to finish, and accepted no excuses for failing to turn them in on time. Prof. Perreault also required a graded journal to be turned in biweekly, in which the students would write down what they have learned and give their thoughts on the current material and what they liked or disliked about it. The journals were a great way for me to stay up to date with the course material and encouraged me to really think about what I have learned. Journals have a way of showing a student if they really understand the course material, since they require one to actually articulate what they know or think they know. We were also assigned groups by Prof. Perreault at the beginning of the semester based on desired employment and interests. We were required to stay in these groups all semester, which helped create closely knit teams that know and understand each other, leading to more efficient work. The most helpful group project for me was the case study project, where we picked a recent real life example of a crisis and researched the root causes of the crisis, the communication of the crisis to the public, and whether or not the crisis was effectively handled. This required critical thinking and team work, since the information on these crises was vast and could not be handled by a single person alone. After our presentations, we were subject to questions by the students in a press conference format. This required us to truly know and understand our case study, since we could be asked any question on the spot.
Professor Perreault is a very effective instructor. She is always willing to answer questions in class and to meet with the students outside of class if they need help. She is very approachable and encourages us to bring any questions we may have to her. Prof. Perreault is one of the most personable but professional professors I have had at Appalachian State; her consistent assignments and readings, along with very effective teaching methods, made an 8 a.m. Crisis Communication class a positive learning experience for my classmates and me.