Dr. Carol Johnson–Gerendas says guest speakers are extremely beneficial for her classes.
“I select speakers that can support or inform internship or career possibilities for students,” Johnson–Gerendas, an associate professor of mass communication, wrote in an email.
This semester she invited Deborah Ferguson, NBC channel 5 anchor, to speak to her Communication and Rhetoric class; Ferguson offered a few pieces of aspiring advice for students.
“It’s an honor to get to talk to aspiring students,” Ferguson said. “Even though I talk in front of everyone on screen, I still get nervous.”
According to Texas Wesleyan policy, there are no guidelines a guest speaker must follow or necessary requirements they must have.
For some Wesleyan professors, guest speakers often offer a new perspective and important specific subjects that are often omitted from regular class.
According to weatherhead.case.edu, a Case Western Reserve University study of college students showed that there are three types of learning behaviors students omit: Sensate, visual, and active. Active learners are students who prefer discussion. Inviting guest speakers in class can actively engage these students to help them better understand the material.
Johnson-Gerendas wrote that Ferguson’s appearance was beneficial to her students.
“She offered to host students at the station in the near future, to let them sit in on editing sessions, to tour the facility, and to watch the 11 a.m. newscast in the studio,” wrote Johnson– Gerendas. “She is a very generous speaker.”
Eugene J. Frier, assistant dean of students for student engagement, believes a guest speaker can be beneficial for students in multiple ways.
“Guest speakers are most effective when they engage with the class, relate and connect to the students, and provide not only relevant information, but break it down in a meaningful way to students,” Frier wrote in an email.
According to teachingonpurpose.org, a student tends to be more interested in participating in class when there is a topic he or she would like to know more about. Guest speakers can also impact professors as well as students, in the most beneficial way possible, they improve their knowledge.
Aside from benefiting from the knowledge and opinions guest speakers bring to classrooms, often times guest speakers present opportunities for students and in past years, Texas Wesleyan student have been offered incredibly internship and job opportunities from guest speakers.
“In a previous year, one mass communication student got an internship opportunity at Cooks Children’s Hospital in public relations from a VP in the PR department who visited our class,” wrote Johnson–Gerendas.