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Behind the Desk: Stacey Irwin, Associate Communication & Theatre Professor

Zachary Staab
Assoc. News Editor

1. How long have you been teaching at Millersville University?
I started in 2004.
2. What classes do you teach at MU? And do you teach classes at other universities?
Before I arrived at Millersville I taught at Towson University. I do not teach anywhere but Millersville University now. This place keeps me busy! I teach a variety of courses in the Broadcasting option in the Department of Communication and Theatre and I also teach a Women’s Studies Perspectives class and a University 103 section. I especially enjoy teaching production classes—video editing, advanced television production, media writing, and web design. Content creation for web projects like Project Green Lancaster has also been a great opportunity to work side by side with students. Majors come out of these kinds of classes with a deeper understanding of the media industry and a broad range of new skills and portfolio pieces to share with perspective employers. I was also happy to be able to create a new course few years ago called Leadership & Media.
3. Where did you go to school?
BA, Salem College in West Virginia
MA, Emerson College, Boston Massachusetts
PhD, University of Maryland College Park

Dr. Irwin shows students the many parts of a video camera.
Dr. Irwin shows students the many parts of a video camera.

4. Why did you become a teacher?
I have thought about this quite a bit. I think I always enjoyed teaching from a young age. I taught swimming lessons and bible school as a kid, and then after I had been in the broadcast industry working for a little while, I had the opportunity to teach for one year. After that, I never looked back. After that one-year position at Towson University, I went on to get my doctorate in education so that I could really become educated on how to teach the depth and breadth of media theory and technology, to develop curriculum, and to assess student work. It has been a choice I have never regretted and I am starting my 20th year of teaching.
5. Have you always wanted to be a teacher?
No. It really grew from a love of media and television production, visual storytelling, writing, and enjoying new technologies. I also loved every bit of my college experience. I had great internships and I was a DJ and editor of my college newspaper for two years. I also helped found the college TV station and that got off the ground the year after I graduated. I looked back on those years very fondly, so this career choice holds a special place in my heart. When I had that chance to teach in a university environment I loved it and knew I had found my passion.
6. What do you like most about being a teacher at MU?
When I applied to Millersville University, I was already living in Lancaster but I was commuting to Baltimore every day to teach at Towson University. I thought I would stay there forever. I really thought the opportunity to teach at a university back in my hometown was too good to be true and then it happened when I accepted the position in Millersville. I enjoy the students in my classes, my colleagues, and the campus is really a beautiful place to be. There is an energy here that I don’t find on many other college campuses.
7. What are your hobbies or special interests?
My family (my husband and three children) is my special interest for sure. Whatever they are into, I am interested in. I am also passionate about local sustainability and have served on the board of directors for the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Networks for several years. I have been a Girl Scout for almost my whole life and have been a troop leader for seven years. This keeps me camping and trying new things and doing community service. I am also working on a documentary about dyslexia. The website is located at http://dyslexiastories.com/
9. What teaching techniques do you utilize in the classroom?
I really appreciate active learning because this is the way I learn. I cannot always integrate class activities into every class session but I think that students who are specifically doing group work or creating media or writing or learning software or practicing their media craft in class benefit from the in-class practice. Then if students have questions, I can address them. If I do not actually do a lighting demonstration in my class, I cannot expect students to know how to open up the light kit and create a well-planned lighting scenario when they are producing their documentaries in advanced television production.
10. Is there any advice or knowledge you would like to bestow upon the MU students?
I heard this great quote once: “Your college years are not the best years of your life. They are the years to “set up” the best years of your life. I certainly think that this was true in my experience and I hope students leave Millersville ready to light the world on fire.