Communications prof Alan Lerstrom featured in communication association magazine

Sept. 8, 2009

Alan Lerstrom, Ph.D., Luther College associate professor of communication studies, was featured in the “Profiles of Practice” section of the August 2009 edition of SPECTRA, the monthly newsletter of the National Communication Association. The feature article highlighted Lerstrom’s career achievements during his 20 years of teaching and advising students at Luther College.

In the SPECTRA article, Lerstrom stated that teaching at the college level can be challenging, but he finds great satisfaction working both in and outside the classroom with his students.  He said the personal interaction with students makes the time and talent investment of teaching most worthwhile to him.

In addition to the classroom duties, the SPECTRA feature notes, Lerstrom enjoys his work as an academic advisor for about 15 students each year. He also believes in the academic value of teaching in non-traditional settings. During each Luther College January-term, he takes a select group of students to the Canary Islands for a non-verbal communications course. 

He said this time away from the norm of campus life allows him to further learn about his students in an environment outside of the classroom and office.

 “My favorite part of the job is the opportunity to get to know students beyond the classroom,” Lerstrom told SPECTRA. “One of the reasons that I like to take students to the Canary Islands is the opportunity to get to know students in a more personal way when we’re overseas.”

He said that is also why he enjoys advising along with teaching.  Teaching allows him to work and teach the students in the classroom, while advising gives him an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with students and get to know them on a more personal level.

Lerstrom said he also enjoys meeting with prospective students and their families when they visit campus. Occasionally he offers sample classes during special campus visit days to give prospective students a chance to experience what a college class is like.

He said his years have been rewarding, both professionally and personally, because of the great experiences and interactions he has had with his students.