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MC grad Kyle Christensen returns to take up teaching position

October 21, 2011

Kyle Christensen graduated in 2009. Despite that, he spends every day in class at Monmouth.

Christensen, who graduated from Monmouth with a degree in communication studies, went on to earn his master’s degree in communication studies with a graduate certificate in women’s studies from Northern Illinois University. After finishing his master’s in August, he was hired as a lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies where he teaches Fundamentals of Communications (COMM 101).

“It’s like learning the culture of Monmouth from the outside,” Christensen said.

While Christensen was in the final stages of finishing his master’s program, Lee McGaan, professor and departmental chair of communication studies, called Christensen about two job openings at the college: the instructor position and a position as the director of the speech forensics team. He submitted an application and was interviewed a few weeks later before getting a call offering him the position in the summer.

“It was kind of crazy,” said Christensen. “At the time, I had completed all of my courses, but I was still writing my thesis. I was still technically a graduate student while I was interviewing for the job.”

Despite receiving his job before finishing the degree necessary for it, Christensen said that Monmouth knew and accepted that he was still in the process of earning his master’s.

“That’s not an uncommon practice to get people when they’re finishing up their thesis and dissertation, he said.

Since completing his thesis, he has also had his first scholarly article published. “The Final Girl versus Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street: Proposing a Stronger Model of Feminism in Slasher Horror Cinema,” was recently published in the Fall 2011 edition of the “Studies in Popular Culture” journal.

Despite coming back to his alma mater, being in a different role at Monmouth has contributed to some awkward interactions with some people.

“I still want to call people professor,” said Christensen. “That’s definitely been a strange adjustment.”

As a lecturer, Christensen relates to his students. He told them on his first day that he had completed his undergraduate degree at Monmouth only a few years ago. This, he believes, helps him connect with his students.

“Everything they’re doing was something I did in my career as a college student” he said, admitting he knows what students are going through since the COMM 101 classes are organized the same way as when he took one six years ago and that he knows they can get through them since he did.

At the same time, Christensen has been reacting to some of the changes that have happened on campus since he left. For example, during Christensen’s time, The Courier, was only occasionally printed with a color front page up until his senior year at Monmouth. Currently, the front is consistently in color.

“You just need to reemerge yourself in the culture of Monmouth,” he reiterated.

While he was a student here, Christensen served as The Courier’s Features, News and Copy/Layout Editors during his sophomore, junior and senior years, respectively. During his senior year, he also served as the station manager for WMCR. He was also a founding father of Phi Delta Theta and worked as a speech tutor, a position that foreshadowed being a teacher’s assistant at Northern and eventually a lecturer at Monmouth.

Because of these activities, he still feels connected with some of the current student body. The current seniors were freshmen during Christensen’s senior year, so many faces are familiar.

“It’s nice to know that people know you’re here,” said Christensen. “My hope is that by this time next year, I’ll have students from my 101 classes stopping by or even becoming communications majors.”

Andrew Drea
Editor-in-Chief

 

Correction: In an earlier edition of this article, the academic journal Christensen’s piece was published in was incorrectly titled “Journal of Popular Culture.” It has been changed to “Studies in Popular Culture.”

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