Eastern Illinois University Communication Studies graduate Miranda Stewart believes interpersonal communication is a vital skill for people to have both at work and at home.
Stewart is in her fourth year as a member of the faculty at the University of Kentucky. She teaches a variety of communication courses, but has a special interest in interpersonal communication.
“Everyone wants to know you can interact with other people,” said Stewart in explaining the importance of interpersonal communication. “I use interpersonal communication skills a lot in my personal life and my professional life.
“People also want to know you can do conflict management. There is going to be conflict everywhere. Conflict management skills are very marketable in a business setting.”
Stewart is a native of Greenup, Illinois who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Eastern in 2005, and her Master of Arts from E.I.U. in 2008. She taught at Monmouth College in Illinois for two years before starting at Kentucky in 2010.
At U.K., she teaches classes in persuasion, small group communication, and is designing a new family communication course. But her main focus is interpersonal communication.
“At U.K., interpersonal is integrated into every focus in our department because it’s so important. You’re interacting with people every day.”
Stewart got her first chance to teach while she was a graduate student at Eastern. She worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, assigned to teach public speaking classes at E.I.U. She credits that experience, plus her recommendations from Eastern, with helping her secure the job at Kentucky.
Stewart identifies E.I.U. Communication Studies Professor Dr. Shirley Bell as one of her primary mentors. “Shirley has helped me tremendously,” Stewart said. “I still use her notes at times in some of my classes today.”
“I really like teaching and interacting with students,” Stewart said. “I like being able to challenge them, but also help them succeed. My focus on interpersonal communication has helped me to navigate my classroom. I also do advising and I tell my students interpersonal classes teach practical skills that help inside and outside the classroom. Students tell me they use the material in interviews.”