'Favorite Professor' series begins
Award-winning McHam first guest


David McHam gave a quick "yes" when invited to inaugurate the Favorite Professor Series within the School of Communications at Elon.

Dean Paul Parsons conceived the series and invited his own favorite professor from his undergraduate days at Baylor University in Texas.

McHam taught journalism for many years at Baylor before moving to Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and now the University of Houston.

McHam talked about writing, editing and the importance of language to four classes on March 13-14, led a discussion about free speech related to war protests in a senior class, and discussed good teaching at a luncheon for School of Communications faculty.

"When I started teaching, I didn't have any idea what it was all about," he said. He talked about finding a mentor who helped him improve his approach, and he shared some general advice for working in a classroom, including the points:

1) Always be upbeat.

2) Always go in with a smile.

3) Never talk anyone down in class. If you have criticism for an individual, take care of it on an individual basis.

"The definition of an expert is someone who came from a long way off," he said with a grin, "and I come from a long, long way off. Let me tell you, a lot of young teachers try to do it all on their own, and it's a mistake. You need to exchange information. Mentors are important … being a mentor is a great experience."

McHam was the recipient of the 1994 outstanding teacher award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a 2001 President's Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dean Parsons intends to ask two or three School of Communications faculty members each year to select their own favorite professor and invite that person to be a guest at Elon.

"It will take a decade for all of us to invite our favorite professor to campus," Parsons said. "But our newer faculty are young, so they’ll just have to wait their turn!"



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Last Modified:  3/18/03
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