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.
journalism for many years at Baylor before moving to Southern Methodist
University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and now the University
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
1) Always be
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
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.
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.
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!"