Communication Studies Professor Maureen Louis has been teaching at Cazenovia College for 24 years. In that time, Louis has taught courses such as Communication in the Mass Media, Advocacy and Public Communication, Speech and Rhetoric, Advanced Topics in Communication, and Debate.

Louis brings a wide range of experience with her to the classroom. She completed her undergraduate degree in communication media, as well as a Juris Doctor. Louis' professional career started at an advertising agency in Syracuse, New York. Following Law School she joined a Syracuse law firm, later serving as General Counsel to the Central New York SPCA. From that point, she continued practicing law and advising boards of trustees while teaching part-time at Cazenovia College.

"I began with a part-time teaching assignment at Cazenovia College teaching one section of Effective Speaking and another U.S. Government and Politics course," says Louis. "Those classes were really fun and I haven’t left since!"

What Teaching Means to Louis
"It was never my plan to become a professor," comments Louis. "I served as counselor to the college president for two years and during that time I continued teaching part-time. I felt myself drawn more and more to teaching, and so that's what made me decide to continue with that on a full-time basis."

When asked what her teaching philosophy was, Louis explains that she focuses on "meeting the students where they are at" and enjoys challenging them rigorously, but giving them the support they need to be successful. She shares that her classes are hard, but the learning outcomes and seeing the students succeed are what makes it all worth it.

"I think now, maybe more than ever, it's really important for us to pair a general liberal arts and sciences education with majors or professional areas of interest," says Louis.

Why Teaching at Cazenovia College is Special
Louis shares that she likes teaching at Cazenovia College because the faculty are given many opportunities to design interesting courses, and have the flexibility to change the curriculum to fit what the students are interested in studying. Louis adds, "You always have a chance to do a lot of creative projects. We have great opportunities to work with students, so that they can bring their work to academic conferences and engage in other types of special learning experiences. Cazenovia College is a great place for creative teaching!"

"Another great thing about working at Cazenovia College is the opportunity we have to get to know our students and learn about them over an arc of time," comments Louis. "We are able to understand their goals, what they are aiming to achieve in their careers, and ultimately help them get there."

Louis also enjoys the partnerships and friendships she has with other faculty members. She adds, "We all work together to help students, which is great!"

Cazenovia College provides students with unique learning experiences that are special and meaningful for students. "During their four years here, they don't have huge lecture classes, they aren't pawned off on teaching assistants, and they always know that they can have direct contact with their faculty," comments Louis.

Faculty also meet with students during office hours. "A combination of good advising, careful planning, and one-on-one contact with students is what makes Cazenovia College special," shares Louis.

Engaged and Motivated
"We have many professors who are crazy about teaching, and I would count myself as one of them. Keeping students engaged and motivated is directly related to my love of teaching," says Louis.

Louis explains teaching as fun. It's an opportunity to spend your professional work doing something positive. "Every day, we get to go into classrooms with interesting young people and do really great things. How can you not love that?"

Importance of Advising
At Cazenovia College, advising plays an important role in the learning process for students. Faculty help students in the planning process of choosing courses that are going to provide them a pathway towards the career and future that they want.

After graduating from Caz, many students continue on to graduate school and the career paths they take are unique to what they are interested in pursuing. Students work closely with their advisors to make sure they, as students, make the right choices that will get them where they want to be as professionals.

Ah-Ha Moments with Students
Louis reminisces about a moment early on in her career at Cazenovia College when she saw a disconnect between "young people and their ability to engage well in the public policy process." She shares, "It was really a mixed bag about the knowledge-level students brought and their comfort level in public policy. Even their interest in engaging as voters seemed low."

Engaging with students at that time about public policy was so important. Louis had the opportunity to teach her students and help them learn how they could have an impact on lawmaking, public policy, and even basic advocacy on issues they care about.

"That opportunity guided me to write an upper level advocacy and public communication course, where I feel confident that we’re graduating people that can really make a difference," comments Louis.

Message to Parents
When asked what parents should know about the experience students will have in her classroom, Louis says, as a professor, she wants to make students feel excited about learning. "It's not always going to be a party. Some of it is really hard, and it should be hard, but I would want every parent to know that we, as faculty, are committed to providing students with not only an interesting experience, but also good support."

Louis continues to add that as a parent herself, she'd want to know that her children will have faculty and staff who are going to care about them as individuals, as well as be mindful of both challenging them and supporting them.

"I think Cazenovia College does a really good job of preparing the whole person. I am very committed to that, and I love being a part of it!" comments Louis.

Learn more about Professor Maureen Louis through our Faculty Spotlight video.