Dr. Robert Jackson
Courses Taught: SPCM 101--Fundamentals of Speech, EDFN 475--Human Relations, SPCM 222--Argumentation and Debate
As a speech teacher Dr. Robert Jackson, still best-known to some around the DSU campus for his portrayal of Tevye in DSU's 2003 production of "Fiddler on the Roof", knows that good speaking and good writing go hand-in-hand. Just as an effective speech must be well-organized and show proper use of grammar and syntax, so must good writing.
Though he assigns speeches as opposed to papers in his speech classes, it goes without saying that good speeches must be written first. There is a great deal more writing in his Human Relations class, where students prepare a variety of reports and essays. With both papers and speeches, Dr. Jackson expects his students to catch his interest, introduce a topic, and be structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
Dr. Jackson also expects that students will proofread their work themselves, instead of simply trusting the computer. "Students seem to rely too much on the computer for spell checking, but a computer is not always reliable for that purpose," says Dr. Jackson. Though Dr. Jackson himself uses the spelling, grammar, and thesaurus tools for occasional assistance, he does not advocate total dependence on them. "[The computer] is not always going to understand what you are doing. Sometimes it will identify something that is written as a fragment, but it is not a fragment. Computers are not 100% infallible," warns Dr. Jackson.
Dr. Jackson primarily uses MLA citation in his classes. He understands the frustration that some students encounter when trying to cite sources. "We all need to do a better job of teaching how to cite electronic sources. That's hard because sources on the Internet need to do a better job of letting the reader know when that material is posted, and how often it's updated, that kind of thing," said Dr. Jackson.
For those who are beginning to think more seriously about their careers, Dr. Jackson says that professional organizations are enormously important. As a member of the National Communication Association, South Dakota Speech Communication Association, Board Directors of the South Dakota Speech Organization, South Dakota State Counseling Association, and American Counseling Association, he's clearly serious about that statement. To Dr. Jackson, these organizations offer the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the developments in his field. He comes away from conferences not only with expanded knowledge, but renewed enthusiasm for his field. "It is very important for students to know about state and national organizations, become members, and become active. It is a wonderful opportunity for professionals to stay active and go listen to presentations about topics that are of special interest to you," said Dr. Jackson.