Showing a genuine concern for her students: Dr. Laura Russell

ZOE PEARCE — A great teacher truly effects a students experience in a class.

Dr. Laura Russell teaches communication and is one of the most warm and understanding teachers at Denison.

This is my first time taking a class with Dr. Russell and it has given me a refreshing outlook on learning and the connections made between students and teachers.

She passionately cares about her students and realizes that everyone has different things happening in their lives and is very flexible when it comes to illness and mental health days. The first day of class she told us that there was no absence policy, setting up a trusting dynamic.  

Connor Howe ‘20 a communication major, said about Dr. Russell, “Everyday Dr. Russell would ask us how we were, and not in a fake way, I really felt like she wanted to get to know us.”

Dr. Russell always brings a positive and humorous attitude to class which makes the environment lively, fun and stress-free.

It is nice to have a professor that will not penalize you for making a slight mistake. During my first couples weeks of this semester I was still adjusting to returning back from abroad and the workload on Denison’s campus. One day during class, I realized that I had forgotten to do a reflective writing assignment. I was beyond anxious that I would get in trouble and my grade would go down.

After class I went up to Dr. Russell and apologized profusely in which she responded “Oh do not worry! I understand that these things happen, just get it to me within the next couple of days!” My stressful situation was immediately alleviated and I was so appreciative of her calm way of handling the problem. In this moment, I realized the concern she has for her students academically as well as mentally.

Other instances where I have seen Dr. Russell show personal interest in her students is through the way in which she assigns course work. She usually gives us two readings at most and tries not to overwhelm her students. I really appreciate this method of teaching because sometimes students get drained by an overload of work that they will not fully comprehend what they are reading.

One week, Dr. Russell had a talk with our class about how stressful our week was. There was a consensus that everyone was drained by the amount of work they had and Dr. Russell told us that we would have a week off from reading to catch up. I found this to be so kind and selfless of her because she was thinking more about the needs of the students rather than pushing to cover all the necessary work.

Overall, Dr. Russell has showed me that it is so important to be able to interact with your teacher in a friendly way and that a student should not be afraid to express concerns to their teacher.

I originally was between this class and another communication class but could not decide which one to take. One of my friends expressed how much they loved their class last

semester with Dr. Russell and that ended up being the deciding factor for me.

I am so glad I made that choice, and it has shown me how meaningful a teacher can be to the entirety of the class.

Howe ended by saying, “Dr. Russell really loves what she does and is always there to help her students.” If you are considering taking a communication class next semester, I highly recommend taking one with Dr. Russell, she is truly an admirable teacher and person!

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