Jan Connolly Recognized by Colleagues
By: Ellen Zamarripa

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Students often express a fear of public speaking when they enroll in Business Communications classes, but Senior Lecturer in the College of Business, Jan Connolly says she makes a strong effort to create a relaxed atmosphere in her classroom.

"I tell them that this is a safe environment," she said. "You're not going to get fired here because you make a mistake."

Connolly was nominated by one of her fellow educators to be distinguished in the CETL Recognize a Colleague Program which celebrates UW-Eau Claire educators that that impact student learning in creative and innovative ways.

Connolly has been teaching Business Communications classes at UWEC since 1992, and one of her most unique classes is Advanced Business Communications. In this course, students are given the opportunity to experience the real world responsibilities of a manager or employee through the means of a student-created fictitious company. Connolly said in this class, students improve their leadership skills as well as their oral, interpersonal and written communication skills through the development of a business seminar presentation focused on a business communications topic such as negotiation and conflict resolution, or business travel.

When students have questions about the course material, Connolly says she always welcomes inquiries. She also said she makes a special effort to reach out to the international students in her classes.

 "Business Communication classes are tough enough for native speakers without adding the language barrier," Connolly said. "So I really try to reach out to them individually."

Associate Dean of the College of Business, Robert Sutton said Connolly goes out of her way to help her students succeed.

"Jan knows what a great fear students have about making oral presentations, and she tries to make them feel as comfortable as possible, "Sutton said. "They love her."

Connolly said even though some of her students say her classes require a significant amount of work, they have the desire to learn.

"The best thing students can say about me is that I was really tough, but that they learned a lot," she said.

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