JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—If you look up the word impact in the dictionary you will find the definition, “To have a strong effect on someone or something.”
Jacksonville University seeks to create an impact on the lives of its students through interactions with their professors.
One professor who strives to make that impact on her students is communication professor Courtney Barclay. She has a diverse education background. She holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in public relations, a Master of Arts in mass communication, a Ph.D. in mass communication, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. With this extensive background she is able to challenge her students to reach their full potential.
“I began teaching as a graduate student as a way to pay for law school,” Barclay said. “I loved the interactions with students and the challenge of translating complex issues in lectures and labs.”
After moving to Jacksonville, Barclay was looking for a place to use her skills and love of education to influence future generations. Jacksonville University afforded her that opportunity.
“The size of the student population, and subsequently the classes, is the biggest difference,” she said. “Before joining JU, I taught at Syracuse University. At JU, I have an opportunity to get to know my students and use more interactive learning activities.”
Barclay says she continues to love the interactions with her students, and they love the impact she has on their lives.
“Dr. Barclay is the main reason I am here today,” said Shea Morgan, senior communication major and president of the student chapter of Florida Public Relations Association. “She challenged me to take her class my sophomore year. After taking that class I fell in love with the communication major, and it is something that has impacted the whole direction of my life. It’s all because Barclay had an interest in me and challenged me.”
Another of Barclay’s students conveyed how her honesty and caring approach pushed him to do his best.
“Professor Barclay is a professor that will never sugarcoat the truth,” said senior Dominique Washington, Phin Communications CEO. “She is always willing to give anyone the truth. Dr. Barclay is also always willing to answer any question in or outside the class.”
Barclay not only influences her students in the classroom but also encourages them to take what they learn and use it to prepare for their future professions. Barclay encourages her students to become involved with organizations on campus like Phin Communications and the student chapter of FPRA.
“Professionally, Dr. Barclay has mentored me as president of Phin Communications and helped me learn how to handle the challenges that come with working in a professional environment with peers. Being in this leadership position has helped solidify my future goal of wanting to start my own business one day and being able to help small businesses with their PR needs,” said Washington.
Barclay strives to promote growth at JU and in real-world situations by offering her students various networking opportunities throughout the public relations community.
“Besides teaching me everything I know about public relations I believe she has prepared me for the real world,” Morgan said. “I have real-life experience because of her and FPRA. I have networks and opportunities available to me now that I could never have imagined.”
For Barclay, it’s all a part of being a professor at JU.
“I get to work with students from all over the world,” she says. “I get to teach a lot of different classes that all interest me. I get to collaborate on projects with faculty from all over campus. It’s a privilege to have a job that is always presenting new opportunities.”