A Conglomerate of Wise Wisdom from Stout’s Finest

Hello world! This week’s rain and cold temps have got me down, but I think I have the cure. Coffee. Blogging. And of course… my program director! The next couple of posts will be a series encapsulating the thoughts and advice of students and professors alike, who are newer to Stout and have been around for longer. With no further ado…

Meet Dr. Daisy Pignetti.

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What’s your name? When did you start teaching at UW-Stout?
What do you teach (department and courses)? 

Dr. Daisy! I started at Stout in Fall 2008. I’m in the Department of English and Philosophy and while my PhD is in Rhetoric and Composition, my interests in social media, specifically blogging, and the impact of technology upon literacy, landed me some Professional Communication and Emerging Media courses. Now I exclusively teach in the undergraduate PCEM program as well as the Masters program in Technical and Professional Communication.

What is your anchor here at Stout? Why do you like Stout?

Given my social media interests, I love that Stout is a laptop campus and I don’t have to worry about students not having consistent wifi, not to mention the Office and Adobe suites. I’ve also gone paperless for assignments since many students don’t have access to printers [and neither do I when I’m off-campus!]

Having taught at a variety of universities before UW-Stout, I also like that this is a polytechnic campus that pushes students to work with clients in classes, with offices across campus, and also in internships all over the nation.

If you could estimate a real number, how many good memories do you have from teaching at Stout? 

I don’t really tally stuff like that. Not sure how much of this response you’ll be able to use, but here goes:

In my current position as program director, my great memories are all related to advising and seeing smiles when students learn they can graduate early or on time. I also love presenting my blog research to my colleagues across campus.

I do have amazing memories of conference travel that of course is associated with Stout, but not taking place on our campus. Let me know if you want to hear more about that because I’ve been to Oxford, Harvard, MIT, and lots of fun cities.

What is your favorite course to teach and why?

I love teaching the Intro to Professional Communication course. I’ve only taught it 2 years, but since I’ve taken on the Program Director role, even if just for the interim, I recognize faces from freshman registration meetings that happen over the summer and campus visits that happen all year long.

In this course I introduce students to the three concentrations in the major, asking them to imagine “a day in the life of a technical communication/applied journalist/digital humanist.” They also start a blog and create a web-based portfolio of work to begin crafting their professional online presence.

What was your favorite book, leisurely or scholarly, from your undergrad days?

During my undergraduate coursework, I loved 20th century American novels, including The Great Gatsby, which is what my mother was reading when she was pregnant with me, hence my name!

During my Masters program, when the reading shifted toward the theoretical, I carried around an uber-highlighted copy of Composition and Resistance as well as Clifford Geertz’s text The Interpretation of Cultures. That paid off when I took my comprehensive exams.

My PhD program is when I started studying the rhetoric of technology so while I kept up with the composition theory, I also started reading journal articles in New Media and Society and paying attention to every publication put out by the Berkman Center of Internet and Society and Pew Internet and American Life Project. That data matters and it’s constantly changing, which keeps my research interests exciting!

Why is Stout the place to be? What makes it different? 

See answer to #2. The “applied learning” is no joke once our students graduate. They are much more experienced than others!

What’s one piece of advice you have for incoming students that aren’t sure what to do with their lives?

Take an active role in your education. Yes, you have advisors and faculty support, but it’s on you to be organized and communicate professionally all the time.

Next week will ne a new professor to Stout, so stay tuned!

-Rach

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