Faculty


Patricia Totusek



Lecturer 1



Area:  COMM
Areas of Specialization:  Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication

Office:  JO 4.602
Office Hours:  Thursdays: 11:30-1:00
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  pft140030@utdallas.edu
Phone:  972-883-N/A


Years ago, at a small, mid-west college, I was standing with others getting ready to attend my first speech class. It was a required course. We were shaking in our shoes because this course had a reputation—a history for flunking out freshmen. The class was demanding. It required solid research, creative design, tedious practice, and ongoing editing and experimentation. But I found that if I was willing to put in the work, presenting the information was incredibly satisfying and even exhilarating. That speaking experience still influences the way I teach today. It's my job to identify the steps for an effective speech, provide simple explanations, and give students a chance to practice. If I can do this, then giving a speech is a skill anyone can learn. Dr. Walter Lambert calls this the "bicycle concept"—we may start out shaky, but by the end of class we'll all be riding.

I teach COMM1311. This class covers three essential survival tools: public speaking, interpersonal communication, and team methods. My research interest is the art of scholarly teaching. I use research results, the best practices of others, and student feedback to make my instruction more relevant, challenging, and fun! My syllabus is constantly changing as I learn, edit, and create.

I like to give students every opportunity to do their best. If students are willing to invest in the course, I am willing to invest in them. I give extra credit to those who meet with me for individual consultations to review draft assignments. I like knowing the career goals of my students so I can suggest specific UTD opportunities that might help them develop relevant skills.

My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing my students achieve. I remember Sheena, who initially could not say a word in front of the class, but with some extra tutoring finished the class with an A. I remember John, who had panic attacks at the thought of giving a speech, but with help from a UTD SOAR advisor and extra practice sessions exceeded the class requirements. And I remember Calvin, an ex-vet, single parent, full-time employee, who won a speaking contest by sheer grit, determination, and long hours of practice. Calvin was the first in his family to ever win a competition. As they say in the commercials, "Priceless."

After working my way through grad school as a teaching assistant, I held an administrative position for the Austin Independent School District. I followed this with a long stint as a homeschool mom for my three sons. After that, I taught locally at Brookhaven College and Richland College before coming to UTD in 2014.

Recent Courses:  View courses taught by Patricia Totusek


Education: 
PhD, University of Texas at Austin in Speech Communication
MA, University of Texas at Austin, Speech Communication
BFA, Texas Christian University, Speech and English

Curriculum Vitae:  Patricia Totusek's CV


Interview: