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Dr. Hilary A. Rasmussen

Dr. Hilary A. Rasmussen, Assistant Professor

The most successful students complete all assessments on time and give themselves plenty of time to devote critical thought to their work.


Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2017
  • M.A. – Northern Illinois University, 2010
  • B.S. – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2008

Career Highlights:

I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work as an educator in numerous institutions, serving diverse student populations. During my time spent at large, research-focused institutions (Northern Illinois University and UW-Milwaukee) and smaller liberal arts institutions (Elmhurst University and Southwest Minnesota State University), I've worked with students from primarily urban communities, first-generation college students from rural and suburban communities, and non-traditional and veteran student populations. Here at Parkside, I have relished the opportunity to participate in a shared commitment to make ours a designated Hispanic-serving institution.

In addition to my experience as an educator, I have also worked as a professional writer in external relations and marketing, a distance education liaison, and as an administrative assistant in collegiate admissions. Working in these contexts has opened my eyes to the myriad ways in which we, in higher education, can best serve our respective communities.

In which online program do you teach?

M.A. in Professional Communication

What do you want your students to take away from class?

We live in a communication landscape in which the proliferation and democratization of information has given to the average person greater power to create, disseminate, and consume information. My hope for each student who completes my courses is that they expand their "tool kit" of communication strategies and develop the skill to determine when and how to use those tools. More importantly, I hope students hone their ethical paradigms to become audience-centered, persuasive, competent, and compassionate communicators and leaders across contexts and relationships.

Why did you start teaching?

Initially, I came to the field of communication through competitive speech and debate. As an undergrad, I competed on a forensics team and as an upperclassman, I began coaching the younger, less experienced competitors on the team. My coach was the first person to suggest that I could make a living "coaching," which I so enjoyed, by going into teaching. I feel indebted to her for guiding me on that path and helping me negotiate getting into grad school. Trust your mentors, folks!

I was then drawn to higher ed because I find the period of time when a traditional freshman makes the "jump” from high school to be a very dynamic time. There are few four/five year spans in one's life when a person undergoes such deep and lasting changes. When you add to the mix nontraditional students or returning learners and graduate students, the teaching environment enriches even more. I just love this particular season of life and I get a lot out of engaging with my students.

What advice would you give to your future online students?

A tip for success in this class would be to create a bi-weekly routine in which you log on to our Canvas site multiple times. For example, at least every Monday and Wednesday mornings have dedicated time for this class. That way, you'll keep abreast of the announcements, upcoming due dates, and you'll be able to complete the participation and writing requirements without the load becoming overwhelming or onerous.

The most successful students complete all assessments on time and give themselves plenty of time to devote critical thought to their work.

What is the value of a higher degree in the field in which you teach?

I really enjoy rhetorical aspects of the discipline because they are dynamic. Persuasion is an interactive process, reliant on participation from both the persuader and their audience. It is, in a way, a truly relational process. Those who can effectively and ethically wield the various tools available to meet a given moment with a given audience for a given purpose will find they are more successful in personal, professional, and public roles.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

“Contact” by Carl Sagan. This story blends scientific discovery with the search for faith and meaning. I love the story Sagan weaves, but I also love what the book makes me think about: on our pale blue dot in the universe, we are small, insignificant, rare, and precious. Even as we search for life on other worlds, none of us is “alone.”

What do you do when you need a laugh?

In our household, we've been enjoying the escapism offered by TV shows like “What We Do in the Shadows,” “The League,” and “Schitt's Creek.”

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

In my courses, you'll benefit from the presence of two graduate teaching assistants, Belle (canine) and Chickadee (feline).

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