Faculty Feature: Prioleau of communication challenges students’ crtitical thinking skills

Dr. Rachelle Prioleau, a professor of the communication department at Clarion University, says her main goal is to lead the way by helping others who will take the initiative to help someone else.
Prioleau earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and master’s degree in rhetoric communications at the University of Pittsburgh. Then she earned her doctorate in journalism and mass communication at the University of South Carolina.
While living down South for 18 years, she taught a variety of courses regarding conflict communication, as well as a background in health communication, and became a certified mediator in South Carolina as well as starting a community mediation center on campus.
When Prioleau’s father died, she realized the importance of family, so she came back to her home state. In 2007, Prioleau accepted the position as a communication faculty member at CUP.
Prioleau said she has rhetoric and human communication as the focus of the classes she teaches.
Prioleau was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences when she initially started at CUP, and transitioned to her current role in 2012.
Prioleau said, “I believe that faculty is the life of the institution. So, it’s one thing to be in an administrative position; you get to impact a lot of people with one signature, but when you’re in the classroom, that’s what revitalizes the institution.”
Prioleau challenges students to be critical thinkers, especially in the world of technology.
She said, “I deliberately put assignments in place in order for [students] to think and not rely on technology. It is important and does play a role, but critical thinking skills are huge.”
Prioleau shows that pushing the students to go out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves helps prepare for the future.
She said, “You don’t know what tomorrow brings… you can’t really limit yourself especially when you’re young. You can’t just say that this is what I’m going to do for a certain amount of time; it doesn’t work out that way.”
“I think the biggest thing to pass on to other people, whether it be co-workers or colleagues but particularly students, is that nobody rises to low expectations and to really have high expectations so that you can push yourself to try different things you don’t normally try. To test your capabilities in critical thinking and being able to navigate complex situations whether employment, internship or studying abroad,” she said
She said a large part of learning is gaining life experiences through stepping out of the comfort zone.
“Life is pretty dull when you stay in your box. It’s not that you go too far out [of] your box, but every experience you have should widen the box a little, so you feel comfortable in different areas. I think studying abroad, volunteering, and doing things you normally don’t do to get the experience.”
Prioleau said she wants to continue expanding her role of helping people through volunteering. She said, “Through helping people, the biggest thing is to encourage people to pay it forward and help others; I really want to focus on helping other people. My other goal is to visit every national park and help my nieces and nephews travel the world and teach them to be very independent…just to have impact and as my father used to say, it doesn’t hurt to give; whether it’s time, or energy or whatever the case may be.”

You May Also Like