What does the “Key to Success” mean to you? For many of us in the Department of Communication, the answer is simple: communication. Communication is key, hence the symbol of a key for the Department of Communication. While a degree in Communication is our key to success, it would be unattainable without the help of such a phenomenal teaching staff. I cannot think of a more exemplary professor than Dr. Ellen W. Bonaguro.
If you have ever taken one of Dr. Bonaguro (or Dr. B’s) classes, then you know just how passionate and enthusiastic she is about communication. However, before getting her Ph. D. in Communication, Dr. B. earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a Master’s degree in School and Community Health Education from the University of Oregon in Eugene. She then went on to attend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and earned her Ph. D. in Interpersonal Communication with an emphasis in health care.
In an interview, Dr. B. said “I became interested in communication as I was witnessing so many issues with patients communicating with health care providers.” It is for this reason that Dr. Bonaguro has a true passion for Health Communication. Dr. B also feels that Health Communication will continue to grow as an area of study in the Communication discipline.
Dr. Bonaguro has been teaching for thirty-two years, and continues to love every single minute of it. Starting in January of 2015, Dr. B went into transitional retirement. Although she is not fully retiring, she is not fully teaching either. Dr. B’s transitional retirement allows her to have the best of both. She now enjoys having more time to spend with friends and family. She is also an avid gardener and walker, and she loves to travel. In addition to enjoying her free time, Dr. B also finds that she has more time to spend on her students. She told me that she is “able to provide even more feedback to improve their understanding of the subject matter and their writing.” Teaching is something that she will never stop loving.
For the next five years, Dr. Bonaguro will continue to teach two online courses per semester for the Department of Communication, with the hopes that one of them will always be Health Communication. When you find something you are passionate about, it is really hard to stop. More than her love for teaching communication is Dr. B’s love for her students. When asked what is most satisfying about teaching, her response was “The students.” She went on to say, “It is rewarding to see students grasp concepts and apply them to their own personal life and work. I also enjoy preparing for classes and engaging with students.” After taking one of Dr. B’s classes, or even if you just talk to her, you know that she is more than just a professor. Dr. B goes the extra mile for all of her students both inside and outside the classroom. She has years of insightful experience that she shares with her students. She is always there to provide helpful advice about what to do and how to do it, in order to help all of us obtain the keys to success. Dr. B is more than just a professor in the Department of Communication, because she is a leader, a role model, a mentor, and above all, Dr. B is a friend.