By Alexandra Blockton
Mary Busler is a baby boomer and originally from Godfrey, Illinois which her parents were lifelong residents of Godfrey and Alton as well. Mrs. Busler’s title held here on campus at Lewis and Clark is the Student Success Specialist located in the Speech Communications and Liberal Arts Department.
She teaches Public Speaking, Private and Public Communications, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication and Public Relations. Mrs. Busler’s other positions held here on campus are Student Success Specialist, Communications Lab which offers specialized tutoring for presentations and other communication issues.
Mary Busler has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Specialization in Marketing and Advertising from SIUE (Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville). Along with a Master’s Degree in Speech Communication from SIUE.
Back in 1992-1993 she did an internship with retired speech instructor Tracey Smith as part of her Master’s Degree in Speech Communication. “My master’s program was designed to focus on learning teaching strategies for the community college level. My program coordinator introduced me to Tracey and I began to love the classroom,” said Mrs. Busler.
When she was asked, “what made you decide to become a teacher?” her response was, “The truth is, in middle school and high school, when counselors suggested teaching, I never wanted to be one. I wanted to be in a math or science career. I took an elective speech course as part of my bachelor’s degree and was really intrigued by the discipline. Once I started my master’s program, one of my instructors asked if I would like to co-teach a course with him. I was surprised, but certainly intrigued by the challenge, so I said yes. I was hooked from day one!”
Mrs. Busler has been at Lewis and Clark since 1993, she also taught courses prior to Hickey School of Business, Deaconess School of Nursing which is now closed, Fontbonne College, SIUE and SWIC. Ultimately, she said, “I did my internship with Tracey, the speech department coordinator asked if I would like to teach a few courses, and I have been ever since. I left for a three year period to do some consulting for Southwestern Bell, now ATT, but could not stay away.”
She mentioned, “the best part of her job is the students of course. I love interacting with students on a daily basis. I think I learn as much or more from them than they learn from me.”
The best thing she likes about her program is communication or speech, which is part of our everyday lives. We live in a society where we must have contact with others. Some of us choose to have more social contacts than others, but regardless of the number of contacts, we must communicate to survive. Being able to communicate effectively should be a priority in our education, but we do not learn about how to communicate in school. “If I had my way, speech courses would start in kindergarten,” said Mrs. Busler.
“A speech course is a mandatory part of any program here at LCCC. Students must take one course as part of their certification program or degree. However, we also offer a Pathways Program in Speech which allows students to take most of the courses toward a minor in speech at LCCC then transfer and finish, or move on to a major, at SIUE. We are very proud of this program and encourage more students to check it out. Communication is part of any job, and if you are interviewing for a job and have the same skills as other applicants with an added degree in Communication, an employer will see that as a bonus,” said Mrs. Busler.
The best thing she likes about Lewis and Clark is the family and community atmosphere. She also mentioned, “Instructors at LCCC really care about their students. We want them to succeed! If I, as an instructor, can also instill in students my love of community, maybe we can encourage students to stay in, or return to this area, once their education is complete. Many employed LCCC are alumni. I also love the campus. I have a huge window in my office that looks out over some of the campus lawn. I often think to myself how beautiful the view is and count myself so lucky to be a part of the campus community.”
She describes her teaching methods to be energetic, informative, and fun! “I am passionate about helping students understand how effective communication can make their daily interactions more positive. I try to live what I teach,” said Mrs. Busler.
When Mrs. Busler mentioned her greatest strength as a teacher she said, “I hope students would say empathy. I feel I am able to offer the material in a way that they can apply it to each of their own individual situations while realizing that no one situation is the correct one.”
“The biggest challenge for me is keeping up to date with emerging technology. The most rewarding part is knowing that if I ask, students will teach me about that technology. I never go into a classroom assuming I know any more or less than the students in that room. I like to think we learn together as we progress through the material in the class. I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong or do not know something. I am willing to hear student opinions,” said Busler.
She received the Competitive Graduate Award at SIUE which had provided her with a scholarship to complete her master’s degree. She was also awarded the SCA, Speech Communication Association Teaching Excellence Award and has co-authored communication textbooks for 20 years.
“I am proud every time one of my students walks across the stage at commencement. I am proud when I receive an email letting me know a former student is working with a medical corp in Africa. I am proud when a former student-athlete is trying out for a professional team, or a student nurse is my nurse when I go to the hospital. So, I do not think I have had my proudest moment so far, but I am extremely proud that both my niece and nephew and both of my daughters of LCCC, and all have gone on to be successful in all of their careers,” said Mrs. Busler.
The advice she would like to give students coming into this career field is communication is always and will always need to be a part of any career. The more skilled you are in this field, the more successful you will be. Even if you decide not to major in the field, courses in communication are definitely valuable.
Throughout her career in recognition of aspired as well as achieved goals Mrs. Busler said, “I am approaching retirement, and looking back I feel good about what I have done. I hope my students remember me and my course as valuable and worthwhile. I hope to write works of fiction once I retire. I have lived in this area my whole life and LCCC has always been there. I used to walk by and through the campus as a small girl, after school to my father’s office, and I would think to myself that someday I wish I could go to school there and maybe work there too! I got my wish!”
Office Phone: 618-468-4781
Office Location: TR241
Office Hours: Fall and Spring Semester, Monday through Friday in the Communications Lab when not in class