Dr. Laurie Fluker changing lives, one student at a time

Dr. Laurie FlukerFaculty Spotlight: Dr. Laurie Fluker, written by Chioma Nwosu:
Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and an Associate Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dr. Fluker has a passion for her job and says she falls in love with it more and more every-day. It radiates through her teaching and her attitude toward her students. I was a student of Dr. Fluker’s last semester, and her Intro to Mass Communication course is said to be difficult. For me, the course did not feel like a chore but more of an extracurricular activity. If that does not persuade you to meet her, take her course, or both, I do not know what will!

CN: What is your concentration?
LF: Broadcasting and Electronic Media

CN: What is your hometown and where do you currently live?
LF: I’m from Houston, and I live in Austin.

CN: What brought you to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University?
LF: I was working on a Ph.D at UT, and the person in charge of Electronic Media left unexpectedly, so the school was looking for someone to take his place. They asked UT if anyone was working on a dissertation, and Roger Bennett called me and asked if I was interested to come work at Texas State. I was not looking for work the time, and my husband told me that I should start because a job would not come looking for me — but it did! There was no Internet at the time, and I invited Bennett to our apartment, so for all I knew, the Son of Sam could have been coming. Bennett was a treat, and I was invited to come work here. I had 20 interviews, going office to office; they liked me, and I was offered a job! They didn’t do a national search, since the person before me had left too late. And as they say, the rest is history! I feel so blessed and I’m so happy. I’m so in love with my job.

CN: How long have you been with the SJMC?
LF: Since 1989.

CN: What courses do you teach?
LF: I teach Intro to Mass Communication and University Seminar.

CN: Have you been involved in any research/projects lately?
LF: I have been working on two chapters for my Mass Communication class about the music industry and the film industry. I’m attempting to write a book on the role of television on the Civil Rights movement. I’m so excited about it, continuing my dissertation (Fluker wrote a dissertation called “NBC Coverage of the Civil Rights Movement: 1955-1965.”).

CN: Have you received any awards or have been recognized?
LF: Black Student Alliance gave me the University Diversity Award for 2012-2013 this year as well as other awards.

CN: What are some of your hobbies or things you enjoy outside of work?
LF: I like swimming and reading. I love spending time with my family. I try to have a TV show or movie to watch with each child. With my son, I watch Doctor Who, and with my daughter, I watch any reality show.

CN: What inspires you?
LF: My students inspire me. I have some of the greatest students ever. Seeing them makes this job worthy, which is why I will not leave it. My family inspires me as well.

CN: What do you find most fulfilling or rewarding about teaching college students?
LF: There is no other job that will let me get to know hundreds of people every semester. Doesn’t get any better than that! Most students are yearning for knowledge, and I’m yearning to teach it. Most students are already interested, and I get to fulfill that.

CN: Do you have any advice for current SJMC students?
LF: You have to have a thirst and a passion for knowledge. Nothing else will beat that thirst and passion. It will take you places. You have to want to constantly get better. You have to learn to write well; you have to learn a second language. If it’s not what you want to do, you have to get out of it. If you’re apathetic to your major, you need to move on. You cannot be something that sounds cool, you have to want it!

CN: How long have you been married?
LF: I have been happily married for 33 years this August, but we have been together for 37!

CN: How many kids do you have? I know that you have twins.
LF: I have three kids, the oldest is 31 this year, and the twins will be 23!

Interviewing Dr. Fluker did not feel like one; it felt like a conversation. It feels like an understatement to say that she is amazing. She is truly one of a kind. Dr. Fluker affects most of the lives she comes into contact with, and as stubborn as I am, she has changed mine.

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