Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2018 – Monroe: Susan Bender
Susan Bender is an Associate Professor of Speech Communication in the Visual and Performing Arts Department and the Faculty Liaison of the Community Engagement and Development School of Monroe Community College (MCC). Prior to teaching full-time, Bender was the Service-Learning Coordinator for the college and has been employed at MCC since June, 1999.
Bender teaches SPC 144 Communication and Crisis, SPC 141 Interpersonal Speech Communication, and SPC 143 Small Group Communication. These highly experiential courses combine theories of communication and concepts of crisis, small group dynamics, and interpersonal relationships. The communication skills include listening and responding, communicating assertively, managing conflict, being in leadership positions, checking perception, and using empathy to make essential connections with others.
Bender serves on the MCC Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Leadership Team where she trains and mentors colleagues, MCC students, and Rochester community members from multiple agencies and organizations on Bystander Intervention Strategies and provides academic programming for both campuses. She is a trained mediator and conflict coach for the College’s Faculty Association and has co-led the Mediation Team professional development programs for several years. In her previous position, Bender developed a nationally recognized service-learning program and served, for three years, as a national trainer representing MCC’s service-learning projects related to homeland security and domestic preparedness.
Bender is a Nationally Certified Counselor of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and a member of the Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, Chi Sigma Iota. Bender is also a member of the American Counseling Association and The American Association for Women of Community Colleges. She obtained a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York at Brockport and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Cortland.
Teaching online has been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling journey. Initially, I was concerned with my ability to put a highly experiential course online and keep the level of experiential rigor required for communication coursework skills intact. I have found that between the advanced technology available and my determination and commitment, I have created an opportunity for students to form cohesive and supportive academic environments where they feel safe and inspired to learn new skills, practice them with each other, and then apply them in their workplace, school, and interpersonal relationships.