<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Beth Goodier
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Department of Communication
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Balance Helps Keep Comm Professor Fulfilled
By Chessie Gruen

"I wanted the suits! I wanted to work from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m." As an undergraduate at Clemson University, communication professor Dr. Bethany Goodier actually wanted to work for "The Man" in a big corporation. She never envisioned herself teaching.

After working at a consulting agency for a few years, Goodier sought her master's degree at the University of South Florida with full intentions of returning to work.

"I spent the first year in graduate school as a research assistant, but was invited to become a teaching assistant in my second year. I fell in love with teaching immediately," Goodier said. "I realized that all the things I liked about working as a consultant, like training and working with other employees, learning new things on the
job, were the things that I liked about teaching."

Goodier's favorite aspect of teaching is seeing the proverbial light bulb flash on when her students finally understand a complex topic. Her teaching philosophy is all about benefiting her students and helping them to see the world in a new way.

"I love that Dr. Goodier always uses current, relevant examples to explain concepts in her classes," said Maggie Farrington, one of Goodier's students. "It really keeps me engaged because I love pop culture."

Goodier also says also that every year and every class is different. She says she never gets tired of teaching, even if she teaches the same handful of courses many times in a row.

"Teaching is always different because the students are different, new theories emerge, examples change," she explains.

Since joining the College of Charleston communication faculty in 2001, Goodier has taught Organizational Communication, Business Communication, Communicating Leadership, Research in Health Communication, Interviewing, Fundamentals of Health Communication, and more.

Aside from teaching, Goodier also likes to keep things new and different in her research. Much of her early research focused on spirituality in the workplace, specifically in health care settings, but her research has branched into other facets of organizational and health communication since then.

"I was a physical therapy and communication major at Clemson," Goodier said. "And though I decided to focus on communication, I never stopped being interested in health topics."

This is an interest Goodier shares with her spouse, a physician at MUSC. They often discuss issues of health communication and explore new perspectives on the work he does every day.

"Making the familiar strange is largely what professors do- especially in communication," she said. "We analyze communicative behavior and what we do every day and then, at times, point out how truly odd it is."

Her discussions with her husband and her previous research on spiritual organizing led her to examine how the general public and, more specifically, female physicians are socialized to the world of medicine.

Goodier has published several articles since 2005 focused on how the general public becomes familiar with the medical world through television shows, no matter how inaccurate those representations may be. Her current research project focuses on the experience of female physicians in residency. Though in its early stages, she has
found female physicians experience numerous differences in their training and socialization related to gender, though they are often hesitant to label those differences as gender related.

Continually updating and modernizing her research topics, Goodier is now collaborating with a colleague on the ways organizations foster and encourage identification among customers and employees through corporate blogs.
Because previous research on the subject examines the company identity created through company newsletters, Goodier hopes to update this early research by incorporating the evolving world of social media.

With all of her research projects, Goodier attempts to advance theoretical knowledge, provide practical observations or suggestions so that practitioners can be more mindful of their communication, and most importantly, help her students better understand communication theory and how to apply it in their lives.

"I want my work to be meaningful, to help my students engage the world in a more significant way," Goodier said. "A lot of research is more theoretical than practical, but I want my research to help people reflect on their communication behavior and learn from it."

Even though Goodier thought she wanted a suit and a corporate job, she now finds that she gets the greatest satisfaction from helping her students learn and grow.

"I chose to come to the College of Charleston because unlike some primarily research-focused institutions, the College truly values students and learning," she said. "I like my research, but at the end of the day, it's all about helping my students broaden their worldview and learn to look at things a different way."

Although Goodier does not know where her research will take her or who she will be teaching and learning from next, she will continue to be the best professor, mother, wife, and friend she can be.

"As long as I have my family, friends, and work I find meaningful, I am happy." she said. "And right now, I am very happy."