Robert Hoffman, M.A.

Photo Not Available
Assistant Teaching Professor
Sutherland, 330
Penn State Abington
0119 Sutherland Building
Abington, PA 19001

Educational Background:

M.A.   Professional Communications, LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA
B.A.     Mass Communications, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy breaks down into five "E" elements:  Engagement, Expectations, Encouragement, Effort, and Evaluation. To begin, in any public speaking situation, you must “engage” the audience to get and keep their attention. Likewise, as a teacher, I firmly believe that you must engage students if you want them to respond. I want to get to know my students and see what topics and ideas get them excited. Next, clear “expectations” are a minimum requirement for today's students to succeed. I have tangible outcomes in my syllabus and periodically communicate what is expected for any given assignments. Additionally, “encouragement” is an element of teaching that I think is taken for granted. Sometimes instructors and professors are so focused on their goals and the objectives of the course that they forget to mentor their students. I want my students to succeed beyond their dreams. Motivation to succeed at the college level isn't always a given. Whether teaching Public Speaking or Organizational Communication, I often encounter a student who can't quite grasp a concept. As a teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to provide the additional time and effort to ensure that the student comprehends the material. Next, to succeed in my class you need to put forth a true “effort.” For some students, the courses may seem effortless until you ask them about their detailed plan, preparation, and execution of a class assignment. As long as true effort is put forth, I am gracious when students make mistakes because they will learn from them. Finally, the element of “evaluation” is a component of my teaching philosophy. I employ several methods of evaluation including standardized public speaking evaluation forms, free-form analysis, peer evaluations, and testing. It is of paramount importance to focus on what a student has achieved as well as discern opportunities for growth. As a teacher, I dislike the term “weakness” because it implies that a student won't improve. Fundamentally, I believe that each individual should strive to improve and is capable of doing so.

Research/Creative Interests and Innovations:

I am committed to improving the verbal and non-verbal communication of students in public, organizational, group, and interpersonal environments. Within the classroom, I have created structured learning activities that allow my students to include practical issues, such as popular culture and ethics, within the academic realm. My students utilize real-time and current-event role-playing to better understand the public speaking and organizational communication processes. Outside the classroom, I am an active member of the Arts & Humanities Divisional Council and Penn State Faculty Senate Academic Environment Committee. Additionally, I act as a public speaking consultant for professional and amateur athletes. I have experience as a high school football coach, scout, and sports journalist. In 2009, I served as Professional Football Media Relations Director and wrote a weekly in-season article for the Maxwell Football Club that highlighted professional football.

Selected publications/exhibitions/performances list:

As a journalist, I have had over 400 articles published in such newspapers and publications as the Allentown Morning Call, Gridiron Strategies, Montgomery Newspapers, Catholic Standard & Times, Temple, Western Illinois and William & Mary Alumni Magazines, Lion Tracks, Toledo Free Press, and the Maxwell Football Club web newsletters and Annual Award Program.  Additionally, I have appeared on Comcast CN8 and CBS 3 sports programs and provided commentary and awards announcements.

Teaching Interests and courses taught:

Effective Speech (CAS 100, PSU)
Organizational Communications (CAS 352, PSU)
Media and Society
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Business Communication
Public Speaking
English Grammar
English Research and Writing

Selected awards, grants, patents, other honors:

Nominated as Outstanding Teacher of the Year (non-tenure track) (2009-2010)
Nominated as Outstanding Advisor/Mentor of the Year (2009-2010)