Administration, sorority, advising: Tighe strikes balance and finds time to learn too
In a small corner on the bottom of Zehmer Hall you can find the office of Dr. Rachel Tighe, decorated with plenty of Harry Potter memorabilia and often filled with students hanging out and seeking advice.
Tighe, an associate professor of communication studies, has been teaching at UVa-Wise for a number of years and Interim Chair of the Department of Communication Studies, Interim Chair of the Department of Language and Literature, Advisor to Theta Phi Alpha Sorority and Advisor to Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society.
“It’s not a race,” Dr. Tighe said when asked what advice she would give students. “Too many students want to get through and get out. Never again will you be able to argue and debate openly, to make mistakes and still have a safety net there to catch you and help you back up.”
When asked what kept her going each year and how she was able to still find so much satisfaction in her work Dr. Tighe responded, “working with students, and not just on material, but one on one, and watching them grow. Every two years it’s a new group of minds and it never gets old.”
Tighe spoke of how she keeps in contact with many of her students even long after they have graduated, aided now by Facebook and social media of course. She also
spoke of the feeling of joy she has when she attends conferences around the country and runs into former students who are also attending the same conference, now with a Ph.D. attached to their name.
It is perhaps this desire to help young minds grow and reach their full potential that has led her to become the adviser for the Theta Phi Alpha Sorority. Dr. Tighe went much further than just simply being the chapter advisor, she actually pledged to the sorority, although Greek life was something she had never been involved with in her own college experience. She said she wanted a way to teach leadership skills for women, something she believes to be very important, and becoming involved with the sorority gave her an opportunity to do that.
As adviser to the Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society, the official Communication Studies honor society of the National Communication Association, Tighe is also able to help students better achieve and reach their fullest potential as students and leaders.
UVa-Wise offers a wide array of classes on everything from ‘Asian American Literature’ and ‘Women in European History’ to ‘Psychology of Love,’ yet every professor has a favorite class that they love teaching whenever possible.
For Tighe, that favorite class is COM 3300: Interpersonal Communication.
Tighe said she loves teaching that class because it is such an eye-opening class for many of her students. She said she looks forward to the time when she can look in a student’s eyes and tell that they have just learned something about themselves and their own life.
She said that she enjoys teaching her public speaking course as well because she gets to learn how to do a lot of different things from her students’ presentations.
Tighe has been teaching at UVa-Wise since the fall semester of 1996, and she has no plans to stop now. She continues to be passionate about her job and field and year after year helps so many students reach their goals and full potential.