Dr. Melanie Laliker
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Communication Studies
When she was a junior in college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Dr. Melanie K. Laliker did what a lot of students do. She "floundered" about what to major in and what to do with her life.
"I took a communication class and got hooked," said Laliker, an associate professor of communication studies who has been at Bridgewater since 2000. "I took four more classes with the same professor during my undergraduate program. Even though he was a professor at a large university, he taught and interacted with his students like he was at a small college."
"He helped me," she continued, "to realize my own potential and pushed me harder than I'd ever been pushed academically."
The push worked. Laliker went on to earn her master's degree in interpersonal communications at UCF and her doctorate in the same discipline from the University of Georgia in Athens. Today, she teaches a host of communications courses that includes interpersonal communication, communication theory, oral communication and communicating sex and gender.
And it all happened because of one special teacher. Like that professor at UCF, Laliker seeks not only to impart knowledge, but to inspire, to challenge and to serve as a role model both for students who know what they want to do in life, and those who don't.
"Particularly on those days when things aren't going as I plan, my students are looking at me like I've lost my mind, or we're all so frustrated with each other we want to scream, I keep Dr. Butler in my head and try to be the kind of teacher and mentor he was," Laliker said.
Laliker, who is chair of the communication studies department, has also served on numerous committees and councils dealing with nearly every aspect of student and faculty life at Bridgewater College. A presenter and participant at national and international conferences, she additionally has written scholarly articles for Communication Monographs, Communication Education and Communication Studies. During the spring semester of 2010, she took a sabbatical, and worked on a research project investigating communication between romantic partners on Facebook.
Laliker, a native of Melbourne, Fla., is also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society.
In April 2010, Laliker was presented the College's Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award. The award honors the standard of excellence honored by Bridgewater alumni Ben and Janice Wade, who established the award in 1998 to recognize excellence in classroom teaching.