Speech Professor Judith Vogel retires

Professor Judith Vogel of the DMACC speech communications department is retiring this year after 30+ years in teaching.  The family history of teaching was strong within her family with her mom teaching in a one room school house in Illinois.

“I always wanted to be a teacher for two reasons, my mom had been a teacher for 38 years, and I remember times when former students would come up to her as a former teacher.  They recalled what she did to help them learn their math and I would look at her face when the students were telling her things, and I knew even as a little girl, someday I wanted to grow up and be a teacher,” Vogel said.

The family tradition continued with her.  “Because I also attended a one room schoolhouse through the 6th grade.  I would love to go down and help the younger kids, and that was another nudge to get into that direction,” Vogel said.

Vogel, knowing that she wanted a teacher, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Purdue University.  She taught there and then moved on to Mount Saint Clare College where she taught speech for 16 years in Clinton, Iowa.  Upon moving to the Des Moines area she applied and was accepted as an adjunct at DMACC in 1999 and was brought on full time a week before school started that year.

When asked about changes in the college environment, especially at DMACC she said it’s mostly technology.

“Technology as a whole has been a huge change in teaching and in the classroom.” “Walking into a room it used to be there that students would sit there visiting with each other…I think there are a lot of those relationships that don’t grow because of technology,” Vogel said.

She then told stories of how her students have helped keep her young and how she regularly has heard back from students that went on to be nurses and doctors and lawyers.

judyvogelawardsquareVogel had a lot of examples of unique speeches, from ones that made her cry to ones that scared her.

“A young woman stood up and started a speech and started a story about when she was 8 years old and it was a normal day getting ready for school and her mom had to go off to work.  Her dad was a volunteer fireman and shortly after the mom left for work.  Dad got a call that there had been an accident and it was only a mile from their house so he jumped in his car and went there and as he approached he realized it was his wife’s car.”  The story continued from there but it was the speech and how it was presented by the perspective of an 8 year old child.  The cause of the accident was a drunk driver, and “it was such a powerful speech that I truly believe that anyone who was sitting in that class that day, that they never drank and drove.”

One student was doing a speech on something she knew well, taking care of baby pigs, after being encouraged by Vogel.  She did the speech on caring for young piglets.  So near the end of the speech her husband walks in and “she picks up that pig, takes a scalpel, with newspapers on the floor and did it right there.”  Her student castrated a pig in the classroom, showing how that was part of caring for them.

Judith and her husband of 48 years, Martin, have 4 children and 5 grandchildren, some of them scattered across the country.  They plan on spending more time travelling the US (eventually internationally) and visiting the children and grandchildren.

“I’ve had the opportunity teach at a Big 10 university, Purdue, I’ve had the opportunity teach at a small private Catholic college (Mount Saint Clare College), and the opportunity to teach here at DMACC, a two year community college.  And the experience that has been the most rewarding, the most enjoyable, and the experience that made me feel most valued was right here at DMACC,” Vogel said.

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