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New professor Dominic Meyers engages students, plans for success

MOORHEAD — Despite it being midday, the office is dimly lit and cozy. A floor lamp floods the room with warm light, stacks of papers sit on the desk and a small collection of board games rests on the shelves above. Placed in the center of the room are two patterned, padded armchairs complemented with an ottoman that resembles a yellow dye. Through the open window overlooking the grounds, the distant strike of the clock tower can be heard, indicating that it is 12:28 p.m.  

 In one armchair sits Dominic Meyers, associate professor of communication studies and assistant coach of the speech and debate team.  

As a Concordia alum, Meyers recounts spending much of his four years with the speech and debate team.  

“He is one of those individuals who lives and breathes communication and the speech team. He took care of his teammates and they looked to him for guidance and mentorship. He was like another coach,” academic advisor and instructor in the communication and theatre department, Cindy Larson-Casselton said. 

During his time at Concordia, Meyers saw the speech team advance in the national competition, improving their initial ranking of 28th in his freshman year.  

“Sophomore year we jumped to 12th,” Meyer said,. “That was probably my favorite memory of getting to come back, and just having this like ‘Hell yeah! We did it.’ (moment),” 

Meyers’ experience in the speech and debate team is what drew him back to his alma mater– now as an instructor.  

As a first-year professor, Meyers places a strong emphasis on community building and encourages communication between students through innovative activities, small group projects and class discussions.  

In his “Communicating to Engage” course, every lesson has one to two activities for the students to participate in. This past Wednesday, the students were separated into small groups of five and were shown five short clips, ranging from the classic “It’s Wednesday my dudes” Vine to a Tiktok depicting a severely malformed Barbie doll with the caption: “I feel so bad for my barbie. She’s walking around in barbie land like this!”  

The students erupted with laughter at each clip, and added their own comments and remarks that were met with even more laughter from their peers.  

Within their small groups, the students ranked the videos from most to least funny. Then they were asked to analyze why they found certain videos funny and which parts of their cultural, political, media and gender backgrounds affected their perceptions of these clips. During their group discussions, nearly every student contributed with lively talk of what made each video amusing and arguments over which video should be placed where in the rankings.  

According to Larson-Casselton, these kinds of unique activities are not unusual for Meyers’ classroom. While Meyers attended Concordia as a student, he worked with Larson-Casselton as her teaching assistant. She would assign him lecture topics that he would teach to her students, and he would exceed her expectations.  

“He knocked it out of the park,” Larson-Casselton said. “He would come up with activities, create powerpoint slides. And then the students started really gravitating toward him for help. I knew then and there he was going to be one heck of a good college professor.” 

Meyers’ teaching goals in the next few years include to keep sculpting and reshaping the way he instructs his students.  

“I do some pretty strange little things in there that are different from how other professors teach it,” said Meyers. “I think it works really well. I just want to keep pushing that boundary of like, what is learning and what is an activity.” 

Meyers was also hired on as an assistant coach for Concordia’s speech team. He has intentions to help the team advance in the national competition this year.  

“I wanna get the speech team back into the top 20 nationally. That’s the golden zone where you wanna be if you want to be known as a really good program,” said Meyers. “We’ve done it before plenty of times, and we can do it again!” 

Jonah Krogstad, a first-year member of the speech team, attended a handful of coaching sessions with Meyers during his first week at Concordia.  

“He is very good at letting you know exactly what you need to do, how you need to do it,” said Krogstad. “He’s really an effective communicator at things to improve on things to work on as well as being supportive when you’ve done something well.” 

Krogstad made special mention of Meyers’ ability to communicate where improvements are needed in the students’ speeches while also being supportive of their strengths.  

“He’s not just a good coach. He’s also a really good person for community building and team morale. He’s really got an ability to make people feel welcome and comfortable,” said Krogstad. 

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