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Communications Professor Sue Koester to Retire

Professor Susan Koester is retiring after 35 years teaching communications to Juneau college students.

Sue Koester

Ed. note: Here is Sue’s recollection of the past three and half decades and what she’ll be up to in “retirement”:

Upon my arrival in Juneau in 1975 then Chancellor Russ Jones hired me to teach two courses: the basic communication course for Juneau Douglas Community College, and another, Women in US history, for Southeastern Senior College. He also asked me to serve as his administrative assistant. I took him up on his first two offers and declined the third opting instead to learn how to cross country ski and to help form a group of activist women working on women and children issues—a group that later became what we know as AWARE.

Within five years, I wrote a Women’s Education Equity Act grant for a women’s transition program, edited a very early version of Soundings, coordinated the college’s jail program (called “Up and Out With Arts in the Prison” at which time I met Jane Terzis and Molly Smith), produced two homebirthed babies, and joined the faculty ranks as an assistant professor of speech communication.

A coherent communication program, a foundation for speaking and writing across the curriculum, and an endowed Perseverance Theatre-UAS partnership are products of my collaboration with the humanities faculty and supportive Juneau community. I’ve been fortunate to be selected to teach in London, serve on the Northwest Consortium for Study Abroad (a program that a number of our students have taken advantage of) and work with colleagues to organize a number of regional humanities conferences. I also work with student events like the Scary Stories on a Dark Night and Winter Tea, serve on the Perseverance Theatre board, and still remain married to same great guy!

I look forward to returning to my roots—skiing and working with women and children—and continuing with a couple of my writing projects: a collection of short stories and poetry adapted for readers theatre, a one-act play about a fictitious meeting of three historical “troublemakers” (one of whom I’m distantly related to)—Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, and Victoria Claflin Woodhull—and a book on values drawing upon my father’s extensive correspondence with his family and his writing. I may teach a class or two and pursue additional training in somatics bodywork and, oh yes, travel a lot, draw a little, and always call Juneau my home!


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