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University of Delaware

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  • Tracey Quigley Holden, Assistant Professor

    Assistant Professor
    University of Delaware
    248 Pearson Hall
    Newark, DE 19716


    Tracey Quigley Holden earned her PhD in rhetoric and public address from Pennsylvania State University in 2005, writing her dissertation on Vietnam-era military dissent. Prior to her work at Penn State, she received an M.A. from San Diego State University and a B.A. from Texas A&M University. Professor Holden’s primary teaching focus is oral communication, public speaking, and business communication. Her pedagogical experience includes teaching intercultural communication to Marine Corps and Navy officers, social movement dissent in San Diego, and summer programs in politics and debate at Stanford and Princeton. Her area of broad scholarly interest is organizational and political communication, especially the American military. Other interests include social movements, civic engagement, leadership, and strategic business communication. Professor Holden joined the Department of Communication in 2010 as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Basic Course.

    Teaching Philosophy and Goals

    Teaching is truly a joy and a pleasure for me. I chose academia for the invigorating connections it offers between the ‘life of the mind’ and the world we live in. In the classroom I invite students to participate in that rich process of exchange. Along with making the course materials relevant, interesting and challenging, this also means working with students so they have the tools to benefit from classwork. Teaching is not only about the presentation of appropriate materials and relevant facts – it also about teaching the skills, vision, and disciplined thought processes to use them well. I encourage students to ask questions, to work through problems, and to seek assistance in finding resources and answers – so we all learn more. Joy emerges at the intersection of information and intellectual skills successfully shared.

    For each class, I choose a variety of materials and exercises to challenge and engage students. In the basic oral communication courses, I choose a theme each semester to structure outside reading selections and stimulate student interest. I use an interdisciplinary, multimedia approach, stressing the connections among fields that are often seen as unrelated. I make a point of using a variety of media clips, websites, online class forums and diverse course material to stimulate discussion and keep students intellectually active. Along with specific strategies for doing excellent academic work and achieving their personal goals, I discuss the responsibilities that education confers, the expectations and obligations of civic engagement and professional conduct. I point students to the ways they can apply our work to areas outside the classroom and beyond the university. Understanding that students often see college as a means to an end, as a teacher of communication I remind them that their knowledge and skills can be applied to flourish in their chosen career paths, and should be put to use as educated citizens and members of civil society.

    In the end, I see teaching as providing opportunities to students, challenging their intellectual abilities, engaging their minds along new paths, and assisting with the acquisition of tools for continued learning. I hope my students leave my class with new information, new methods for pursuing knowledge, and new ideas about their ability to engage with the world around them. I hope they leave with the realization that education is more than meeting arduous academic requirements by rote. I hope they have found a new way of looking or a new way to think, and had a few “ah-ha” moments of intellectual discovery. Most of all, I want my students to have had a moment of joy as part of their educational experience.



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University of Delaware