Written by Hannah Sislo
I had the pleasure of interviewing Debbie Ernie and learning how enthusiastic she is about working at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
When I asked how she came to work at this university, Ernie clarified that she had received her undergraduate degree here. She went on to explain how she always loved being in Eau Claire, and thought it would be interesting to witness the other side of things by transitioning from student to professor. She mentioned that the adjustment was a weird and surreal experience at first because she was going places and doing things that she once did as a student. Now Ernie is more comfortable and is excited to know that she can relate to her students and that she can help them if they have questions about campus or classes. After all, she once went through the exact same thing.
Ernie teaches the Blugold seminar, instructing two sections of Writing 118 and two sections of Writing 116. She declared that her biggest goal for her students is for them to understand that writing is a process that they will be working on throughout their entire lifetime. She hopes that her students will be motivated to keep developing their writing skills, and knows that these skills will help them in their future schooling and careers. Ernie also commented on some challenges she faces in teaching these courses. One of these is teaching in an active learning classroom where there are pods of students with their own computer screens. Ernie said it is challenging because she has to form lessons around the setup of the classroom, but all in all, it is fun and gives her a new and interesting perspective on teaching.
We also discussed Ernie’s favorite part of the city and of campus. She exclaimed that she loves Eau Claire and especially enjoys the feeling of community embodied by this campus. She stated that she appreciates the different events that the city of Eau Claire holds in the summer such as Chalk Fest and the Farmers Market. Lastly she commented on the beauty of the campus and mentioned a fondness for tubing down the river.
In her free time, Ernie enjoys dancing. She revealed that she minored in dance when she attended UWEC, and likes to do a little bit of everything, although she particularly loves Salsa dancing. As an undergraduate student, she attended Salsa dancing night at El Patio on Water Street often. Additionally, Ernie looks forward to trips she is able to make to the Twin Cities. Growing up in Hudson, Wisconsin, she was always only a short distance away from Minnesota, where she often goes to fun restaurants.
According to Ernie, one of the most rewarding parts of her job is the positive interactions she is able to have with her students. She showed an enthusiasm in answering students’ questions not just about school, but about life. Ernie explained that she looks forward to helping students in any way she can or to lending them a listening ear. Her favorite part of the job is just getting to know her students, and she enjoys when they come to visit her in her office, so don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello!