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Indiana University Bloomington

Communication, Professional & Computer Skills

Managers Typically

Managers typically spend up to 80 percent of their time engaged in some form of written or oral communication.

Spotlights

Transforming Students into Confident Communicators

Sue Vargo
Co-director of Communication, Professional, and Computer Skills Area

“Our courses give the students a competitive edge.”

Read more CPCS spotlights >

From the first time she taught business communication as a student at the University of Dayton in 1976, Sue Vargo fell in love with teaching. “I never wanted to teach, but I needed the money. My first day, I fell in love and have never quit!

“I should have known that I would love it, as there is nothing I like more than a captive audience! More important, I felt the students’ excitement coupled with their apprehension at the prospect of speaking in front of their peers. Knowing that I might actually have an impact on their success was intoxicating for me.”

Vargo is most satisfied when she sees initially timid students emerge as confident communicators. 

“The transformation is amazing,” she says. “In this kind of class, we get to know our students very well because they are very vulnerable; we get close and become like a family.”

Vargo keeps her business communication knowledge up-to-date by attending conferences, reading recent articles, and exchanging ideas with faculty members. But her biggest inspiration comes from the students themselves. Her best classroom moment came when a painfully shy student who hadn’t been able to deliver a speech without getting sick, crying, and sitting down delivered a great speech—and received a standing ovation from her peers. 

“She later went to law school!” says Vargo. “I believe that our courses give the students a competitive edge.”

In Brief

Funniest thing a student ever said to me: “I routinely ask students to tell me what they know about me based on how I am dressed as a part of a nonverbal exercise in the beginning of the semester. One student raised his hand and said, ‘You look like the kind of woman who doesn’t spend much time in front of the mirror!’ I don’t know which was funniest—what he said, or the gasp that came out of the brand-new freshman students in the class!”

Web site I visit every day: “Does Facebook count?”

TV show I never miss: Boston Legal

Last movie I saw:Below the Same Moon: A great movie with a sweet, simple story.”

Favorite restaurant in Bloomington: “Without a doubt, Nick’s. I go every Friday with friends. It’s like Cheers for us!”

Published June 30, 2008