Faculty Snapshot: Liz Sills
Dr. Liz Sills is assistant professor of Communication Studies in Northern’s College of Arts and Sciences.
As a Communication Studies professor, Sills hopes to give her students the skills to communicate effectively, as well as the power that comes with effective self-expression.
“Communication Studies encompasses everything. Think about it: Are you ever not communicating?” Sills said. “I hope they use the power of communication to be good people, and to make the world a good place to live.”
Originally from Kokomo, Ind., Sills was pre-law throughout her time as an undergraduate.
“I went to college with the primary goal of becoming someone who could help people and fight for justice in the world,” Sills said. “When it came time to graduate, though, I realized that teaching would be a happier way for me to use my particular skill set to achieve my goals. After I made that decision I never looked back.”
Sills’ favorite part of the Communication Studies program at NSU is that it’s all about free and open discussion, as well as taking new materials and exploring it with fellow students and professors.
DJ Sills and Her Lighthearted Philosophers
Before she was a professor, Sills was once a DJ with two radio shows. On one show, Sills made comedic political commentary, and gave relationship advice on the other. She would also DJ dances and emcee community events.
Sills was also a sexual assault prevention advocate on a college campus in rural Montana, where she would coordinate educational events as well as serving as a domestic violence first responder through a local community support center.
“Emotionally, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” said Sills. “But— I am a much better person for the experience.”
In her free time, Sills is also a member of a working group of scholars called Lighthearted Philosophers’ Society. There they study comedy and its impacts, as well as how they define comedy and humor.
“We get to look at how humor helps us interpret the world, and how humor can operate in different settings,” Sills said. “My current project, inspired in part by South Dakota history, involves frontier comedy and how its legacy lives on today in history-themed tourist destinations.”
Sills will be teaching the material she gathers during said project in a Comedy and Humor class in the coming spring semester, where students will learn about the history of comedy and its genres, and turn what they’ve learned into a stand-up routine they’ll perform at a local coffee shop.