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Portrait of Adam Dircksen

Adam Dircksen: Mastodon Memories

This summer series explores the campus experiences of current PFW faculty and staff who are also alumni.

By Blake Sebring

June 8, 2023

ADAM DIRCKSEN, B.A. ’00, M.A. ’02
Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication

Dircksen came to campus as an undergrad in 1996—and never left—graduating in 2000 with a degree in media and public communication and a minor in media production. He earned a master’s degree in professional communication in 2002, while at the same time, serving as a graduate teaching assistant and a peer advisor. Now he leads a CELT team of six who work with faculty and programs, providing teaching support and development, a position he’s held for six years.

Where are you from and how did you choose to go to school here?

AD: I am from about 40 minutes north of here. I live in the house I grew up in, on a small dairy farm, and went to Hamilton Community Schools. The idea of college was there, but I didn’t know anything about it. Jobs on the farm, at Subway, and at the Auburn Foundry were good motivations for me to pursue a degree. 

What car were you driving at the time? 

AD: I had a 1989 red Chevy Berretta when I started, but that didn’t last too long. It wasn’t practical. My girlfriend and I had a Geo Metro that we shared. 

Why did you pick your major?

AD: Our itty-bitty high school had a really good video production program. That’s how I chose my major, because I was really into that. I don’t know that I thought about anything else, nor did I know how to choose a major.

How did attending school here change your life?

AD: My major was communication, understanding how to work with people in ways that are mutually beneficial is something my foundation was built on as an undergrad, and further on as a grad. This has been absolutely essential, not only to any success I’ve had in my career, but with my family, with my wife, my kids—everyone. Coming to school in general and getting that kind of education has just been invaluable to my happiness, and beneficial, I hope, to the happiness of others around me. 

What kind of music were you listening to, and who was your favorite artist or band?

AD: In high school, I worked at a local AM radio station that played oldies and classic rock. So CCR, Eagles, Elvis. I enjoyed those. My music taste has always been fairly eclectic. In 1996, I liked Bon Jovi, The Beatles, and probably more country music back then. I always liked Chris LeDoux, and not many people are going to know who that is.

Were you a member of any student organizations?

AD: I think I was a student who was not aware of what opportunities were out there beyond taking courses. I red-shirted my freshman year on the soccer team and my wife played volleyball here, so we were involved in athletics. I watched a lot of volleyball, both women’s and men’s. Seats were often packed. It was an exciting environment. It still is. My wife and I will still meet up with other alums and attend a handful of matches each year.

Did you have a favorite professor, and why?

AD: I think the common theme in the teachers I liked best—Yvonne Zubovic, Marcia Dixson, Steve Carr, Irwin Mallin—was that they balanced kindness with high expectations. 

How has PFW changed for the better? 

AD: I think there are so many ways, and I’ll try to pin down one. From where I sit, I can see the commitment this campus has made to helping faculty improve their teaching. It is really impressive. I work with other campuses in the Purdue system, the IU system, and I am in contact with teaching centers across the country, and PFW’s commitment to improving teaching is second to none. I’m grateful for and proud of that.