Michelle Widger

Senior Lecturer

Phone: (308) 865-8249   |    Email: widgerml@unk.edu

Michelle Widger

What do you do at UNK?

Bringing more than 30 years of experience to the table in marketing, developing public relations, writing, creating websites, building brands and strategizing creative packaging and messaging -- I believe in problem-solving through creativity. My lifelong goal is to bring better design to the world and teach others to find their inner-creative selves through developing innovative storytelling, building knowledge of design concepts, utilizing customer-focused branding techniques and conceptualizing a holistic approach to mapping and conveying a rhetorical message. The classes that I have taught include: Mass Media & Society, Introduction to Communication Software, Print Advertising Design, Publication Design, Public Relations, and Advertising Copywriting.

Why choose Communication at UNK?
Graduating with my degree in 1990 from Kearney State College and this department, I have worked in the fields of designing, marketing, branding and messaging since. Most recently, my work at UNK Alumni as assistant director in charge of communications. There, I witnessed first-hand the success that comes with a degree from the UNK Communication Department and the role a good professor can play in that success. Alumni cover the gambit from nationally-known screenwriters to ESPN sportscasters to CEOs to famous book writers and bloggers. As one critically acclaimed design alumni said, “The future is going to need creative minds no matter what business you’re in.”

Teaching Strategy, Philosophy, and Goals: 
After 30 years of engaging internal and external customers and students alike, my strategy is to share what I've learned in the graphic design industry through telling stories. The complete process of selecting fonts, designing graphics, and manipulating branding are sometimes nicely and sometimes chaotically packaged to convey a message, but ultimately all provide a story, a solution, or even offer an answer to a question. Ultimately, I am an explorer, a communicator, a researcher, and an idea person who solves problems and opens a door to the possibilities that can be achieved with the design.

My passion for lifelong learning - especially in watching student's ideas and creativity come to life through the sharing of ideas, building knowledge of techniques, explaining experiences learned, and overcoming obstacles. It is a must to live by the lifelong learning mantra in design to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and for building students' excitement for continuous cultivation of design development and information.

My teaching strategy, philosophy, and goals are to build student's desires and interests in this field to want to continually learn to grasp concepts, collect new techniques, and progressively improve their skills. Students become friends and even family when they enter my classroom. I use my life, work, and design experiences to pass on knowledge to students about what it takes to thrive in this ever-changing, ever-challenging business to make the subject compelling. My primary goal is to give students a solid foundation to take on the world of design for now and into the future. I believe in the potential of every student. With the ultimate goal of students walking out of my classroom better than they came in, I will integrate servant leadership as I steward them in their learning process. I want to instill the passion for lifelong learning, pride in working hard and a job is well done, and the value of teamwork as well as being able to give and accept feedback to make their projects better. Rather than being complacent and comfortable, I will commit to being the best teaching ambassador that I can be. Viewing students with optimism and without prejudice, I resolve to care for them as individuals, knowing their successes will be my successes.