Jane Pierce Saulnier is an official double lion with a BS degree in Communication, Politics & Law in 1990 and an MA degree in Speech Communication Studies in 1992. More than that, Jane is a current faculty member within Emerson College’s Communication Studies Department. Jane currently oversees the college’s Speech Program, helping coordinate and manage our robust CC100 course which all Undergraduate students are required to take.
Jane is interested in pedagogy, political communication, communication apprehension, and instructional technology. She is certified to teach ESOL and occasionally consults with small businesses on marketing and web content. She also maintains a website for dog-friendly travel in New England.
What has it been like to return to Emerson in your role as Director of the Speech Program?
Jane: “I came back as an affiliated faculty member, a role I’d held previously. I was a bit trepidatious because a lot had changed while I was gone – the college divided into schools and moved to the Common. Those fears were quickly allayed because the spirit of Emerson was the same. I was very shy, awkward, and pretty much tortured having to take four oral communication classes as an undergraduate so it’s pretty damn funny that I have the job I have. Kind of cool too. I can still recite Ozymandias from memory in the most brutal of Boston accents! I really enjoy helping students gain confidence in their ability to communicate.”
Who or what was your biggest career influence during your time as an Emerson student?
“Unquestionably Dr. Payne, the Chair of Communication Studies – then and now. I was a journalism student originally and I took his Argument & Advocacy course. As they say on SpongeBob, ‘Thirty years later….’ There’s a weird symmetry to it, I guess. Also, the late greats Walt Littlefield and Ken Crannell, among others. “
It’s always great that the career center can collaborate with you and other CC100 faculty to present the importance of good communication for students when reaching out to alumni. What’s some common advice you’d share with students about the art of communication?
“I try to encourage students to find their authentic voice in everything that they do. I also ask them to have a sense of humor – about themselves and others, to do things that make them uncomfortable, to own their stuff, and be active participants in their own lives. I also encourage them to nurture their Emerson connections the minute they step on campus.”
We all bring ourselves to work. And we all have the opportunity to reflect on areas to grow as professional womxn. What are some of the internal biases you’ve had to recognize and address so that they don’t impact on your work?
“I was raised to treat others the way I want to be treated. Honoring that is a fast-track to avoiding bias – conscious or unconscious. Everything everyone thinks, says, or does is filtered through their own frame of reference. It’s unavoidable. I’ve lived more than half of my life so I am pretty aware of my stuff! People need to be a bit kinder to themselves and each other. Every day is an opportunity to try a little harder and be a little better. “
What are some common issues you’ve noticed that womxn in their careers have to face and what has impacted you based on your individual background?
“There’s the usual stuff about pay equity, equal opportunity, work/life balance, emotional labor, impostor syndrome… It’s all pretty exhausting. I think our tendency to label things though, can sometimes be counter-productive. Our perceptions are not always accurate – back to that filter. All anyone can do is make the best of any situation they are in at any given time. There is always something to learn. “