By: David Harrington
Adjunct professors play a significant role and are often a perfect fit for the course or courses they teach. At the University of Sioux Falls, adjunct professor Cara Hetland brings 30-plus years of working as a journalist. When Hetland started working for South Dakota Public Broadcasting in Sioux Falls, their station studio was part of the University of Sioux Falls Jeschke Center. Hetland’s broadcast expertise working for SDPB and other media outlets, made her an ideal adjunct for the Media Studies program. The radio station has since moved to their Phillips Avenue location across from Falls Park, but Hetland continues to teach. “The best part of teaching is seeing the light bulb shine bright in students. When that love of writing kicks in. For me, teaching is sharing my passion. I hope it shows that I have passion and seeing it passed on.” Hetland currently teaches three core classes for Media Studies: Media Writing, Media Survey, and Media Issues & Law.
Hetland’s love of working in journalism comes from a talent show she performed in during elementary school. “When I was in the fifth grade, I wanted to be in the talent show. I had no talent, but my mother convinced me to recite a poem on stage. So, I did the children’s book Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I presented it, and I was fabulous.” What happened next was that a local news station in Omaha had called all the schools to participate in an open call for an all-kids news show. The principal of Hetland’s elementary school chose her to participate, and she won. By the eighth grade, you could no longer participate in the news show. But for those two years, Hetland learned all about reporting and television reporting. Hetland’s creative writing teacher in high school telling her to stay focused on writing, was the last push that convinced her to major in broadcast news at Drake University.
Hetland advises future journalism majors. “It’s not fake. I’m seeing fewer people wanting to get into the journalism profession. We have been given a bad reputation if you’re a lover of learning. Where else do you have to know a little about many things and the stories you get to tell? There is no other profession like it. It’s not fake. We have standards and ethics, and we don’t lie. If you do lie, you get fired.” When Hetland is not teaching or working at SDPB, she enjoys the excitement of being a grandma-to-be, reading romance novels, watching Hallmark movies, and loving the idea of crafting. “I like to craft but have more fails than successes, but the process is always fun,” Hetland says.