Adieu, Professor Clark: A Thank-You Feature

“Always do your damn best– in everything you do.”—some words Professor Clark passes on to us as she announces her retirement from teaching.

Professor Dorothy “Dottie” Clark—Master Lecturer, Director of the Adjunct Writing Faculty at COM, mentor and the director of the website you’re reading this article on—is retiring after 33 years of teaching. But Dottie’s time with Boston University goes further than that. She received both her Bachelor’s in Sociology and her Master’s in Mass Communication from BU. She’s a true double Terrier.

Photo Credit Lena Bardakjian

Originally from Providence, RI, Dottie has had a passion for people since she was a little girl. She’s always been interested in culture, politics, and religion; hence, the degree in sociology. She’s passionate about the arts, including theater, music and writing, and she values time with her good friends and family dearly.

Not only has Dottie worn many hats at BU, she’s also worn multiple hats throughout her life. She’s not one to brag about the wonderful work she’s done, but I’ll gladly do it for her: After earning her undergraduate degree, she worked as a social worker for abused children. After that, she turned her focus to her writing, a life-long passion. Not only does Dottie have a passion for communicating and storytelling, but she also loves to talk. Insider scoop: her nickname as a child was ‘Talking Machine’ because she would not “shut up” – her words, not mine.

She then decided to go back to BU for her Master’s and worked in public relations once she graduated. Dottie went on to run her own freelance business, Media Wise, for nine years until she began her teaching journey here at COM.

I had the special opportunity to sit down with some familiar faces at COM who know Dottie as a colleague and as a friend. Professor Joyce Walsh shared, “Everyone needs a friend who likes to celebrate as much as Dottie.” She told me about a sweet scene she likes to look back on, when Dottie treated her for her birthday at Eastern Standard. They shared a drink as snow was falling—Professor Walsh described it as a fond memory. She admires the way Dottie balances fun with seriousness and purpose.

Working closely with Dottie through the adjunct professor group, Professor Michael Dodge disclosed how much of a mentor Dottie has been to him. “She’s touched so many people throughout her career. Dottie is a model, she embodies the best attributes of an educator: energetic, enormously creative, has a great sense of humor, and has a willingness to always go the extra mile with students. Always.” Professor Dodge added he tries to emulate how she handles teaching and the relationships she has with her students.

Finally, Dr. Edward Downes, who served as the COMmunicator director before Dottie took over in 2009, expressed Dottie’s worldwide influence: “She has a tremendous commitment to the quality of her work and her students. Consequently, she’s inspired thousands of people all over the world to become writers.

“She’s not just a teacher, she’s a master teacher. She’s mastered the art of pedagogy. She understands politics, economics, culture, society, and she brings that deep understanding—that kaleidoscopic view of the world—to her students and her classes and keeps everything fresh and new. There’s no regurgitation, every class is new and alive, in terms of what is happening outside.”

Listening to Dottie’s colleagues’  thoughtful words and anecdotes was moving for me. Along with writing this piece, their words made me reflect on my own experiences with Dottie. Selfishly, I am thankful my short time at BU coincided with Dottie’s. I’ve had the privilege of sitting in Professor Clark’s 707 class, being her Graduate Assistant for the 2021–2022 school year, and getting to know her on a personal level. My emotions while writing this special piece for the COMmunicator are both bittersweet and grateful.

Dottie has done a tremendous job at being the director for the COMmunicator. The publication started off as a printed newsletter and when Dottie took over 13 years ago, she turned it into the multimedia website it is today. She’s proud of having grown the staff and melding the COMmunicator into an outlet that provides students with the opportunity to publish their work—whether it be writing, photography, or even video.

Thank you for leaving your mark here with us at BU, COM, and the COMmunicator, Professor Clark. You have touched so many lives so far and we are seriously so lucky! We cannot wait to see what you do next, and we hope it’s the best adventure yet.

Maria V. Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Maria is a second semester Media Science graduate student and this is her second semester with the COMmunicator. She was born in Venezuela, speaks both Spanish and English, and has lived in the U.S. for 15 years now. Maria received her B.S. from Florida State University in Media Communication Studies (Go ‘Noles!) and loves going to the movies and crocheting. You will probably find her Tweeting her life away or reading up on astrology when she isn’t writing or studying!

Audrey Ritchie, Senior Editor

Audrey Ritchie is a second-semester graduate student earning her Master of Science in public relations at BU. Ritchie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in public relations and a minor in business in 2021. A life-long writer, she is excited to join the COMmunicator this semester.  In her free time, she loves reading, exploring Boston, and playing with her dog, Bear.

Lena Bardakjian, Staff Photographer

Lena Bardakjian is a junior studying Public Relations and Sociology. Originally from outside of Philadelphia, Lena has loved living in Boston. This is her second semester working with The COMmunicator. She is also involved with BU Mock Trial, PRLab, and the Armenian Students’ Association. In her free time, Lena enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, writing, thrifting, and traveling. 

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