Got Passion? Robin Bisha

August 13, 2012

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Dr. Robin Bisha has found a way to pair her love for animals with teaching. The communication studies professor’s unique approach to studying leadership involves students in the practice of animal welfare with rescue dogs. From cats and dogs to guinea pigs and fish, Bisha has spent most of her childhood and adult life around animals.

As a passionate animal welfare supporter, Bisha has created a new course that focuses on leadership and the benefits of animal companionship. Those benefits come to life in her Communication Studies 332 course Leadership For Social Change. Not only do her students have hands-on work with rescue dogs, they also serve at local adoption events and volunteer with animal welfare groups in the Seguin community.

“We can learn from the way in which we communicate with animals,” Bisha said. “We can learn skills that are relevant to our human relationships through our relationships with animals,” Bisha said. “We think about leadership in terms of business and government, but I want students to see how studying positive reinforcement with animals can open our minds when it comes to leadership within our own world.”

Bisha argues that animals can also help people with their emotional lives as they continuously learn from each other.

“There’s a lot of evidence that humans live longer and are healthier when caring for a pet,” Bisha said. “I think the connections we make with animals and the bonds we have with them definitely teach us how to be leaders and communicators in our own world. People must have trust in those who lead them. I believe Comm. 332 is a way to see how conflict resolution and building relationships with animals translate to how we interact with other humans.”

Her goal to ultimately transform followers into leaders correlates directly with the interactive nature of the class.

“The leadership skills students learn in my class are transformational,” Bisha said. “I feel when people experience superior leadership, they are more likely to become a great leader. I want students to use my class as a way to recognize their potential, what they can accomplish and how they can get the best out of themselves.”

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