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Six years ago, Dr. Jane Dailey made an epic decision to leave her position at Marietta as an Associate Professor of Communication to pursue another lifelong dream: thru-hiking the entire 2,190-plus-mile Appalachian Trail.

“All in all, I did it in just under six months,” Dailey says. “It was crazy and it was rewarding and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was something that I had always wanted to do.”

Once that goal was checked off her list, Dailey began teaching at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. When an opening came up in Marietta’s Communication Department, she jumped at the chance to return, and she is back as an Associate Professor of Communication and Public Relations. One of the biggest changes from the time she last taught at Marietta is the merging of the Communication and Media Studies programs into one department in 2016.

“When I was here before (2007-14), I was classified in the Media Department, which was in McKinney, but I also taught Crisis Communication for the Communication Department — so I was teaching in both departments,” she says. “Now that they are together, which makes sense, I am still teaching that way but now it’s under one structure.”

What hasn’t changed is the support from her colleagues, something she always found special about Marietta. “I can’t imagine a better group to work with,” she says. “I am thrilled to be back.”

Dailey is happy to be at an institution that values the close interactions between students and faculty, and emphasizes the development of strong communication skills regardless of major. “My past professional work was working with scientists and engineers, geologists,” she says, “and I can’t tell you the number of times I had them come to me and say, ‘I wish I would have had more communication courses, even a basic public speaking course or a writing course.’ They were really good at writing scientific information but they struggled to be able to write in a way for the public to understand and to be able to communicate in a way using plain language. Marietta sees that and acknowledges that our students are going to leave and they’re going to be engaged in a lot of different things and different people throughout their career — not just one single specialty.”

Department Chair Lori Smith was delighted to announce that Dailey was rejoining the department and says her expertise and industry experience make her a valuable faculty member because she provides students with real-world examples and extensive knowledge about public relations.

“She just enhances the wonderful group of faculty members that we already have, and everyone is so happy to have her back,” Smith says. “I know she will continue her excellence in classroom teaching and advising, as well as provide her students with many experiential learning opportunities. Besides, I know if someone can accomplish the goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail, they can do anything!”