Bergedick filling big shoes, unveils new course

Is it possible for a one-year replacement to fill Castleton icon Bob Gershon’s shoes? Jody Bergedick, assistant professor of communications, said she doesn’t even try.

“Bob’s not replaceable,” Jody said, “I’m just me.”

Bergedick speaks very highly of the Castleton students she has been working with for half a semester. She said she never expected the students to be as talented and committed as they are, but added that they are also unfortunately big procrastinators.

She spoke of the Video 2 kids’ lack of motivation when it came to passing in the news stories. She would check the e-mail half an hour before class, and the box would be empty, and suddenly before class, it was filled. She wishes students would motivate themselves to hand in the homework earlier.

But she said even when they are lacking motivation, they seem to always pull through with great work.

And students in her classes seem to have warmed up to her assuming Gershon’s position.

“She’s really nice, (but) gives out too many compliments and not enough criticism,” student Dave Frederick said while unicycling around the WIUV radio station lounge. “I mean, she’s pretty confident in our abilities. She pretty much lets me and Adrian (Hill) take over.”

Mat Tutlhill spoke highly of Bergedick saying “I think she’s great. Like she tells us what to do and then sits back and lets us learn it on our own. She’s easy to talk to and easy to go up to and ask for help. She’s not afraid to joke around and makes her classes enjoyable to be around.”

Although praised for her abilities to teach and foster creativity, some students feel that Gershon had the certain criticism qualities unique to him.

“She’s a little more free flow,” Hill said. “I wish there was more criticism, Bob’s personal criticism. Bob got more people in a nervous state,” he said reminiscing about the little notes Gershon would leave on his student’s papers.

Real world plans

Often with a new professor, comes new ideas and opportunities for students. Bergedick, despite less than a semester under her belt, is planning a new service learning course for next semester. The class will have a limited student capacity, but for students who plan to work in the filming industry, the class could prove invaluable.

Bergedick explained how the class would be run as a business and that she would act as the manager.

She gave an example of what the class may offer as far as real-world experiences. Say the Poultney Historical Society wants to do a small ad promoting the area and they come to an agency like the one the class will be acting as. They sit down and describe that they want their ad to start with a beautiful sweeping helicopter shot of the area, but then they explain that they only have $5 to spend.

Students in her service learning class will have to learn how to deal with clients like this. She said this happens more than you would think, and that it’s their job to come up with other methods that would make great work, but at a cheaper cost. The object is to keep the client happy.

“One thing about the real world is how to deal with clients, people, cast, crew and production,” she said. “We are going to run it like a company.”

Not all rosy

When asked about any improvements that could be done to the communication department or the TV studio, Bergedick said there is a lack of money in the department to make improvements. Hill and Frederick nodded in agreement.

“They got an old-ass Mac for the teleprompter that keeps crashing when you bring up the Internet on it, and they [the school] took away the video-mag e-mail. It’s really ridiculous. Jodi had to set up a hot-mail account for the video-mag feeds she gets,” Hill said with a chuckle. “The school needs to spend some money on the communication department, we have an under funded comm. department.”

Bergedick also elaborated about the TV studios needs.

“The equipment is older than me,” she said, calling the studio rather “sketchy.”

Money is a problem in most departments and Bergedick said she understands that, but the need for more equipment is great. She also said that it’s almost more important to get more equipment rather than new equipment.

“It’s more about content, the shots, how you edit. But there are not enough cameras. We could use more, not better,” she said.

When Gershon returns in August Bergedick plans to go back to work for Peg T.V. in Middlebury. She said she enjoys the work and wants to get back. She has been working two days a week as the youth coordinator for the company and said she enjoys exposing young children to the media and developing a little media literacy among Vermont’s youths.

Bergedick is enjoying her time here at Castleton, and is clearly trying to make an impression.

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