Faculty Feature: Meet Linda Schmitmeyer, School of Communication Instructor and Author Monday, October 29, 2018
Linda Schmitmeyer, M.S., has more than 20 years of communications experience in the classroom, newsroom and in public relations. In 2013, Schmitmeyer joined Point Park University's part-time faculty teaching PR Writing in the School of Communication. She recently authored her first memoir – Rambler: A Family Pushes Through the Fog of Mental Illness – which is an intimate and forthright look at her experience of raising children with a husband who has a severe mental illness. Schmitmeyer's career constant, she says, is her love for writing.
Meet Linda Schmitmeyer
Tell us about your professional experience in the communications industry.
My most recent full-time position was as senior director of news at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to that I was the features editor at The Butler Eagle. I began my career as a high school English teacher, and for many years taught writing part-time at several different community colleges. In addition to teaching at Point Park University, I also work part-time as a freelance editor and writer for university alumni publications.
How do you incorporate your real-world experiences into the classes you teach at Point Park?
My professional life provided me with numerous experiences to share with my Point Park students. At Pitt, I oversaw all media relations writing – from press releases to tweets – which I frequently reference as a way of enriching student understanding. Even today, as I publicize my new memoir, I talk about the communication plan I developed as well as the strategic writing involved in my effort to promote Rambler. I think these real-world events enhance the students' classroom experience.
What have you enjoyed most as a part-time instructor at Point Park?
The students. I love the dynamics of classroom learning.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mental Illness Awareness Week is held in October and is a good time for people to talk openly about living with mental illness. The stigma associated with mental illness is tricky to overcome because the symptoms involve a person’s behavior and thinking, making it difficult for people to think of the fluctuations they see in a person as an illness. Neuroscientists are making progress in diagnosing and understanding these disorders, but research is slow to affect how we think about them. Eliminating stigma is most often achieved on a personal level, and that’s why my husband, Steve, and I feel it’s important to share our family’s story.