Glimpse of Gil
Logan Qualls | reporter
A man of many hats, Gil Cooper is not a new face at Pittsburg State University.
Joining the Communication Department in 1992, Cooper has taught a number of courses over the years.
“This is the start of my 22nd year teaching at Pittsburg State University,” Cooper said. “Initially, my contract was only for three years.”
Before coming to Pitt State, Cooper was the director of speech and theatre at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri.
A speech generalist, Cooper focuses on presentational communication, small-group communication, speech communication and communication education. Cooper is also an active member of Pitt State’s theater faculty, directing a number of shows over his tenure at PSU.
He says that his first experience with theater was at a very early age. At a summer program for kindergarten-age kids, his first show was “The Magic Cow.”
“I don’t remember anything about it, except that I had a lot of fun,” Cooper said.
That debut led to a lifetime affinity for acting and directing.
Cooper says that defining a favorite role from his extended career over the years is easier said than done.
“I always have difficulty with narrowing things down, and I think part of it is because I always see the world in shades of gray.”
He was able, however, to divulge that the role he’s always wanted to play is Iago from Shakespeare’s “Othello.”
He says that he’s always enjoyed the complexity of villains.
Though he teaches many courses, Cooper says he doesn’t play favorites.
“Different classes are pleasing for different reasons.”
He added that he enjoys teaching the classes of smaller sizes as they offer more opportunities to get to know students.
“I really like connecting with students,” he said.
Cooper says he feels his time at Pitt wouldn’t have been nearly enjoyable or rewarding without the support from his colleagues.
“I’ve enjoyed working in this department,” he said. “I have great colleagues.”
Cooper also teaches the careers capstone course in the Communication Department. He says he often reminds the students that money isn’t everything.
He tells his students, “Don’t think about the money. Think about what you’re going to be doing and who you’re going to be surrounded by, because a positive, supportive work environment is… it’s hard to calculate its value. But it is definitely valuable.”
Cooper added that he likes to offer advice for communication majors and all college students.
“You need to realize that you have to have flexibility,” he said.
He added that communications has a wide breadth of ideas and applications yet the process often remains the same. Through a variety of contexts and mediums, the need to understand the process is vital.