Faculty Spotlight: Joanne Giampa
Program: Travel, Tourism and
While learning about waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes and travel schedules is important in Joanne Giampa's Travel, Tourism and Event Planning classes, so is the well-being of her students.
Giampa, professor/coordinator of College of DuPage's Travel, Tourism and Event Planning program since 2000, acknowledges that while "there is a lot to see in this world, that almost underlies what I am teaching my students. I am helping them to find themselves. I try to build their self-esteem and confidence."
Giampa began working in the travel industry with Jefferson Travel in Chicago on Jan. 6, 1972. She was hired to teach at COD on Jan. 6, 1980, and was promoted to department coordinator on Jan. 1, 2000.
"I like the travel industry because you can live vicariously through your clients. When I was investigating where my clients wanted to go and what they wanted to see, I placed myself in their position and thought, 'Hmmm, what would I want to do if I was going to this destination?'
"Over the years, I have had fantastic opportunities to take trips myself, so I was able to see sights up close and personal. I would relate these experiences to my clients, which brings it all to life and actually makes the world a little bit smaller."
While Giampa's ultimate goal is to find jobs for her students, she also strives to help her students become better people. In fact, she offers a number of classes that do just that. For example, there's a Travel Sales and Customer Service class that helps her students relate to people, develop rapport with potential customers, improve their communication skills and learn excellent customer service.
Giampa teaches her students about e-mail etiquette, how to write business letters and how to improve their speaking and writing abilities.
"I help them with their computer skills and show them how to work on Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We work on how to make group presentations and even how to dress. I help their self-esteem and I teach respect for employers and colleagues," she explained. "So when someone leaves me, they know how to handle themselves in the business world."
And her style is paying off.
"I have students who write or call me and say, 'You improved my life. You made me a better person. I know I am better because I was in your class.' That is very rewarding."
What is most rewarding to Giampa, however, is when she helps students find jobs. "I belong to more than 10 different clubs and organizations, and the sole purpose of my involvement with those groups is to find my students jobs," she explained.
For example, one of Giampa's students expressed an interest in adventure tourism. Giampa's myriad contacts paid off when she connected the student with a friend who owns an adventure travel company. The end result was that the student was hired.
"I hope that my students take from my classes a love of learning about and appreciating different cultures. I want my students to leave me realizing that the world is a small place, that it is a global community and that we must be aware of the environment.
"But my greatest satisfaction is when they tell me that they are just a better person because they took my classes."
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL
60137 (630) 942-2800
2012 College of DuPage