It isn’t every day students have the opportunity to be taught by their university president. This fall, Quincy University President Brian McGee, Ph.D., returned to the classroom, teaching Fundamentals of Public Speaking to undergraduate students.

McGee is in the final few weeks of teaching his course since the QU fall semester will end before Thanksgiving.  Like most other QU courses during the fall semester, McGee’s course has been taught in-person in a Francis Hall classroom, where masks and physical distancing are required.

“I love teaching and working with students,” said McGee. “Most public speaking students are in their first or second year at the university, and getting to know them has been a pleasure and an honor.

“In addition, I couldn’t expect many of our faculty to teach students face-to-face during a pandemic if I am not willing to do so,” said McGee.

To allow for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, QU’s classroom layouts were modified in August, and enrollment limits were lowered for some courses. Several sections of the public speaking course are taught during the year, as the course is required for all undergraduate students.

With a doctorate in communication and over two decades of experience as a university professor, McGee was a natural fit to add more teaching capacity and ensure students could take the courses they need. QU is the seventh university at which McGee has taught a public speaking course.

“It was interesting to have the university president as my professor,” said Daphne Moss, a QU student from Quincy, Ill. “I enjoyed it because the students got to know and establish a relationship with the president.”

Most QU faculty and staff, like McGee, have experienced many changes because of the pandemic.  Over the summer, many members of the faculty and staff modified classrooms and common areas to create a safer learning environment during the pandemic.  This included hand-sanitizing stations, moving furniture and adding new signage.  University rules were changed to emphasize masking and physical distancing. Sports practice and competition schedules have been altered, and in-person courses have been taught with students and faculty wearing facemasks and remaining at least six feet apart from one another.

Many QU faculty and staff members have volunteered their time to help deliver meals to students in quarantine and help organize safe ways students on campus can still have a collegiate experience.

“Attention to detail and individual student needs is understood at QU as essential to student success, with advisors, coaches, and all our faculty and staff helping students to adjust to all the changes on campus,” said McGee. “I am proud of all that staff and faculty have done to prioritize student safety and learning in these challenging times.”

Although McGee is teaching undergraduate students at QU for the first time, he has over 20 years of university teaching experience and has been a high school and college debate coach.

Before McGee became a full-time university administrator, he served as the chair of the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, which housed approximately 40 faculty and 800 undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to his time in Charleston, McGee taught at Spalding University (Kentucky), a Catholic institution, where he was the founding chair of the School of Communication and the first director of the Business Communication Graduate Program.  He also taught at Texas Tech University, Ohio State University, the University of Louisiana Monroe, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

As universities have become larger and more complicated, fewer and fewer university presidents have taught undergraduate courses. McGee is the first QU president to do so in the current century.

McGee is in his second year as the president of Quincy University.

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is celebrating 160 years as a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs integrating practical experience and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with students to design customized success plans to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. QU is a member of NCAA Division II for intercollegiate athletics. For more information, please visit or contact the Office of Community Relations at (217) 228-5275 or Quincy University. Success by Design.