Student Organization Makes Big Impact
By Ashleigh Schill and Brandon O'Quinn
Jerry Hudson, Ph.D., and founding dean of the College of Media & Communication, formed the Dean's Council in 2009 as a way to give students a voice directly to the dean.
"It started out being a forum for us to get together and for me to get some feedback," Hudson said. "I rarely teach classes, so I miss the student contact and hearing what is going on with them."
Tyler Patton, a junior, public relations major from Graham, Texas, and recently elected president of the Student Government Association, has served on the council since the group was founded in 2009. Patton said the requirements for serving on the council have changed. He said originally students were recommended by professors to be on the council, but an application process now has been implemented.
"When it started, it was just a ragtag group of people we knew," said Patton, "But this year we were able to include everybody by offering a formal application."
Katelyn Stanglin, a senior public relations major from Red Oak, Texas, said she truly enjoys being on the council.
"I was recommend to be on it when Dean Hudson first established the council in 2009," Stanglin said. "Since then, we have elected officers, drafted bylaws, and continued to improve the organization as a whole."
Nadia Mery, a senior public relations major and president of the council, said being a member of the Dean's Council has helped her become more acquainted with the College of Media & Communication, as well as allowed her to be more personable with Hudson.
As president of the Dean's Council, Mery said she has the responsibility of getting in touch with the members, creating and organizing each meeting agenda, as well as staying on top of every event the council holds.
"I try to be innovative with the organization and hope to establish a prestigious reputation for the council," said Mery. "We are part of the voice of mass communications and take pride in representing the dean well. "Overall, if the dean, vice president, secretary and I discuss ideas for a particular event, I then propose our ideas to the council at the following meeting," said Mery, "They give input, and we go from there."
The council comprises 24 student members drawn from the four departments of the college: journalism, electronic media and communications, public relations, and advertising. According to the council's bylaws, the goal of the council is to promote the recognition, welfare and progress of mass communications education at Texas Tech University.
"We really have a good synergy with the students of different majors," Patton said. "We are all working toward the common goal of a strong mass communications foundation."
"We really have a good synergy with the students of different majors. We are all working toward the common goal of a strong mass communications foundation."
— Tyler Patton
Lauren Locke, a sophomore mass communications student from Lubbock, serves on the council and as a senator representing the College of Media & Communication in the Student Government Association.
"The overall goal is to be a student liaison for the college and talk about all the changes that are going on," Locke said.
At the council's monthly meetings, the students and Hudson discuss issues in the college and brainstorm solutions, but Hudson said he did not want to focus only on the negative.
Stanglin said members of the council all have different opinions about the college and what should be changed in the future. "The good thing is that we are always able to agree upon a compromise," she said, "which is really important in any environment."
Mery said she held a Dean's Council meeting in February where the council discussed bylaws, Student Government Association funding, and a proposal regarding an organization membership drive intended to help students become more aware of organizations within the college.
"As a council we are informed about events and changes that occur within mass communications, and we have the opportunity to take part in several of the events," said Mery. "We also have the opportunity to voice our opinions regarding certain matters within mass communications and that, to me, is the biggest benefit of all."
Locke said her experience as a senator has shown her the benefits of meeting with the dean. She said this interaction has led her to believe each college should form a council of its own.
People give college reports through the Student Government Association, according to Locke, and she said many people express regret over not being able to meet with the dean of their college.
"So yeah, I think they should expand the councils throughout the entire university," she said.
Stanglin said next semester the council would like to have an organization fair for the college. She said many students, not just freshmen, want to get involved but do not know how.
"This fair would be a great way for individuals to meet people from our various mass communications organizations and ask any questions they may have," Stanglin said. "I'm confident the council will implement a successful organization fair in the fall of 2011."
Mery said the organization membership drive is the council's biggest proposal for this upcoming year. The organizational drive will encourage all mass communications majors to join one of the six student organizations in the college: Tech PR, the Society of Professional Journalists, AAF, Pi Delta Alpha, Kappa Tau Alpha, and the Association for Women in Communications.
"We will coordinate and invite representatives from each of the organizations to host a table in the Mass Communications Building and provide literature for their respective organizations," Mery said. "Current members will inform students about each organization to increase membership."
The current issue the council is focusing on is the move of the college to the former Business Administration Building. This transition will take place in fall of 2012.
According to Patton, the council was apprehensive about the move at first.
"But after discussing the move with Dean Hudson, we feel it's a good opportunity to increase class size and improve technology for our college," he explained.
Hudson said many of the improvements to the building were ideas proposed by the students of the council. He said the students stressed a need for more student-oriented areas around the building, resulting in lounge areas on each floor.
"I feel like it's a way to give back to the college and help to make it better for not only right now but also when I leave. I want to see it continue to be one of the best mass communications colleges in the nation."
— Lauren Locke
Locke said she sees the council as a unique opportunity for students to make an impact on the college.
"I feel like it's a way to give back to the college and help to make it better for not only right now but also when I leave," said Locke. "I want to see it continue to be one of the best mass communications colleges in the nation."
Ashleigh Schill is a senior public relations major from San Antonio, Texas. Brandon O'Quinn is a senior agricultural communications major from League City, Texas.