Texas Tech University

Converging News

October 2015

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear CoMC Friends:

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

While universities should be run like a business in areas such as payroll and risk management, we never lose sight of the fact that we are a nonprofit charged with a higher calling: educating students to be successful, productive and ethical citizens. That said, as a college we are concerned about making sure that we attract those students who will benefit from majoring with us.

Almost a year ago we formed a Marketing and Recruiting team made up of faculty and staff. This team meets weekly, endeavoring to make sure the college is effectively and convincingly telling our story to our constituent audiences -- mainly high school students and their parents. A few numbers will give you some insight into how much effort we are putting into this project. In January of this year, our recruiters visited more high schools in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado than in all of last year. We have sponsored or created an unprecedented number of recruiting events from mixers and tours for high school guidance counselors to sponsoring state-wide high school professional events like debate tournaments to the day-to-day greeting of individual high schoolers and their parents visiting Texas Tech.

We produce a huge amount of material across all platforms. We have created two groups of students who help us with peer-to-peer marketing. Our goal: describe all the exciting careers, skills and adventures our majors acquire and pursue. We point out how our graduates enter an almost infinite variety of careers, many in non-media companies, nonprofits and government agencies. We also emphasize how our majors, according to our own students, are flexible and versatile – as is proven by how our alumni reinvent themselves and create new career paths as the economy, business and technologies change.

I now can say with pride that our "sales" efforts seem to have paid off this fall. From Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 our undergraduate enrollment was up about 9 percent; our graduate enrollment was up 31 percent; and our undergraduate and graduate semester credit hours (the amount of class time students take) were up an average of 60 percent. We know that our job will never be done because each year a new set of parents and high schoolers will appraise our value, but we are very proud of this initial success as a validation of both the content and the perception of our college and our majors.

Best Wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean

College of Media & Communication Sees Near-Record Enrollment Numbers


Enrollment numbers for Fall 2015 are soaring in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, with a total of 1,620 students, which both surpasses the previous year's number and sets a near-record high.

Todd Chambers, Ph.D., associate dean for Undergraduate Affairs, credits the rise to the fact that more students are learning the meaning behind the phrase “My Adventure. My Degree. My CoMC.”

“In the College of Media & Communication, you're not defined by your major. It's a very versatile degree,” Chambers said. “I think that's the message we're getting out and getting in front of students. We have all different kinds of degrees that are great matches for different kinds of students.”

Of the 1,620 students, there are 160 in the graduate program and 1,460 in the undergraduate program. The graduate program includes 20 online students, 92 mass communications master's students, 36 mass communications doctoral students, and 12 communications studies master's students.

Out of the undergraduate students, 271 are majoring in advertising, 168 are majoring in communication studies, 273 are majoring in electronic media & communication, 197 are majoring in journalism, 115 are majoring in media strategies, and 436 are majoring in public relations.

Along with the increase in enrollment, the college has also seen an increase in outreach.

Chambers said that CoMC representatives visited more high schools in the 2014-15 school year than ever before and are currently on track to break that record once again in 2015-16.

Student recruiters Emily Balke (BA public relations, 2010), and Candace Trevino (BA public relations, 2014), are in charge of heading up the recruiting events, meeting with new students who come to tour the college, and training CoMC's student ambassadors.

“Our mission when we go to a high school or a community college is to go out and recruit high-achieving students who are interested in studying in our program,” Balke said. “We want to recruit those students who have a passion for communication and who are going to do awesome things while they're here at Texas Tech.”

Balke said she started working at CoMC in January 2012, and she launched a student ambassadors program in the fall of that year to give prospective students an opportunity to network with current students. Trevino was a part of the inaugural group of student ambassadors, and she stayed with the program until she was hired as a recruiter.

“I loved being a student ambassador and loved sharing my story with all kinds of students and parents,” Trevino said. “I've been in the position of student recruiter for a year, but I've been recruiting ever since I got here. And I plan on recruiting my whole life for Texas Tech.”

Trevino said she thinks the most exciting part of recruiting students for CoMC is getting to plant the seeds of interest, before the prospective students set foot on campus.

“I think the most exciting part is being able to start that contact and to invest in future Red Raiders before they ever set foot on campus,” Trevino said. “We get to plant the seed, and it's amazing to watch that grow when they visit campus, when they come to orientation, and then when they start the first day of school.”

Chambers noted that one of the more important things about the soaring enrollment numbers is that the college is seeing growth in areas that haven't experienced an increase in a while, such as advertising and communication studies.

“We have some wonderful opportunities, and everything is pointing upwards. I was very excited about this year, and now I'm even more pumped about what the fall of 2016 is going to look like,” Chambers said.

Students Attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference

By Vanessa Ledesma and Kaitlin Bain

Vanessa Ledesma with Carlos Monter
Vanessa Ledesma with Carlos Monter of CNN en Espanol


Thanks to the College of Media & Communication and my parents, I had the opportunity to attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference for the Society of Professional Journalists in Orlando, Fla., in September. It was an amazing experience where I had the chance to network and build connections with industry leaders such as Fox Latino, CNN and NBC News.

I was able to receive critiques of my résumé and my news reel, as well as get feedback on how to improve what I was currently doing. I was able to meet with a few of the news directors of CNN, which has always been my dream network. They watched my news reels, gave me direct feedback, and then had an actual conversation with me about different things changing how they are hiring people now.

The SPJ conference hosted multiple sessions to discuss current news topics. I was able to sit in on one session where we discussed Hispanic voter trends and the upcoming election. We discussed at length the way Donald Trump's comments will influence the number of Hispanics who will take action at the polls.

Vanessa Ledesma with Carolyn Salazar
Vanessa Ledesma with Carolyn Salazar of FOX News Latino

The opportunities provided to me helped boost my confidence and journalistic courage. I sat down with Fox Latino Senior Editor Carolyn Salzar, and I gained knowledge about the Hispanic community on a national scale. She helped me to understand that not being bilingual wouldn't keep me from becoming just as successful as her.

The best take-a-way I received from this conference was gaining an understanding of what the media industry is looking for in a person they hire. I was able to get my foot in the door and meet with people who understand the life of a journalist. Receiving real world advice is something that I have learned can take someone a long way. It also helped me gain an understanding of the curriculum we are taking at CoMC. Being an innovative storyteller is what top networks are looking for, so it was reassuring to know the exact things we are being taught are the skills we need in the field.

I am so thankful I have the support system willing to send me to this conference and believe in me enough to give me this opportunity to get closer to my dreams. This was an eye-opening experience that I wish every journalism student had the opportunity to attend.


Kaitlin Bain
Kaitlin Bain


During September, I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Fla., to represent the Texas Tech chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the annual Excellence in Journalism Conference. The conference is an opportunity for both student and professional journalists to come together and learn from other professionals about different topics within the journalism field.

SPJ also uses the conference as an opportunity to hold national meetings and national business sessions. I was able to attend business sessions for SPJ, serve as Texas Tech's voting delegate, and attend sessions to learn more about topics to help better myself as a journalist.

On the personal side, my favorite session I attended was one about covering protests and unrest. It was a panel discussion with three journalists who were familiar with covering protests as well as one professional who specializes in the First Amendment.

One of the journalists on the panel was Wesley Lowery, a reporter with The Washington Post and one of the first journalists to be arrested as a result of his coverage of the Ferguson, Mo., protests.

I aspire to work as a reporter in the Middle East, so to hear stories and tips from journalists who cover major unrest at home was interesting to me. It also gave me the opportunity to think about challenges regarding the First Amendment that face journalists at home instead of just in a foreign country.

From an SPJ perspective, the best session I was able to attend was one for campus chapter leaders. Executive board members from SPJ campus chapters all over the country were able to come together to share ideas and ask questions about problems they are having within the chapter.

As we are looking to rebuild the chapter here at Texas Tech, it was great to hear new ideas from other chapters that we can hopefully implement here at Texas Tech.

I am excited I was able to go! Attending the conference was a great experience for me, from meeting professional journalists and networking, to getting new ideas for SPJ, to learning how the society works at a national level. I was able to make connections with other student journalists that I will continue to use throughout my collegiate and professional career. I look forward to hearing more about their experiences and to learn from others who are able to attend in the future.

Advertising Student Interns with Paramount Pictures


One advertising student in the College of Media & Communication spent her summer gaining experience in the real world with the internship of a lifetime.

Alex Stedman, a senior advertising major from Austin, Texas, interned in the music department of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood during the summer of 2015, and she said it was an experience she will never forget.

“It was a really great experience and it was super fun,” Stedman said. “I worked in the music department at Paramount, and I learned a lot about the business affairs side of production, with licensing, research and the post-production side of music.”

Stedman was born in Los Angeles, and she said returning to the area was something she had always hoped to do. But her adventures didn't begin there. Stedman found out that she was selected for an interview for the Paramount internship while she was studying abroad in Seville, Spain, during the Spring 2015 semester.

“I was born in LA, and I have wanted to work with Paramount ever since I was little,” Stedman said. “I always wanted to go back and test the waters to see if I wanted to live there.”

Stedman said she was one of three interns at Paramount, and their positions rotated on a weekly basis. Every week, one intern would work as an assistant to Jason Richmond, the vice president of Motion Picture Music & Marketing, and the other two would put together “one sheets” with information about artists, their producers and their record labels.

During her internship, Stedman worked on soundtracks for movies such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Zoolander 2.” She said she also met a few celebrities on Paramount's lot, including musician Usher, actor Andy Buckley, and the cast of the TV series “Modern Family.”

Stedman, who has also had experience working at the Austin Film Society, said she ideally would like to work in the film industry, in either marketing or advertising.

When it comes to advice for fellow students, Stedman said she would encourage them to be persistent and relentless when pursuing internships.

“Be fearless and just go for it, because you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take,” Stedman said. “Apply for everything, and have confidence even if you think you can't do it, because I honestly had no idea what I was walking into with this internship, but I said ‘yes' and figured it out as I went along.”

Day in the Life: Debra Sanderson

See what one of our academic advisers, Debra Sanderson, does in her day to day routine here at the college. Start by clicking on the arrow on the first picture to view the slideshow!

Debra working on her computerDebra sitting and talking with a studentDebra sitting and talking with a studentDebra handing a student a sheet with their classesDebra and Rose taking a walk outside the buildingDebra and Rose sitting outside on a benchDebra getting some food out of the fridgeDebra pouring some water into a cupDebra making copies at a copy machineDebra and Rose sitting outside on a bench

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