Texas Tech University

Converging News

December 2016

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

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

Dear CoMC Friends:

See you soon in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco!

I am delighted to announce an ambitious new venture for Texas Tech University and the College of Media & Communication. If you know us, you realize that a substantial number of our students either come from the greater Dallas metro area or end up pursuing careers in the region after graduation. Just as our record-breaking new online master's program showed that the Texas Tech brand is attractive outside of Lubbock, we are now setting our sights on growing our student body in the familiar DFW/Waco environs.

Specifically, we have just announced the position openings for two professional professors of practice who will be based in the Dallas-Fort Worth/Waco area. Their mission will be to help us build a 2+2 program with Collin College in McKinney and McLennan Community College in Waco. Texas Tech already has established programs in which students who graduate from a two-year college seamlessly transfer to obtain their four-year BA from us. The big news is that now future communications majors in the region will, if they choose, be able to obtain their four-year degree on site in Dallas and Waco.

We are extremely excited at this new foothold in one of Texas's largest population centers and biggest media and industry markets. We have shown with our distance offerings that we can guarantee the same high quality curriculum and student support services anywhere and in any modality. We plan to keep up our tradition and bear the banner of TTU excellence with a new program in a familiar place.

Best wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

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

2016 Harris Distinguished Lecture Features Silvio Waisbord


Silvio Waisbord
Silvio Waisbord

The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication's 2016 Thomas Jay Harris Distinguished Lecture Series was held Nov. 17-18 and featured Silvio R. Waisbord, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

Kent Wilkinson, director of CoMC's Harris Institute for Hispanic and International Communication, described Waisbord—who has also gained experience as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Press/Politics—as a leading researcher of the press and politics in Latin America

“As the editor-in-chief of two major journals, he has a broad understanding of media and communication, as was reflected in two lectures he gave during his visit,” Wilkinson said. “Dean David Perlmutter and I were also eager for Dr. Waisbord to interact with our faculty and Ph.D. students regarding research and academic publishing, as they are critical to advancing quality scholarship as well as the research mission of the college and university.”

Waisbord has authored or edited 10 books and is the author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and newspaper columns. As Wilkson noted, Waisbord gave two lectures during his visit to Texas Tech: one to graduate students and one to faculty.

Magdalena Saldaña, a journalism instructor in CoMC, said she found Waisbord's lecture to the faculty both fascinating and challenging.   

“Dr. Waisbord's lecture was enlightening,” Saldaña said. “As communication scholars, we are constantly thinking of new theories and methods to develop our research, but he pushed us beyond that. He suggested new approaches to achieve a post-disciplinary status, integrating multiple communication perspectives to understand an issue as opposed to increased fragmentation of the field.”

Saldaña said she also enjoyed the lecture for graduate students because Waisbord highlighted some of the key aspects of what he referred to as “broken communication.”

“He focused on the study of communication across differences, looking at people's inability and disinterest to engage with those who think differently,” Saldaña said. “I believe that's particularly important now, when our society is divided by political and social issues. I think our students largely benefited from Dr. Waisbord's visit and his provocative thought.”

Alicia Miklos, an assistant professor in Spanish at Texas Tech, said that because of her background in cultural studies, she found Waisbord's advice on breaking communication barriers incredibly insightful.

“Dr. Waisbord's innovative lecture engaged with pressing theoretical issues for those who approach the study of communications from within or outside the discipline ‘proper,'” Miklos said. “This was, in fact, the message of his talk: that it may be fruitful to question those very disciplinary borders.”

Meet CoMC's New Career Counselor: Ali Luempert


Ali Luempert
Ali Luempert

The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication welcomed a new career counselor to its Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement in November.

Originally from Ohio, Ali Luempert earned her bachelor's degree in recreation management from The Ohio State University in 2004. After working in campus recreation at multiple universities, she came to Texas Tech in 2011, where she held titles such as assistant director of aquatics and senior academic adviser.

“I have had the opportunity to mentor student employees when I was a manager,” Luempert said. “Then in academic advising I was able to help students in academic recovery work on getting back on track to be successful. I also helped students find their best fit major in which they would be happy and successful.”

Luempert obtained her master's in higher education administration with a graduate certificate in college student counseling from Texas Tech in 2016. She said she applied to be CoMC's career counselor because she saw it as the perfect way to draw on her past experience and to apply it to a focused group of students.

“I have always found these student interactions to be very rewarding,” Luempert said. “I truly enjoy working with students, and I am dedicated to student development and to advocating for student success. The fact that the College of Media & Communication has a student success center shows the college's dedication to these same values, and I think that makes it a mutually good fit.”

Aleesa Ross, director of the Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement, said Luempert is perfect for the position because she has the ability to think critically and to come up with new approaches to current problems.

“Ali is a natural at interacting with students and building relationships,” Ross said. “That makes her perfect for the career counselor position. Ali came to us already having a background in working with students, and that made her transition into this role very easy.”

Ross said students in the college are lucky to have an in-house career counselor like Luempert because she can focus on their varied communication skill sets and can help them see how these abilities are transferable across many different industries as well as within the media world.

“CoMC students don't even have to leave our building to get career guidance and advice, and we love being able to offer that service to our students,” Ross said. “Plus, having someone in the college devoted to this very important task benefits our students tremendously.”

Luempert said that in her role as career counselor, she is available as a resource to students who need help developing their resumes and cover letters, finding jobs and internships, and perfecting interviewing skills.

“The students here are awesome,” Luempert said. “It has been really wonderful to learn about the multitude of opportunities available to CoMC students. Everyone is doing such amazing things and have such different directions they want to take their majors. It's really exciting to be around such inspired and motivated students. I love being able to have conversations with students about their plans and where they hope to see themselves in the future. I want to help them get there!”

Two New Full-Time CoMC Faculty Positions Created; Based in Waco and DFW Area


The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication recently created two full-time faculty positions for assistant professors of practice that will be based in Waco and the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

CoMC Dean David Perlmutter said the new faculty members will be an integral part of the college's mission to grow and to create a network that extends beyond the Lubbock area.

“This is the beginning of a new and exciting transformative chapter for our college,” Perlmutter said. “We can now reach students who, because of personal, family, financial, and other circumstances, could not matriculate in Lubbock. In addition, the growing and stronger ties with the business, government, nonprofit, and alumni communities in the DFW-Waco metro area and beyond will be of great benefit to all our students for their studies and their future.”

The professors of practice will be based at community colleges in Dallas and Waco, where they administer the “2+2 degree” program. This includes teaching online in CoMC's undergraduate and professional M.A. programs and on site in hybrid classes. They will be based at existing offices on site and will also help CoMC recruit for programs there and in Lubbock.

Texas Tech Interim Provost Michael Galyean said he thinks the process of establishing CoMC faculty members in Dallas and Waco will serve as a benefit for the students at each campus.

"We are excited that the College of Media & Communication will be expanding Texas Tech's footprint by offering new degree programs at regional sites,” Galyean said. “Placing faculty members at these locations will be a great way to ensure the success of the programs and provide the quality student-faculty interaction that is a hallmark of a Texas Tech degree.”

Lewis Snell, director of the TTU at Waco program, said he hopes the additional faculty will help facilitate students who want to pursue bachelor's degrees in Waco, followed by online graduate degrees from Texas Tech.

“We feel fortunate that Dr. Perlmutter, Dr. (Todd) Chambers, and Dr. (Kevin) Stoker have selected Waco as one of the regional sites to expand,” Snell said. “We have seen a recent increase in enrollment and think that any new degree options will help maintain the growth in central Texas.”

Melanie Hart, vice provost for Worldwide eLearning at Texas Tech, said she sees this addition as a way to strengthen the partnerships between community colleges and Texas Tech.

“They allow excellent students to receive a high quality Texas Tech degree without having to relocate to Lubbock,” Hart said. “Many of the students at our regional sites have other responsibilities, such as families and jobs, and they often would not be able to continue their education if it were not for these partnerships. I am very appreciative of the College of Media & Communication's willingness to offer new degree programs for these students.”

For more information on specific qualifications and details on how to apply, please visit: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/comc/about/employment/assist-prof-pract-media-comm.php.

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