Most college professors, staff and administrators until very recently would say of
their students' parents, “They are welcome to campus on move-in day, Family Weekend,
and commencement.” But it is no secret that many of us who work in higher education
had and have a wary (and even weary) attitude toward direct parental “involvement.”
While volunteering, collaborating with teachers, attending meetings, and generally
hanging out in K-12 education is the norm, “A student's mom is on the phone” in a
college context usually means trouble. Stereotypes of helicopter parents and students
stunned by their first B+ are not without foundation in reality. Moreover, college
students are adult citizens: Part of their professional, social and personal maturation
depends on being separated from “home” physically and intellectually.
However, we are entering a new and different age and need to rethink the separation
paradigm. First, it is simply a fact that college students today are much more intimately
connected with their parents than ever before. Whether via Facebook updates or texting,
parents are continually aware of (some) of the campus activities of their children—from
“I'm really worried about the exam on Thursday” to “Do you think I should join a sorority?”
Second, parental investment in a college education is massive. The college major,
career, and even course choices of students may affect their prosperity for the rest
of their lives. Last, across America's campuses mental health and stress issues among
students are soaring. Many kids are in trouble and need help from all concerned parties,
including parents. The stakes are simply too high for modern families to just drop
off their children in the dorm and hope it all works out.
For these reasons and more, the College of Media & Communication is taking a new approach,
intending to build partnerships with parents while still nurturing the independent
advancement and development of our students. A few weeks ago, Ms. Joyce Zachman, Executive Director of the Texas Tech Parents Association, met with most of the advising, marketing, recruiting and leadership staff of our
college. [See story below.] I had corresponded with Ms. Zachman and met her before; we both saw the need for
less suspicion and distance and more ideas for collaboration. As she puts it, “My
goal for parent associations is to shift the focus from parent involvement (doing
to) to engagement (doing with): ‘How can I best support my son/daughter through this
I agree. For one thing, who better than another parent to brief parents on the differences
in expectations in colleges today, versus those in their own time? So we are planning
to move forward on a series of projects where parents and college professors, support
staff, and administrators can work together for the success of our students.
It is a novel era with no road map. But that more or less describes the world and
the economy today. We welcome the prospect of developing pathfinding methods and activities
that will make college a more sane and fruitful experience for everyone.
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. Professor and Dean
Junior PR Major Places in Final Two of PRWeek Student of the Year Awards
Public relations major Nicole Lundberg was named one of the top two finalists in the 2016 PRWeek Student
of the Year competition, marking the second year in a row that a student from the
Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication has made it to the final
Lundberg, a junior PR and honors student from Albuquerque, N.M., said she initially
decided to enter the competition, which highlights the talents of the country's top
public relations students, to gain experience.
“My thought was that I was doing it to learn how the competition worked and to give
it my best shot this year, and that next year I would come in and have a really solid
campaign,” Lundberg said. “But apparently it went better than anticipated, which is
Sun Lee, Ph.D., who was Lundberg's professor in Public Relations Strategies in fall 2014 and International
Public Relations in fall 2015, made an announcement about the competition at the beginning
of the semester.
“I was thinking about encouraging Nicole, even before she came to me,” Lee said. “I
saw her in my PR Strategies class, and then I saw her competing in the PR Showdown last spring, and I noticed that she is talented and has a lot of strength in this
type of competition.”
CoMC's first entry in the Student of the Year contest was in 2014, when Katie McKee
(BA public relations, 2014) made it to the top five. After her successful debut, the
bar was set, and Lee said she was confident that other Texas Tech students could achieve
the same accomplishment.
The competition asked participants to create a campaign for Toyota that would help
it increase Toyota Prius sales in the Hispanic demographic. Lundberg said she worked
with Lee, who acted as her mentor throughout the process, to perfect a survey that
would give more insight into the needs of the target market.
“We did a lot of marketing research, and I think that was something that really set
my campaign apart,” Lundberg said. “I created a survey, Dr. Lee helped me disseminate
it, and we got over 200 results back. Then we sat down and we analyzed all of the
results, and using that, we identified some key issues.”
Lundberg said the research indicated that the target market was 30-year-old dads within
the Hispanic demographic, and, using that, she created a campaign pitch that catered
to families who would benefit from the efficient gas mileage offered by the Prius.
“A Toyota Prius gets 600 miles to a tank of gas, which is pretty significant,” Lundberg
said. “So I created a ‘600-mile adventure,' which was a competition where families
could submit entries to take a 600-mile road trip, and Toyota would sponsor the competition,
giving the best entries opportunities to travel, and to blog about those travels,
and then using the blogs as media content for traditional and social media.”
After submitting her campaign in December, Lundberg said she received an email notifying
her that she made it to the top five in January. The next task was to pitch the campaign
to a member of PRWeek's staff who was posing as a journalist.
“Right before the pitch, the whole department got behind me. It was really cool,”
Lundberg said. “We are so blessed with a wonderful college where our professors care
After a 4-minute pitch over the phone, Lundberg later found out she made the top two,
and she submitted a crisis response for the final round of the competition. As a finalist,
she will travel to New York in March for PRWeek's annual awards ceremony, where she
will find out if she won the competition.
Lundberg, who currently works as the student assistant for academic communications
for the university's vice president of research, said she completed her campaign as
a full-time student, while working a total of three jobs and being involved in various
on-campus organizations such as CoMC student ambassadors, the dean's student council,
honors ambassadors and chancellor's ambassadors.
“It employed everything I had learned in my classes, but it was completely separate
and in my free time,” Lundberg said. “Texas Tech has a phenomenal PR program that
really sets students up to succeed. I would advise other students to take advantage
of it. If you're willing to put in the work, it's a great opportunity.”
Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., assistant dean for graduate studies – public relations, said he hopes Lundberg's
experience—as well as McKee's experience last year—will inspire more CoMC students
to compete in national competitions.
“Not only is this an amazing honor for Nicole, but it says a lot about the strength
of our program,” Seltzer said. “We've fielded two students in two years; both made
it to the top five and now one is one the cusp of potentially winning this prestigious
award. It's just more evidence of what the faculty have known for a long time – our
students are fantastic and can compete with public relations majors from any program
in the country.”
Texas Tech Alumnus Returns After Leaving Olympic Impression
By Jenae Fleming
Bob Condron will conduct a weeklong special topics course for the College of Media
Texas Tech University alumnus Bob Condron returns to campus to teach a one-week special topics course entitled “Media & Communication
Planning for the U.S. Olympic Team” for the College of Media & Communication. Condron
served as the former director of media services for the United States Olympic Games
for 30 years and is a member of the national advisory board for the college.
“I love the Olympic Games and its importance to this world, and I also love Texas
Tech University and what it has meant to me in my life,” Condron said.
Throughout the week, students will select a U.S. sport and prepare a communications
and media plan. Condron's hope for the course is to teach students to see the need
for planning and preparation and be ready for the challenges they face.
“They say luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” Condron said. “I want these
students to know how to be prepared for luck to come their way.”
Condron's career towards the Olympics began with an advertising class taught by Billy Ross in 1966. Ross mentioned the athletics department was looking for a student assistant in the sports information office and Condron
jumped at the opportunity.
“That afternoon I was doing the clipping book for sports information director Bill
Holmes,” Condron said.
Condron went on to graduate with a degree in business administration from Texas Tech
in 1968. He said he credits his alma mater and former professors for showing him how
to be professional, take on tasks and do them properly and precisely the first time.
“I'll never forget the major influences I had in the classroom, like Ralph Selmeyer,
Billy Ross, Bob Rooker, Wally Garet and Bill Dean,” Condron said. “They treated us not as students, but as professionals and they expected
us to do our classwork as professionals.”
The one-week course will be held from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 15-19 in the College of Media
“I came away from this school with a love of people and a love of what I could be
if I followed their advice,” Condron said. “I need to pay back that love and vision
they had for me and pass it along to these students who will make a difference in
The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication is launching a “parent
portal” to give parents more insight into the CoMC experience for prospective students.
Candace Trevino, a college recruiter for CoMC, said that when students choose Texas Tech, they often
look to their parents for support, and the college looks to support parents by providing
them with information.
“College is a transition for students, but it's also a transition for parents,” Trevino
said. “When we have the pleasure of inviting someone into the Red Raider family, their
parents are included, and we want the parents to be just as excited as their students.”
Emily Balke, recruitment and retention specialist for CoMC, said she hopes faculty and staff
members can help parents through the experience of their children going to college
because they understand that the whole family is going through a transition.
“We love parents,” Balke said. “Parents play an important role in a student's experience
before college, during college, and after college. The students are here first and
foremost to get an education, and their parents can help them in that decision.”
Joyce Zachman, executive director of the Texas Tech Parents Association, met with various faculty and staff members from the college including advisers,
professors, and members of the Center for Student Success, Outreach and Engagement
Zachman said the Texas Tech Parents Association, which is a nonprofit organization,
works to bring parents to campus, and is a great resource for parents who want to
get more involved.
“We're here to support the parents and to support the students' success,” Zachman
said. “Students who have engaged parents typically have higher GPAs. Parents are the
most concerned about their students' success.”
Zachman said parents interested in engaging with the Texas Tech Parents Association
can find more information about the organization on their website, www.texastechparents.org.
Heath Tolleson, academic adviser for the Department of Journalism & Electronic Media, said he hopes the college can work with both parents and students as the families
go through the transition of their students going to college and becoming independent
“I think the encouragement and the support from parents really does benefit students
and help them to succeed,” Tolleson said. “I hope we can find a balance among the
parents, faculty, administration and advisers. There is a happy medium; it just takes
work on everyone's part.”
Advertising Major Interns with RD Thomas Advertising Agency
A native of Lubbock, Sullivan said she learned about the internship with RD Thomas
when touring agencies in Lubbock with Tech Advertising Federation.
“I really enjoyed meeting everyone at RD Thomas, so I waited until there was a position
open,” Sullivan said. “When I heard that they had a position open through friends
and their Facebook page, I decided to apply.”
Sullivan said her day-to-day tasks vary and often include packaging and shipping mail
campaigns, participating in creative brainstorming sessions, and researching for clients'
“As an intern, you get to work with everyone in the office,” Sullivan said. “It has
been interesting working with account services, media, broadcast, and the art department.
Seeing behind the scenes of commercial shoots is one of the most fun parts of the
During her time at Texas Tech, Sullivan said she has been a member of the Tech Ad
Federation and the Women's Service Organization, a student in the Honors College, and a study abroad peer adviser.
Melissa Gotlieb, Ph.D., assistant professor in advertising, said Sullivan was a student in her International
Advertising class and is currently working on a research project with Gotlieb and
Sun Lee, Ph.D., to examine how global brands engage the public through corporate social responsibility
“Cathleen is an exceptional student,” Gotlieb said. “She is hardworking, driven, and
her interest in learning extends beyond the classroom.”
Sullivan said she hopes to become an account coordinator or account executive in advertising
in the future, and she feels that her internship with RD Thomas is a positive step
in her career.
“The internship with RD Thomas has definitely been a positive experience,” Sullivan
said. “The agency is actively working to build up my experience and skillset. The
work I've done with them leads me to want to stay in advertising.”
Day in the Life: Erica Taylor
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