Texas Tech University

Converging News

May 2016

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear CoMC Friends:

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

When people from elsewhere ask me what Lubbock is like I answer, only half tongue-in-cheek, “a lot like Hawaii.” It's a wonderful place that is quite a distance from other major places.

Actually, Lubbock is growing very fast: one can find here the amenities and pleasures of any other urban area as well as quick access to an astonishing array of natural wonders and outdoor adventures – and short plane hops to many bigger cities. But we know that for our college to have maximum outreach to potential students we can't simply focus on terrestrial education in Lubbock. Three years ago we began a program of expanding our course offerings at the graduate and undergraduate levels through distance education. Distance can mean “online” (as in a course taught purely over the internet) or “offsite” (such as courses that we offer in Waco in alliance with McLennan Community College) or hybrid variations of both.

When we began our distance efforts we pledged ourselves to maintaining the values of our brand. We were greatly assisted when the Communication Studies department joined our college last year since it already offered online classes. Together we vowed that each distance class would be taught and supported at the same level of quality as a terrestrial course in Lubbock.

Yes, we are somewhat late to the game of distance education. But sometimes you need to wait and get it right instead of rushing into a market with a poor product. For example, last fall we started a new distance M.A. in Strategic Communication and Innovation. More than 30 working professionals are already taking classes in the program. Moreover, unlike for a lot of general communications M.A. programs out there, almost all of our classes are taught by full-time faculty members in our college.

Distance offerings not only help us reach new audiences but also make more efficient and fruitful the education of current students. Case in point: We found that many of our undergraduates could have their time-to-degree reduced if they could continue to take classes over the summer while they went home to San Antonio, Houston, Roswell, Dallas, or Denver.

The outcome of the CoMC distance campaign is truly astonishing in terms of metrics. [See chart below.] And behind every credit hour is the genius and commitment to cause of our hard-working and creative faculty and staff.

As reported by our Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs: The College of Media & Communication has increased the number of undergraduate course offerings from 0 in Academic Year 2012-2013 to 66 online sections of courses in 2015-2016.* As of today, 1,725 undergraduate students have enrolled for an online course in fall 2015, spring 2016, and/or summer 2016. At the graduate level, the number of courses has increased from 0 courses in 2012-2013 to 21 online sections of courses this academic year. There have been 344 students taking online courses in our graduate program this year.

All in all, distance is helping us and our students bear the banner of CoMC and TTU farther and wider while still remaining true to our high standards.

CoMC Undergraduate & Graduate Online Course Growth
CoMC Undergraduate & Graduate Online Course Growth (Click for PDF version)

Best wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

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

Public Relations Major Lands Internship with Crowd Surf LA


Shelby Wofford
Shelby Wofford

Senior public relations major Shelby Wofford found a way to turn her love of music into an opportunity with an internship at Crowd Surf LA during the spring 2016 semester.

Originally from Brownwood, Texas, Wofford said that when looking for internships, she wanted to pursue one that was out of state. She described Crowd Surf as a digital marketing company that works with mainly pop music acts, with offices in Los Angeles and Nashville.

Wofford said she was able to get plugged in to Crowd Surf after her friends in the music industry connected her with the company's director of publicity, who took the time to ask Wofford about her goals, and then offered her an internship at the LA office.

“When I knew I wanted to pursue an internship out of state, they helped me hone in on what part of the industry interested me the most,” Wofford said. “I love digital and social media as well as publicity, so one of my friends suggested the digital marketing company Crowd Surf.”

Working with Crowd Surf LA, Wofford said she does something different every day, and that the internship has given her an opportunity to learn about everything from helping with a Spotify outreach effort, to conducting media research and creating social influencer contact lists, to brainstorming new publicity plans with clients.

Shelby Wofford sitting down
Shelby Wofford

“We work in a really collaborative environment, so even though I'm a publicity intern, I get to see and learn from the digital marketing teams as well as from the publicity department,” Wofford said. “By far, the most beneficial—and fun—part of my time at Crowd Surf has been getting to attend client events and interact with them and media outlets directly.”

Wofford said she chose to major in public relations because she wanted to work in music, and she saw PR as a way to build skills that she could use in many different areas of the music industry.

Lisa Low, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Public Relations, said that as a student in her Digital Public Relations class, Wofford showed potential.

“We worked together on her blog assignments for the course and through that one on one, I could see that Shelby had real potential as a public relations professional,” Low said. “I was very excited—and proud—when she emailed me to announce she'd landed the internship. Shelby is well on her way to bearing our banners far and wide.”

Wofford said she hopes to move to Los Angeles after she graduates in December, and while she would love to continue working with Crowd Surf, she hopes to find a job in digital marketing for the music industry.

Senior Public Relations Major to Intern with Viacom


Ashley Morales
Ashley Morales

Ashley Morales, a senior public relations major from Longview, Texas, will intern with Viacom's MTV in New York City during the summer of 2016, something she said she has wanted to do ever since she was in high school.

“When I was in high school I went to the Viacom website on a whim and was clicking through all the internship descriptions,” Morales said. “Ever since then I've had the link written down in my internship-dubbed notebook and saved in a document on my computer.”

The internship begins May 24, and Morales said she cannot wait to work in Viacom's building, which is in Times Square. Her responsibilities will include writing press releases, attending media days, and planning events. Morales said one of the events she is looking forward to is MTV's annual Video Music Awards.

“What I'm looking forward to the absolute most is working on the VMAs,” Morales said. “They are my complete dream, and I'm so grateful to have an opportunity to contribute to this incredible event.”

Jody Roginson, an assistant professor of practice in PR/sports media, described Morales as a student who works hard, both in the classroom and in the student organizations she joins.

“I've worked with her in her role as a student leader within RaiderComm PR where she's served community clients in public relations efforts,” Roginson said. “She is professional, well-prepared and determined to improve. To me, those are the essential traits a person has to develop to become a professional success. Ashley is the type of student who's making the most of her collegiate experience by saying yes to the opportunities for growth that come her way.”

Throughout her college career, Morales has interned with East Texas Tourism, Gregg County Historical Museum, Visit Lubbock, American Heart Society and Caldwell Entertainment.

Morales was also the managing editor for Texas Tech's yearbook, La Ventana, in 2015-16, and she served as the director of RaiderComm, the College of Media & Communication's student-run public relations firm.

“I love RaiderComm because it provides students a chance to experience agency life while in school,” Morales said. “We've grown to have several clients in different areas of PR so our members can test the waters with a few industries.”

Trent Seltzer, assistant dean for graduate studies, said he is excited that Morales has the opportunity to intern with Viacom, and he sees it as proof that her hard work has paid off.

“I'm thrilled that Ashley is getting this opportunity; she's definitely earned it. She's put a lot of hard work into extracurricular activities such as RaiderComm, for which she's been a fantastic director this year. I'm glad to see her efforts are paying off.”

Media Strategies Major Finds a Home with Internship at Magnoliahouse Creative


Hannah Browning
Hannah Browning

After interning with the company as a creative assistant and junior designer during the spring of 2016, Hannah Browning has accepted a job with Magnoliahouse Creative, a boutique custom branding company.

Browning, a junior media strategies major from Bremond, Texas, said she first heard of Magnoliahouse in July 2015 when she read an internship listing in one of the daily “Info to Know” emails from the College of Media & Communication's Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement.

“A company named Magnoliahouse Creative caught the twinkle in my eye where I persisted to look at their website because I was unfamiliar with their brand,” Browning said. “They had a listing for an internship, but I was too busy to apply at the time, so I always kept their name in the back of my mind because I was smitten by their aesthetic.”

Browning said she then heard about an opportunity to receive course credit for an internship through CoMC in Fall 2015, and she decided to contact Irene Farrimond, owner and creative director of Magnoliahouse. She said the company stood out to her because its modern brand style fit her own personal style.

“I wanted to make sure that I invested my time wisely and, most importantly, passionately,” Browning said. “I am a girl fueled by the love of Jesus Christ, therefore I know that my reason here on earth is to serve others full-heartedly and not half-heartedly. Because of my purpose, I know that I am not going to be able fulfill my responsibilities here on earth if I am not passionate about my work.”

Browning called the interview process an “eye-opening” experience and said she was intrigued by the fact that Farrimond paid much more attention to Browning's skillset than she did to her GPA.

“I now take a deeper look into what I do in college—why I do what I do in college,” Browning said. “The first two years of my college experience sometimes feels like a blur because I was so worried about my GPA and if I was being involved enough with various organizations. I have no regrets because everything happens for a reason, but I can tell you that I would have felt better about my comfort levels in the Adobe suite if I would have taken more free classes in the library offered by TTU, learning about InDesign and Illustrator.”

Hannah Browning with Raider Red

Browning said Magnoliahouse Creative specializes in custom branding and styling for high-end modern entrepreneur clientele, and as both a creative assistant and junior designer, she had the opportunity to do everything from monitoring and updating the company's social media, to designing layouts and using HTML and CSS coding for web design.

“My job assignments included two sides: management and design,” Browning said. “Being both a creative assistant and junior designer allowed for me to gain knowledge in these areas and more such as calligraphy, finances, bookkeeping, water coloring techniques and additional business and graphic design platforms.”

Through her internship experience, Browning said she learned valuable “real-world” lessons that are helping establish her career. She said one of the greatest benefits was having the opportunity to work alongside Farrimond, who asked her to make a list of skills she wanted to gain during the semester.

“The best part of this internship was the proximity of working beside Irene,” Browning said. “Being the only person in her office allowed me to have one-on-one time with her for the entirety of the internship. Working closely with Irene also allowed me to learn everything I desired.”

James Hodgins, director of the Ideation Lab and advertising instructor in CoMC, taught Browning as a student in his Advertising Writing class. He said he believes Browning's internship with Magnoliahouse was just the beginning of her accomplishments as a professional.

“Hannah is one of those students you look forward to having in class,” Hodgins said. “She was clearly passionate and enthusiastic about everything we covered in Ad Writing and the ad industry as a whole.”

Browning said Farrimond offered her a part-time job upon completion of her internship, and that even though the company will be relocating to Columbia, South Carolina, in May, Farrimond found a way to employ Browning virtually.

“I sincerely would not be the communicator, graphic designer, social media strategist, journalist, advertiser and businesswoman that I am today without this magnificent internship opportunity,” Browning said. “Essentially, my internship allowed for me to dip into every facet that the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech has to offer, plus more.”

MCLC Wins Learning Community of the Year Award from University Student Housing


Media & Communication Learning Community
Media & Communication Learning Community

The Media & Communication Learning Community, which is made up of students who are majoring in the College of Media & Communication and living on campus, received the award for Learning Community of the Year from University Student Housing for 2015-16.

Todd Chambers, associate dean for undergraduate affairs in CoMC, said that learning communities at Texas Tech provide a great opportunity for a special cohort of students to learn and collaborate with each other in their first-year experience.  

“This is the second year in a row that the Media & Communication Learning Community has been recognized as Learning Community of the Year,” Chambers said. “We've had a great year building on successes started in previous years. The MCLC students were able to interact with faculty at several different types of events including an ice cream social and a new student reception.”

Tamara McClain, manager for academic initiatives for University Student Housing, said that when considering a candidate for Learning Community of the Year, the university looks at programs hosted by the learning community, community participation, and a nomination from the Student Staff Leadership Council.

“Learning communities provide students with resources tailored to their academic and individual needs,” McClain said. “This can include, but is not limited to: connecting with professors outside of the classroom, developing relationships with students interested in the same major or goals, getting involved in Lubbock through community service.”

Justin Rex, a junior electronic media & communications major from Houston, said he joined the MCLC because he came to Texas Tech as a transfer student and he wanted opportunities to interact with his new professors and classmates.

“My experience in the learning community has been great,” Rex said. “Our service projects were able to encompass most of the majors in the College of Media & Communication, giving LC members an opportunity to practice their craft.”

Lauren Kriss, a sophomore public relations major with a business minor from Cedar Park, Texas, said she joined the learning community because she wanted to network with other students in the college.

“I wanted to join the [MCLC] because careers in media are highly collaborative and so is the coursework,” Kriss said. “I thought it would be nice to know the people in my program on a deeper level than I would have if we only had class together.”

Kriss said her favorite project the MCLC hosted was a community service project for Texas Tech veterans.

“The MCLC and multiple CoMC faculty members worked together to provide veterans with custom holiday greeting cards at no cost to them,” Kriss said. “It was really cool to transfer the skills we learned in class to help others.”

Chambers said he was very impressed by the MCLC's community service project, and he saw it as a great way for students to learn firsthand about event planning and project management.

“I'm very proud of their unique service project this year,” Chambers said. “They took photos and made holiday cards for military veterans and their families from the Texas Tech community. Each family received 25 free holiday cards they could mail.”

McClain said students should consider joining a learning community if they want to network with their peers and be more involved with their college.

“National research shows that students involved in their learning community have increased GPA, greater involvement on campus, and transition easier from high school to college,” McClain said. “Students also have the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills with their peers inside and outside of the classroom.”

Day in the Life: Cameron Skoczlas

Cameron laughing in a meetingCoMC Division of Undergraduate AffairsCameron looking at some paperworkCameron looking at a student's resumeCameron explaining some edits to a student's resumeRed pen close up underlining a wordCameron talking to a studentCoffee getting poured into a coffee mugCameron's coffee mug collection on her deskCameron watching YouTube on her computerCameron sitting at her deskClose up of a red pen while writing on a calendarCameron and her office

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