To quote an old Frank Sinatra song: “It was a very good year.” The twentieth day of
class is the last day that our students can add or drop a class, so we can now take
an official snapshot of the metrics of student attraction to and engagement with the
College of Media & Communication.
College of Media & Communication Snapshot Fall 2016
CoMC Enrollment & SCH Trends, Fall 2013-Fall 2016
Fall 2016 20th Class Day
% Increase from Fall 2013
*Note: Based on 20th Class Day Enrollment, IRIM, Preliminary Enrollment Database,
Accessed 10/4/2016. All enrollment totals are (undergraduate, graduate, total college)
are highest in College's history.
**Based on 20th Class Day Enrollment. Cognos Database shows 1644 total. With 1644
undergraduates, this would be a 21.6% increase and the total enrollment (1830) would
represent a 26.2% increase.
Total College Enrollment
Total College SCH
Specifically, our enrollment -- that is, the number of students who are signed up for one of our six majors --
hit the highest numbers in the history of communication programs at Texas Tech University.
Our semester credit hours -- the number of hours all students, not just majors, take from us -- are also at
their highest level ever. Our graduation rate -- efficiently moving students through classes to graduate -- and our retention rate – students who stay enrolled and don't drop out -- are also at the highest or among
the highest in all TTU colleges. Overall, we were the fastest growing college at TTU this fall.
I think these are patent indications that we are teaching great classes that students
want to take and that we have worked very hard to rebrand our programs so that more
and more parents, guidance counselors, and high schoolers see us as an exciting pathway
to their future.
Stay tuned for more good news to come!
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. Professor and Dean
CoMC Hosted Minecraft, Debate and Sports Media Summer Camps
The College of Media & Communications hosted three camps in Summer 2016 for middle
and high school students interested in the computer game Minecraft and computer programming,
speech and debate, and sports media.
John Velez, an assistant journalism & electronic media professor, was in charge of
the Minecrafter Camp, which hosted more than 50 students ranging from sixth graders
to high school seniors.
“The camp was five days during which campers were introduced to science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics lessons through the digital computer game Minecraft,”
Velez said. “Lessons in Minecraft were supplemented by offline activities that built
on what campers previously learned.”
Velez said examples of lesson topics included circuitry and programming, while the
use of Minecraft fostered campers critical thinking and teamwork skills.
Adam Testerman, director of forensics at CoMC, worked with representatives from the
Texas University Interscholastic League to host the annual Texas Tech Speech and Debate
Camp for high school students. He said the camp experienced significant growth from
30 campers last year to nearly 80 campers this year.
“Students spent a week practicing, researching, and speaking over a variety of topics,”
Testerman said. “The speech component of the camp allowed students to learn about
events such humorous and dramatic interpretation and oratory. The debate component
exposed students to topics ranging from U.S. trade relationships with China to whether
justice is maintained in our criminal justice system.”
High school students interested in learning more about sports media had the opportunity
to attend a Sports Media Camp led by Erica Taylor, an assistant journalism & electronic
media professor. She said the students who attended had the opportunity to gain experience
in various aspects of the field.
“Throughout the whole week they were able to receive great information from experts
in the sports media field, participate in video production, practice interviewing
and writing scripts,” Taylor said. “The students also had the opportunity of experiencing
what it's like to be on an anchor desk while delivering their own stories in the CoMC
Taylor said one of her favorite moments from the camp was teaching mobile storytelling
techniques, which involved the students venturing around campus and taking pictures.
“I was amazed that the students applied a lot of techniques that were demonstrated
during the workshop,” Taylor said. “I think the most important lessons they were able
to take away from the Sports Media Camp were the key elements in developing and telling
an impactful story.”
Velez, Testerman and Taylor all agreed that their camps received positive responses
this year, and they are looking forward to bringing them back next summer.
CoMC Alumni Honored at Hall of Fame and Outstanding Alumni Event
Four Texas Tech University alumni were honored by the College of Media & Communication
on Sept. 16 at the college's annual Outstanding Alumni and Hall of Fame Dinner.
Bill Marcy, who has three engineering degrees from Texas Tech, was inducted into the
college's Hall of Fame. Marcy, who was the university's provost and senior vice president of academic affairs
at the time, recommended and supported the creation of the then-College of Mass Communications.
The Board of Regents subsequently approved the proposal.
Dean David Perlmutter said he is glad the college was able to publicly recognize Marcy's
impact on the CoMC faculty, staff and students.
“Our Outstanding Alumni recipients are living testaments to the robustness and versatility
of the communications degree within our college,” Perlmutter said.
Huerta earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Tech in 1984 and has spent
the bulk of her career working in communications for various municipalities and transportation
entities in Texas. She served as the first public information officer/communication
director for the North Texas Tollway Authority. Currently, Huerta is the public information
officer for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Mudd earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Texas Tech in 2001
and a Master of Arts in Mass Communications in 2002. She began her career in broadcast
media as an account executive at KLBK-TV and KAMC-TV in 2007, becoming the KAMC local
sales manager in 2012. Mudd is also an active community member, working with non-profits
including the American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish North Texas, and March of Dimes.
West graduated with his bachelor's degree in public relations in 1989 and with his
Master of Arts in Mass Communications in 1993. He began his career in the commercial
printing industry. West also worked for the college, aiding in academic and commercial
communication research. Now, West is the national sales manager for KAMC-TV and KLBK-TV
CoMC's Outstanding Alumni Awards program began in 1981 to recognize alumni who have
made significant contributions to the field of communication. The Hall of Fame recognizes
individuals who have contributed to quality education in the college. They may or
may not be alumni of the program.
Award recipients were selected by a committee of students, faculty, and alumni appointed
University's Communication Training Center Launched
The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication launched the university's
new Communication Training Center on Sept. 16 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the
McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said that CoMC's role in creating the CTC
will help with the new initiative to improve students' communication skills and multicultural
“The CTC will play an essential role in helping Texas Tech meet the objectives of
our recently adopted Quality Enhancement Plan,” Schovanec said. “Through the CTC,
and supported by the expertise in the College of Media & Communication, students and
faculty will be better trained and informed about this new initiative.”
David Perlmutter, dean of CoMC, said he sees the CTC as a tool that will help increase
the quality of various aspects of communication throughout the university and beyond.
“The Communication Training Center is at the core of the 10-year Quality Enhancement
Plan at Texas Tech,” Perlmutter said. “We are deeply honored to propel forward the
mission of improving oral and visual communication skillsets for teaching, public
and policymaker engagement, and workplace preparedness.”
Todd Chambers, associate dean for undergraduate affairs in CoMC, said the process
for creating a new QEP started about two and a half years ago as part of the university's
accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission
“We were charged with developing a new quality enhancement plan that we felt was beneficial
for every student at Texas Tech,” Chambers said. “A campus committee came up with
the theme ‘Communicating in a Global Society.' Part of that plan was to create a center
for global communication that would help coordinate global communication issues that
are happening already across campus.”
Gary Smith, budget director for the College of Architecture and head of the committee
that created the CTC, said that with the theme of “Communicating in a Global Society”
in mind, they wanted students to be able to use new software and social media in appropriate
ways to communicate globally.
“The Communication Training Center was created to help faculty learn ways to incorporate
these tools into coursework and to help students learn how to use the tools effectively,”
Genevieve Durham DeCesaro, associate vice provost for academic affairs, said she believes
the CTC will work to enhance the value of communication throughout various academic
“The Communication Training Center is poised to augment the university's focus on
the critical nature of communication and how communication is valued, commonly and
distinctly, across academic disciplines,” Durham DeCesaro said.
Luke LeFebvre, director of the CTC, said he hopes to see the CTC become a hive of
activity on Texas Tech's campus.
“I foresee workshops occurring at the center as well as CTC staff venturing out to work
with scholars across the institutional landscape at Texas Tech University,” LeFebvre
said. “Our purpose will be to help scholars bring their ideas to life through content development,
competent and confident oral communication, and powerful visual presentations.”
When Leigh Waldman submitted her application for an internship with CNN Atlanta for
the Spring 2016 semester, she said she never thought she would be chosen.
Originally from Keller, Texas, Waldman said she chose the CNN Bureau in Atlanta after
she discovered the internship on one of the daily “Info to Know” emails from the College
of Media & Communication's Center for Success, Outreach & Engagement.
“I looked on the website, and there were tons of internships available,” Waldman said.
“I knew the Atlanta area well because I lived there for two years. I decided to apply.
I didn't think I was going to get it, but they offered me a video interview, and then
the manager called and offered me the job.”
Waldman said she had the opportunity to take a semester off for the internship, which
began in January and was extended until August. She said interning with CNN has given
her a wealth of experience as the bureau covers all news in the southeastern region
of the United States.
“If any news breaks, from Texas to Virginia, we cover it,” Waldman said. “I have gotten
to do a lot, and I have been very fortunate. I get sent out with reporters and producers
and video journalists all the time to go and cover stories. Every day is different.”
Waldman said one of the most memorable moments of her internship was meeting Democratic
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when she visited Atlanta and riding on her
Waldman said she was also working when a series of terrorist attacks occurred in Brussels,
on March 22. Her assignments included a trip to a company in Alabama two days later,
where she learned how to make bombs such as the ones used in the attack.
“I was at CNN the day of the Brussels attacks, which was a very humbling experience,”
Waldman said. “CNN is the leader in news, so we have the most coverage in the United
States and around the world, and getting to see everything stop for a second when
the attack happened was really humbling.”
Lea Hellmueller, former associate professor of journalism, described Waldman as a
very engaged and creative student.
“Leigh had great and creative story ideas for our video project and was definitely
a go-getter,” Hellmueller said. “It did not surprise me that Leigh was accepted for
an internship with CNN. That was always her dream, and she is definitely going to
make a difference in whatever she does.”
While she initially wanted to pursue a career in sports reporting, Waldman said her
time with CNN has inspired her to look into a career as a general assignments reporter.
She said she was inspired to become a journalist by her Principles of Journalism professor,
the late Robert Wernsman.
“I came into college not knowing what I wanted to do, and then I took Professor Wernsman's
Principles of Journalism class. That's when I decided I wanted to be a journalist,”
Waldman said. “He really showed me what it means to be a journalist and the kind of
impact you can have.”
Rob Peaslee, chair of the Department of Journalism & Electronic Media, described internships
as an essential part of any student's entry into media industries because of the real-world
experience they provide.
“That intrepid students like Leigh are aiming high for outlets like CNN and branching
out to major media markets around the country is a great indicator of the confidence
our amazing journalism faculty are instilling in their students,” Peaslee said. “This
confidence is only enlarged by the many opportunities they have to publish and broadcast
content in professional circles before they even apply for internships, something
on which we have been explicitly focused for several years now."
Waldman returned to Texas Tech in Fall 2016 for her senior year. She said her internship
with CNN Atlanta made her even more passionate about her career choice.
“My time at CNN taught me what it means to be a journalist,” Waldman said. “It taught
me to speak for those without a voice, to be hungry for information, and to never
settle for good enough — always strive for greatness.”
Waldman said she would recommend that current students pursue internships with local
and national media outlets because both offer unique opportunities that turn into
networking opportunities and experience.
“Take the chance. Apply for an internship, even if you don't think you're qualified,
and you never know,” Waldman said. “They could call you and want to hire you, and
then you have those amazing connections with people who are where you want to be.”
Welcome New Faculty — Fall 2016
Dr. Sherice Gearhart (Ph.D., Texas Tech University, 2013; Assistant Professor of Public
Relations) teaches principles of public relations, applied public relations research,
and public opinion.
Dr. Gearhart's research interests include the examination of mediated messages and
media effects, especially in regard to civic engagement and political participation.
Specifically, her work aims to understand how opinion formation and expression are
influenced in a dynamic media environment. Other areas of interest include social
media, news presentation, public opinion, and media framing.
Mr. James Hodgins (M.A., Texas Tech University, 2016; Instructor of Advertising) teaches
advertising writing, Internet and new media advertising, and advertising design and
Hodgins is also the director of the Think Tank, a new collaborative workspace under
the Department of Advertising dedicated to inspiring deeper creative thinking in the
students of the College of Media & Communication. He also has 10 years of professional
experience working in the advertising industry, from agency to in-house offices.
Dr. Wonseok (Eric) Jang (Ph.D., University of Florida, 2016; Assistant Professor of
Advertising) teaches media planning, advertising campaigns, and sport advertising.
Dr. Jang's research focuses primarily on visual communication in advertising. In addition,
Dr. Jang is interested in exploring the role of media consumption on people's energy
and subjective well-being. Other areas of interest include sport advertising and new
Dr. Gordana Lazić (Ph.D., University of Denver; 2013; Instructor of Communication
Studies) teaches courses in culture and communication, intercultural communication,
fundamentals of communication, and communicating in a global society.
Dr. Lazić's research interests include cultural studies, critical theory, and rhetoric
in the context of resistance and social movements. More specifically, her work focuses
on notions of difference and power in non-democratic contexts.
Dr. Luke LeFebvre (Ph.D., Wayne State University, 2010; Assistant Professor of Communication
Studies) is the Director of the Communication Training Center established through
TTU's 2015 QEP: Communicating in a Global Society.
Dr. LeFebvre is recognized as an innovative scholar and teacher of the basic courses
in communication and communication centers, having authored in outlets such as Communication
Education, Review of Communication, Basic Communication Course Annual, and the Journal
of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He has received early career awards from
the Central States Communication Association, National Communication Association,
and International Communication Association.
Ms. Magdalena Saldaña (Ph.D. candidate, University of Texas at Austin) teaches Hispanic
Media and Multimedia Journalism.
Her research focuses mainly on digital media and public opinion, observing how new
media platforms have an impact not only on journalistic practices, but also on how
the news affects public opinion. Her work combines traditional quantitative and qualitative
methods (like surveys and textual analysis) with innovative computer-assisted techniques,
such as topic modeling. Her other research interests include political communication
and Latin American studies.
Mr. Phil Terrigno (M.S., Columbia Journalism School, 2014) joins the Texas Tech College
of Media & Communication after two years as the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's high school
sports editor. Under Terrigno, the Avalanche-Journal's coverage expanded to local
television and radio stations, as well as Fox Sports Southwest.
Terrigno will be the Director of Multimedia Writing, and will oversee The Hub @ TTU,
facilitate podcasting within the college, and teach Intro to Multimedia Writing. Terrigno
has freelanced for The New York Times, Associated Press, Vice, Billboard and a dozen
newspapers nationally. His reporting has won awards from the Associated Press in New
York and the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.
He will graduate in December 2016 with an MBA from Texas Tech.
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