If you think that the stories coming out of the College of Media & Communication for
the last few years have been a bit repetitive, you are quite right. Growth and expansion
have been the overall headlines for nearly everything that we have been doing. Fall
2017 is no exception. In terms of both the number of undergraduate and graduate majors
in our college and the number of class hours that students take from us, we are the
fastest growing college at Texas Tech across the board. In fact, when I became dean,
we set a target of two thousand students, undergraduate and graduate, by the year
2020. This fall we blew through that goal and now have almost 2,100 students in our
college across our undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs.
But one particular measure of growth may deserve the biggest headline of this issue
of Converging News. TTU Student Media -- the Daily Toreador and La Ventana yearbook
-- were moved earlier this summer back into the College of Media & Communication.
I say "back" because until 1959, Student Media was housed in the then Department of
Journalism. As part of a reorganization by the Office of the Provost, TTU Provost
Michael Galyean and I agreed to move Student Media into our college again.
As the story linked here relates, we are resolved that the mission of Student Media
be not just to hone the skills of journalism students but to support all students
of Texas Tech and indeed to propel the global mission of the university itself. I
have asked for the creation of a task force, led by Student Media Director Susan Peterson
and our Undergraduate Associate Dean Todd Chambers, to come up with a list of recommendations
to create better synergy between Student Media and elements within our college like
The Hub and KTXT Radio. Also and perhaps even more important, the realignment could
yield new ways to get students from other units of Texas Tech involved in Student
Media. These are students who don't necessarily plan to be reporters but who would
like to communicate about whatever field they are studying, from nutrition to history
to mechanical engineering. It is all part of our mission to focus on how communications
is essential for everyone, not just our own majors. I am very excited about this new
partnership as is, I believe, the Student Media team, staff and students alike, as
well as our college faculty and students. It is a historic alliance with a bright
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. Professor and Dean
Student media realigns with the College of Media & Communication
By Alexa Rosas
For three years, alumnus Brett Winegarner worked for The Daily Toreador, where he served as the multimedia, sport and managing editor. There, he was instilled
with writing skills and the work ethic that have served him well as he moved into
his career. Today, as the Communications Coordinator for the Texas Tech Alumni Association,
when Winegarner works with an intern or student assistant, he tells them this: "If
you know how to write, you will master life." At the beginning of June and with the
approval of the Office of the Provost, the Department of Student Media, which includes
The Daily Toreador, the student newspaper, and La Ventana, the student yearbook, began
to operate under the College of Media & Communication. Since 1959, these programs
have historically been within the Office of Student Affairs, where it was one of many
departments, Cathy Duran, associate vice provost for student affairs said. "Student
Media operates with a highly
At the beginning of June and with the approval of the Office of the Provost, the Department
of Student Media, which includes The Daily Toreador, the student newspaper, and La
Ventana, the student yearbook, began to operate under the College of Media & Communication.
Since 1959, these programs have historically been within the Office of Student Affairs,
where it was one of many departments, Cathy Duran, associate vice provost for student
affairs, said. "Student Media operates with a highly
"Student Media operates with a highly student focused and independent editorial model. It
provides news and information, by student reporters and editors, to the campus community
through The Daily Toreador, both print and digital delivery, as well as through Texas
Tech's yearbook, La Ventana," she said.
Associate professor of public relations, Bill Dean, was a student at the Texas Tech
when the paper was called The University Daily.
"There was a day when there was a much closer relationship between what was then The
University Daily and the journalism program," she said. "During this time, students
in advanced reporting classes used the student newspaper as their lab."
Dean of the College of Media & Communication, David Perlmutter, looks forward to the
"We live in a very blended, converged world of media," Perlmutter said. "There is
no such thing as a purely print publication anymore. There's no such thing as something
that's only in one electronic medium. All communicating organizations are trying to
figure out ways to deploy the stories they tell across all platforms, so, for example,
a news organization is trying to tell a story, certainly in a print product - but
they are also trying to tell the story in video, through social media and through
a thousand other channels, venues, software platforms and such."
As the university does produce a lot of media content, Perlmutter hopes for a better
integration all of its various forms.
"Think more about alliances and collaboration and connections, rather than just one
medium and one story and then we're done," Perlmutter said.
Despite the new merger, the way the student media outlets operate will not change,"
according to Michael Galyean, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
He goes on to say that the realignment is not meant to change the operational functions
of the publications, specifically with regard to the editorial independence of The Daily Toreador and La Ventana.
"Student media provides students with an opportunity to be engaged in the overall
university community, in terms of discussions about the various activities of the
university and the issues related to the way it is run, its academic programs or the
success of students," Galyean said.
"It's really important for students to have that voice, and I think student media
is a means by which students can participate and influence the campus in a broad sense."
In addition to providing students with a platform, student media may also work to
create students who are more active consumers of media, added Dean Perlmutter. "Whether
students are actively contributing to student media or not, the publications still
serve to educate the university community as a whole."
Chris Cook, the managing director of the Office of Communications and Marketing, believes
that journalism plays a central role in educating everyone.
"It's very important for students to at least absorb some of what's going on around
them through the news media. I think it's important to know the state of your country,
the state of your city or the state of your university. It's important so you can
make educated decisions, whether it be at the voting booth or in your choices at school,"
The realignment is expected to yield substantial opportunity for the College of Media
& Communication, for student media and for the student body at large.
Cathy Duran said, "The realignment is very positive. The CoMC will be able to enhance
and expand student opportunities to participate in cross-platform media learning experiences.
I believe that students of all majors will be able to gain valuable insight and practical
experience to be prepared to work not only in media environments, but in any environment
that requires excellent communication skills. The realignment under CoMC will also
allow greater participation in internships, more scholarships, and more extended professional
development that an academic unit can provide."
Susan Peterson, director of student media, said that in addition to an opportunity
for financial stability, the realignment should provide students who work for student
media with more opportunities to participate in internships and practicums.
Avery Aiken, managing editor of The Daily Toreador looks forward to a more unified
building, a united front.
"We have a lot of really talented advisors and administrators within the college that,
to have their guidance, to have their input, to have their involvement and investment
in student media will be extremely beneficial," she said.
By placing student media under the CoMC, the administration hopes to provide more
of an academic connection between the college and student media, which, in addition,
may provide more opportunity for fundraising in support of student media. "In the
long run, it is going to be a great arrangement," Galyean said.
"I see [the realignment as] being a really great way for us to show more of the college
and more of the campus what we do," said Mckenzi Morris, editor-in-chief of The Daily Toreador. "To get our name out there a little more and help us do some more recruiting and
get real-world experience to students more than we do now."
As part of its Quality Enhancement Plan, which serves as part of the university's
accreditation for the next 10-year period, Texas Tech has adopted the goal of communicating
in a global society, said Perlmutter.
"We want all student majors at Tech to gain some understanding of how to be an effective
communicator in this increasingly integrated world, whether they're accounting majors,
biology, history or communication studies ," Perlmutter said. "We think student media,
as a voice for students, can also play a role in helping achieve the QEP, in helping
students achieve some of those skill sets."
"Our plan is to recruit more students from outside of the College of Media & Communication,
especially in the sciences, to be involved in student media," Perlmutter continued.
"Not necessarily as daily reporters, but also as one-off commenters, participants
in debates, to work on projects to help science and health communication, and basically
to find their way and their voice on campus while they're here."
The realignment was supported by disciplines outside of the College of Media & Communication.
Dimitri Pappas, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
argues that scientific research would not exist without communication, where written
letters to scientific societies used to serve as the early means of furthering scientific
research. Pappas also cites the power of communication skills in the world of science
as a necessity.
"There is a spectrum of quality in scientific communication," he said. "If you look
at high-level papers or see some of the powerhouse researchers give a talk at a conference,
you immediately see and hear the difference in their communication skills. Scientific
research is getting increasingly competitive, especially as some countries ramp up
their research funding efforts, so it's imperative that we teach students to effectively
communicate their findings, as well as the impacts of their research."
Student media is an asset that can be undervalued by STEM students, Pappas said. He
hopes to see more students from math and the sciences sharing their stories and inspiring
younger students to pursue these fields.
"Imagine a freshman on campus in their first semester reading an article about a student's
work in a laboratory," Pappas suggested. "That student now knows what's possible for
them at Texas Tech and what kind of opportunities exist."
While STEM students aren't vastly different from others across campus, they are able
to bring a unique perspective to student media, as they have different sets of experiences
than others on campus. "STEM students can certainly highlight new career options,
and discuss how their academic training can impact the world," said Pappas.
With the new realignment also comes a push for increased faculty participation in
student media, added Perlmutter. "We'd like to have more opportunities for faculty
to have debates on important issues of the day on the pages of student media, to speak
out in editorials, especially on science and health issues, to have more profiles
of faculty and some of the interesting research that's being done here at Texas Tech,"
Perlmutter said. "We think a lot of students, as well as a lot of people outside of
our community, might be interested in that, so I want to see more faculty involved
with student media. Connected to the students, for the students." As a former participant
in student media, Cook reflects on how instrumental a faculty member can be in shaping
student journalists. "Faculty involvement serves the university from the inside out.
They may guide a student in a way that leads to more credible stories and storytellers,
which creates a better-informed university, administration and student body," he said.
"We live in an information economy," said Todd Chambers, associate dean for undergraduate
affairs in the College of Media & Communication. "It is driven by content, and any
major across this campus is touched by media in some form or fashion." According to
Chambers, working for the student paper, the student yearbook or helping out at the
campus radio station are just a few ways to ensure that students from across the university
are able to have access to and learn about today's
"We think a lot of students, as well as a lot of people outside of our community,
might be interested in that, so I want to see more faculty involved with student media.
Connected to the students, for the students."
As a former participant in student media, Cook reflects on how instrumental a faculty
member can be in shaping student journalists.
"Faculty involvement serves the university from the inside out; they may guide a student
in a way that leads to more credible stories and storytellers, which creates a better-informed
university, administration and student body," he said.
"We live in an information economy," said Todd Chambers, associate dean for undergraduate
affairs in the College of Media & Communication. "It is driven by content, and any
major across this campus is touched by media in some form or fashion."
According to Chambers, working for the student paper, the student yearbook or helping
out at the campus radio station are just a few ways to ensure that students from across
the university are able to have access to and learn about today's information-economy.
Because the realignment serves students and faculty from across campus, Perlmutter
has called for a taskforce that will involve representatives from different disciplines
who will develop a way to best serve the university community.
Aiken also looks forward to more diverse majors participating in student media, because
they represent differing perspective on what it means to be a Texas Tech student.
"We might only know the halls of Media & Communication," Aiken reported, "But then
we have these students coming from the engineering departments and they really have
a different perspective. They have different events that are important to them, they
have different perspectives on finals week, on internships, on study abroad and they're
bringing that to the newspaper and helping us to expand how we see Texas Tech."
Peterson hopes that the new Texas Tech model for student media may serve as an example
for other universities. "If they could take bits and pieces of what we've done and
adapt that to their situation, that might be a good, new type of business model that
could work for them."
Aiken said that she is excited for the realignment, as it is an investment in the
future of student media and in the student body.
"I think it's going to be a really exciting time for us over the next two years,"
Chambers said. "Because we are just going to showcase how awesome things are here
at Texas Tech, and this is just one small part of it."
Meet our New Faculty!
By Liz Paulk
Rauf Arif, Ph.D. Assistant Professor - Journalism & Electronic Media
Born in Pakistan, Dr. Arif worked as a news reporter in Islamabad for over eight years,
both for print and electronic media, including CNBC Pakistan TV. Dr. Arif received his MS in Mass Communication (2009) from the University of
Kansas and Ph.D. in Mass Communication & Journalism (2014) from the University of
Iowa. His political observations on U.S.-Pakistan relations have appeared in national
and international media.
Amy Koerber, Ph.D. Associate Dean for Faculty Success and Professor – Communication Studies
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Koerber has published articles in health and
science communication, and her book Breast or Bottle: Contemporary Controversies in Infant-Feeding Policy and Practice (University of South Carolina Press, 2013) received a 2015 CCCC award. Her next book, From Hysteria to Hormones: A Rhetorical History, is under advance contract with the Penn State University Press/Rhetoric Society
of America series in Transdisciplinary Rhetoric, with expected publication in May
2018. Dr. Koerber received her M.A. in English from the University of South Dakota,
and her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication from the University
Patrick Caster, M.F.A. Assistant Professor of Practice (Creative Media)
Patrick Caster has been a video professional for over forty years. He served as editor
on the Emmy award winning documentary, A Hard Road to Glory. He has managed production companies in California and Texas, while his production
work has taken him to Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Ireland, Mexico, Canada and
the Caribbean. He has taught at two Dallas area colleges as well as holding a position
as guest lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Zijian (Harrison) Gong, Ph.D. Assistant Professor – Advertising
Zijian (Harrison) Gong, Ph.D. graduated from Texas Tech University with a Ph.D. in
Mass Communication. His research focuses on helping media practitioners enhance the
persuasiveness of their messages, and has appeared in refereed journals such as Communication Monographs, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and Communication & Sports. He has taught classes such as Communication Research Methods, Advertising Campaigns,
and Media Planning.
Amber Krause, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Practice (Creative Media)
Amber Krause, Ph.D. graduated from Texas Tech University with a Ph.D. in Mass Communication.
Dr. Krause's research investigates the intersection between consumer behavior and
persuasive message characteristics in the context of environmental and agricultural
issues. Prior to seeking a graduate education, she gained practical experience in
video production, creating multimedia-based curricula. In addition, she has worked
in sales and consumer relations for two years.
Asheley Landrum, Ph.D. Assistant Professor – Advertising
Asheley R. Landrum, Ph.D. received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas
at Austin, and worked as a newsroom editor for a digital communications company before
earning her MS (in Applied Cognition & Neurosciences) and Ph.D. (in Psychological
Sciences) degrees from The University of Texas at Dallas. Her research program is
dedicated to examining factors that influence public understanding and the perception
of science and emerging technologies, and how these factors develop across the lifespan.
Anthony LaStrape, M.A. Assistant Professor of Practice – MCOM | Based in Waco, TX
Anthony LaStrape has been an adjunct instructor in the College of Media & Communication
at Texas Tech since 2016. He received his B.A. from Texas Tech in University Studies,
and his M.A. from Texas State University in Communication Studies. He is currently
pursuing a doctorate in Education from Tarleton State University. His research is
focused on using Structural Equation Modeling to interpret the results of student
development strategies used on community college campuses. He has taught courses in
political communication, public speaking, and rhetorical criticism.
Gordana Lazić, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Practice – Communication Studies
Gordana Lazić (Ph.D., University of Denver; 2013) 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.
Tony Joe (TJ) Martinez, M.F.A. Assistant Professor of Practice (Creative Media)
Born in West Texas and raised in New Mexico, TJ is a native of the High Plains. His
love of storytelling drew him to filmmaking, and he has made both documentary and
narrative films while enjoying the challenges and rewards of each. His films have
screened at multiple conferences and festivals, including the American Folklore Society
Conference and SXSW Film Festival. TJ holds an M.F.A. in Film Production from the
University of Texas-Austin.
Dustin McDunn, M.A. Assistant Professor of Practice – MCOM | Based in Waco, TX
Dustin earned his BA in Journalism from the University of Montana and his MA in Communication
from the University of Hawaii. He has experience in the field as a journalist working
for Montana Public Radio and KNDU-TV in Kennewick, WA. As a general assignment reporter,
Dustin covered everything from on-the-spot breaking news to light-hearted personal
interest stories. He got his start in academia at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu,
HI, where he taught journalism and advised the student newspaper.
Liz Inskip-Paulk, M.A. Instructor & Editor-in-Chief of CoMC Publications
Originally from England, Liz Inskip-Paulk arrived at Texas Tech University as a freshman
for a swimming scholarship. After graduating with a B.A. in Advertising and Public
Relations, she went on to work in the advertising industry as a copywriter, and then
returned to TTU to study further for a Master's degree in English Composition and
Rhetoric. With more than two decades in the writing profession (most recently with
STEM-related topics), Liz is Editor-in-Chief for the College of Media and Communications.
She teaches media writing.
Junction Students Enter the World of Professional Photography
By Alexa Rosas
This Summer, Hayden Denny, a senior International Economics major from Amarillo, Texas,
was able to step outside of his field of study and immerse himself in the field of
Associate professor of practice in journalism & electronic media Jerod Foster and
graduate assistant Simon Parmley led 14 Texas Tech students across the state, where
they applied their knowledge of photography to discover new limits and the best views,
and learned what it means to be a professional editorial photographer. The class,
popularly known as the Junction Intersession, is officially called Special Problems
"The Junction class is unique in that it puts students in a job," said Foster. "It
is as if the students are traveling on assignment as editorial photographers."
"We basically became professionals for two straight weeks. We were put on location
as if we were on assignment, shooting for whatever entity," said Denny. "It put us
in the shoes of a professional photographer and challenged us as to what we would
do and how we would attack a certain photographic issue in that setting," he said.
The course consisted of a lot of early mornings, just as many late nights and plenty
of movement. While the class was based in Junction, Texas, the group visited two ranches
in the county, and then spent several days traveling around the state. In this time,
the students visited the Mason Mountain Wildlife Refuge, the Llano River and then
moved as far south as the Sabinal River and eventually headed west towards Mexico.
According to Foster, throughout the trip the group photographed some of the most culturally
and naturally relevant sites in Texas. From Dolan Falls, the largest waterfall in
Texas, to Independence Creek, the largest tributary to the Pecos River and finally,
the Davis Mountains, where the students photographed Big Bend National Park, visited
Terlingua and Presidio and then climbed Mount Livermore, the fourth largest peak in
Along the route the students behaved as though they were shooting for a number of
different entities such as The Nature Conservancy and Texas Parks & Wildlife, and
according to Foster, it is not uncommon to see students get published by these outlets
after the trip.
Foster said that sometimes all it takes to teach photography students is the physical
movement off campus and away from what they are used to, as it may spark an individual's
creativity as well as introduce them to the world of professional photography. "They
are doing the same kind of work that I'd be doing for The Nature Conservancy or Parks
& Wildlife or the New York Times. That can't be replicated inside of a physical classroom
on campus," he said.
As a student, Denny gained skills that he could not have learned from a book. "You
have to be in the position of standing in a river or standing over a cliff or trying
to avoid the poison ivy to learn the types of skills we learned on this trip," he
The biggest takeaway for Denny was learning to change the way that he views his subjects.
"Anyone can take the first perspective that they see of any given place," Denny said.
"They can show up, take one shot and then walk away. You have to be willing to sit
with it and experience it and change your angle, change your perspective and metaphorically
change your lens."
Foster said that the course is a necessity for students who have an affinity for being
outdoors, for nature photography or for natural history or have an interest for working
in an editorial capacity.
"There is something that happens to you when you climb a mountain. There is something
that happens to you whenever you are having to walk thousands of dollars' worth of
gear across the rapids of a river," Foster reported. "A lot of times we get stuck
on our grade, 'Did we make an A or a B there,' and then that's the only sense of accomplishment
you get in the class. In this class you get a grade, but you also have to overcome
so many other obstacles to get the shots to even get the grade."
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