In this issue of Converging News:
- Dean's Note
- Study Abroad: A New Perspective Of The World
- New Faculty Member Joins The College
- Ad Team Always Strives for a Victory
Dear Friends of and Colleagues in the College of Media & Communication:
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
This last month has been very eventful in CoMC, as you can tell by the news traffic we have been sending in announcing new hires. It’s all part of an effort to increase the quality and quantity of student services. Just a few examples: Todd Chambers, Ph.D., has become our first Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. He is charged with the overall management of undergraduate programs, activities and outcomes. And Aleesa Ross will now supervise all student services, marketing and recruitment, with the exception of advising. We felt that the College was doing so many great things for the freshmen-to-senior population that they needed consistent coordination.
We have also hired, or are about to hire, five new staff: an additional internship and career counselor, an assistant recruiter, a new student events planner and coordinator, another support person for our main office, and a video producer. All of them will work within undergraduate affairs to increase our efficiency and quality serving our students.
We are also hiring a veritable pack of full-time faculty in crucial areas of research, teaching and professional application. They include professors of public relations, advertising, journalism and electronic media, sports media, and online/distance teaching. You will see everyone’s profile in upcoming issues of Converging News.
Our college family is growing as we spare no expense in making sure our students have access to the best people to help propel them forward with their lives and careers. Stay tuned for even more to come on January 1, with an even bigger expansion of the College!
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
Study Abroad: A New Perspective Of The World
By Dasha Ivanova
A mountain river valley in New Zealand. Photo by Jay Crain
It is a place where one can enjoy incredible beauty, experience different cultures and environments, and earn six credits towards one’s degree. This place is New Zealand, which was one of destinations of the Study Abroad Program in the College of Media & Communication in Summer 2014.
For a second year, students had a chance to spend three weeks in a completely different part of the world and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime learning experiences. The two credit-earning classes started in Lubbock, and after ten days of instruction and preparation, the students went to New Zealand.
They visited both islands and many cities around the country. They had the chance to encounter the culture of the Maori people, New Zealand natives, and participate in their traditional events. Students also visited local universities, film production studios, and many places that depict the magnificent scenery of New Zealand.”
"The uniqueness of this program is that we actually got to see all of the country in one form or fashion, " Jerod Foster, Ph.D., a professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Electronic Media, said. During this trip, Foster taught the travel photography course.
"This program is truly beneficial for students who are interested in visual media or film and photography," Foster said. "New Zealand is a place with striking scenery. There are photogenic places where one can take the best photograph ever."
The other class that was offered to students was Media Tourism and Culture, taught by Robert Peaslee, Ph.D., interim chairperson and associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Electronic Media.
"Most amazing in this trip was seeing the country in a new way through students’ eyes and photography," Peaslee said.
"This program gave students a chance to not only learn about the country you go to, but also about your own country," Peaslee said. "Its gives you perspective about where are you from in the world and, also, helps students to improve their resumes, build their portfolios, and take some salable photos."
There are many components to this study abroad program that attract students.
"The conceptual core of the media tourism class was ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’," Peaslee said. " Therefore, this course was perfect for someone who admires those great films.”
Peaslee mentioned that New Zealand brands itself as a paradise where the land is untouched, which makes this landmass more attractive to tourists. Peaslee also emphasized that a big drive for students to go on this trip was Jerod Foster, and “the chance to work on the same field with a photographer of such caliber.”
Blake Silverthorn, senior electronic media & communications major, said, “The first time I heard about the program was in Jerod Foster's class. It was a good chance to be at the place where ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was filmed, and, of course, spend some time in a completely different world.”
Silverthorn mentioned that he was also excited to learn about the country and film from Peaslee. "He knows everything about this place," Silverthorn said.
Jay Crain, senior electronic media & communications major, was also inspired by the opportunity to go to the place where “The Lord of the Rings” series were made.
"In addition to the great film scenery, New Zealand made so much sense to me in a lot of ways," Crain said. " The native people, their manners, language, currency and the way they dress felt so right to me."
Both Crain and Silverthorn said they were blown by the incredible beauty of Milford Sound, a fjord in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island.
"There is no way to capture the beauty of this place in a picture, even though we tried," Crain said. Silverthorn added, "Students who go on this program need to make plans in advance so they can capture the beauty of places like Milford Sound.”
The study abroad program in New Zealand helped students open their minds and appreciate the fact of how people are tied together globally.
"Students who are planning to study abroad need to have a desire to travel and simply be a good global citizen," Foster said.
Silverthorn also said he believes that one can only learn so much in a certain place. "In order to keep learning you need to have a different perspective to the world," Silverthorn said.
According to Foster, the study abroad program in New Zealand gave students the opportunity to explore the other part of the world and have a great learning experience. "The program allows students to step away from American shoes and experience life as a global tourist and master their curiosity, " Foster said.
Editor’s note: Interested readers can learn more about the upcoming study abroad program by visiting the College of Media & Communication website or by going to the JEMC Study Abroad New Zealand Facebook page.
New Faculty Member Joins The College of Media & Communication Family
By Dasha Ivanova
New faculty member Bryan McLaughlin Ph.D.
Though it is just his first semester in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, one professor already feels at home among the college’s faculty and students.
Bryan McLaughlin, Ph.D., is one of several new faculty in the college this semester. McLaughlin received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. After that, he went to the University of Illinois where he earned his master’s degree in communication. Finally, he earned his doctorate in mass communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
One of McLaughlin’s research interests is political communication, specifically political polarization. He is also interested in political advertising, different ways people can influence each other, and all other aspects of political advertising. Currently, he is conducting research on political email advertising. He also explores how Democrats and Republicans use email to appeal to their own party.
Even though McLaughlin just started working for Texas Tech, he has already been collaborating with some professors who worked on a panel survey about the 2014 elections. McLaughlin said he plans to collaborate with other faculty and departments and to start thinking about research involving the 2016 presidential election.
McLaughlin is an assistant professor of advertising and teaches MCOM 3380 Mass Communication Research Methods and ADV 4308 Advertising Account Planning. In Advertising Account Planning, students learn about the application of research methods to advertising. Students also learn how to understand the consumer, why it is important to research the industry and target publics, and what types of messages might appeal to that audience.
McLaughlin, who said he has a strong passion for teaching, was attracted to the Texas Tech atmosphere. "The college is doing a lot of great things," McLaughlin said. "There are many young, productive faculty and people are very friendly and collaborative."
McLaughlin said he likes that the College of Media & Communication has an easy going, yet productive, environment, and that there are many resources that faculty and students can use. He said that the students are a part of the productive climate.
"These students are collegiate, polite and hardworking," McLaughlin said. He also said he notices that advertising students have a big passion for the major, and they work well together. McLaughlin said that in order to become a successful student, one needs to keep a balance between working hard and professional experience. McLaughlin explains that it is important to engage in the classroom, but also it is beneficial to have an internship and make some connections.
McLaughlin describes his experience at Texas Tech as encouraging, engaging and motivating, where people are very friendly and always ready to help. He is planning to stay at Texas Tech, conduct more research, and share his experience with the faculty, and, of course, with the students.
Ad Team Always Strives for a Victory
By Dasha Ivanova
Ad Team members working and collaborating ideas in a recent meeting.
For the last 40 years, the American Advertising Federation has been holding the National Student Advertising Competition where college students from all over the nation compete against each other. Texas Tech Ad Team placed third in the nation at last spring’s competition.
Pizza Hut is the client for this year. “The assignment was three pages long this year,” Shannon Bichard, associate professor, Ad Team advisor, and chairperson of the Department of Advertising in the College of Media & Communication, said. “Very broad directions were provided and the team will need to make a lot of decisions.”
Bichard explained that this year’s assignment is forcing students to decide what is really best for Pizza Hut and how to increase traffic and make the purchase of pizza available online, which is the main requirement that the client is looking for.
Last year, Mary Kay was the competition’s client.
For more than 12 years, Bichard has been an adviser for the team. She knows a lot about the competition process, the logistics, and what it takes to win. “Every team has a different perspective about how to run the team,” Bichard said. “But, having a consistent adviser is important.”
Bichard also explained how crucial it is to have a good team, and most importantly, choose the right people.
“The interview process is crucial, ” Bichard said. “You have to get people who are really passionate about joining the team and ready to sacrifice a lot.”
Bichard said she believes that it is not always the right thing to choose 4.0 students.
“I always save some spots for some intense creative people, even if they are not excellent academic students,” Bichard said. “It is important to have a balance of personalities and skills in order to make the team work well together.”
Bichard emphasizes that a student who wants to join the team needs to have a great work ethic and be passionate about one of the advertising areas. Most importantly, “You need to stand out,” Bichard said.
The Texas Tech Ad Team includes 19 people; however, they split into smaller groups and work on particular tasks for the campaign. As a whole, the team meets every Tuesday night, and small groups meet as often as they need. Bichard said that students put a lot of effort into their work.
“It is hard, but students are obsessed and they have a lot of passion, ” Bichard said.
In the spring, the team stays on campus during the whole spring break in order to prepare for the regional competition in April.
“If I do not think the campaign is good, great enough, we won’t go to the competition,” Bichard said. “I push students to do better than they think they can.”
Tyler Smith, a senior advertising and sociology major, said, “Dr. Bichard likes to tell us that we have to ‘kill our darlings,’ and I think it is really important. We have to be able to let go of and change our favorite ideas when they don't work.”
Smith said that getting on the team was challenging, especially the process of going through interviews and auditions.
“You definitely had to be ready to go from the moment you applied,” Smith said. He also explained that someone who wants to be on the team needs to have good time management skills and an understanding that Ad Team is going to take up a lot of the time.
“However, it’s worth it,” Smith said. “We know that everyone on the team truly wants to be there and really will do whatever it takes to get us back to nationals.”
Being on the ad team requires a lot of time. As of now, the team has collected a lot of secondary research, and in November the team started to do campaign insights. Bichard mentioned that usually before the team leaves for the winter holiday, they have three campaign directions. After the team comes back, they pick one direction and start producing campaign materials, such as planning media placement, producing ads and making important media choices.
The relationship between the college and the ad team is mutually beneficial. The college assigned a separate room to the team and always helps financially if there is need. Usually that happens when the team runs out money that they collected through their own fundraising events and from alumni.
“The team, in return, provides prestigious publicity to the college and to the university, overall,” Bichard said. “As a result of many successful years of participation, the university’s advertising program has been recognized as one of the top advertising programs in the nation.”
“I want to win, and win, and win again, ” Bichard said.
The team placed sixth at the national competition two years ago, and placed third in the nation last spring. Bichard hopes that next year the team will finally become the winner of the competition.