In this issue of Converging News:
Dear Friends of and Colleagues in the College of Media & Communication:
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Springtime at TTU often is the time we measure how well our College is succeeding. Of course, some achievements are not reducible to statistics. When a student a few years out tells me how valuable her education proved to be now that she is “on the job” or one of our faculty publishes a piece of cutting edge research in a prestigious journal, that’s “n = 1” as we say in social science, but still meaningful. But quantitative metrics are crucial benchmarks for any concern and I wanted this month to share our current vital signs, the most important measurements, via a snapshot infographic.
A few highlights:
- Last year we graduated a record number of students.
- Our retention rates are higher than TTU in general.
- Our graduate programs continue to see record growth.
- Our undergraduate and graduate Semester Credit Hours also continue to shoot up – more students across campus taking more of our classes.
- Due to new hires, in Fall 2015 we will see a record high number of fulltime faculty teaching in CoMC.
- Our ethnic minority enrollment rate has increased by more than ten percent in just four years.
Of course, we have challenges as well -- and I will review them in bulletins to come. But overall the good news is truly good!
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
College of Media & Communication
Texas Tech University
3003 15th Street, Box 43082
Lubbock, TX 79409
Study Abroad Germany: Greater Appreciation For Global Connectivity
By Dasha Ivanova
The Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church, or Berlin Cathedral for short, in Berlin, Germany.
It is a place where a student can experience art and history, meet lifelong friends, dive into another culture, and have an opportunity to get six course credits toward his or her degree. This place is Germany, one of three destinations of the Study Abroad Program in the College of Media & Communication in Summer 2015.
Students will have a chance to spend a month at the Jade University of Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, where they will attend classes with German students. There are two classes being offered to students: Storytelling by Smartphone and Electronic Media Operations. Both classes provide opportunities to learn about the similarities and differences between American and European media and cultures.
The Storytelling by Smartphone course will be taught by a professor from Jade University. Students will have a chance to explore different perspectives and apply their skills in alternate settings, while learning about European cultures.
The Electronic Media Operations course will be taught by Geoffrey Graybeal, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Public Relations and head of this Study Abroad program. It will focus on the differences in media, media management and media operations among the United States and European countries.
"The Study Abroad program in Germany is different from other study abroad programs at the College of Media & Communications," Kelly Kaufhold, Ph.D., a former assistant professor at the college, said. "One of the advantages is Jade University provides all accommodations to students. Classes are also held on Jade University's campus, so students may feel that they simply have a traditional summer semester like at Texas Tech University."
According to Graybeal, Jade University has an established relationship with Texas Tech. For many years it has been collaborating with Texas Tech engineering programs only. It recently launched the program with CoMC.
"The upcoming summer trip to Germany will be the start of longer and prosperous relationships between Jade University and the College of Media & Communication," Graybeal said. “So far, seven students have applied for the program. But Jade University wants us to bring even a few students, so we will possibly generate more interest in the program and spread the word about its advantages.”
Marina Gonzales, a Texas Tech alumna. was the one of the wind energy students who went to Germany last year.
"You become more confident in yourself traveling around a country you don't know," Gonzales said. "It looks good on your resume and makes you consider applying for jobs that are located somewhere else in the States, or in another country.”
Gonzales also urged students to be curious and to apply for a variety of Study Abroad scholarships.
The Germany program includes a 3-day excursion in Berlin, where students see all the main museums and significant historical and cultural sites. During other weekends, students also have the opportunity to travel to other countries in Europe.
"The language can become a barrier, but many of the young people in Europe people speak English,” Kaufhold said.
Graybeal said he believes the Study Abroad program will give students a greater appreciation for global connectivity.
"You can talk about it, but until you experience it yourself, you cannot really relate, " Graybeal said.
To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the Texas Tech Wilhelmshaven Study Abroad page for more details.
Communication Studies Professor Bios
By Dasha Ivanova & Rachel Blevins
Associate Professor and Interim Chair for the Department of Communication Studies.
Narissra Punyanunt-Carter, Ph.D., is an associate professor and the interim chair in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication studies from Texas Tech, and a doctorate in interpersonal and family communication from Kent State University.
Punyanunt-Carter has been an associate professor at Texas Tech for 14 years, and teaches interpersonal communication, gender, nonverbal and romantic relationships. Her primary area of research is relationships and interpersonal communication, and her secondary area is studying the effects of media. Punyanunt-Carter researches topics including romantic relationships, computer-mediated communication, father-daughter communication, and mass media portrayals of romance.
Punyanunt-Carter said she is very excited about the Department of Communication Studies merging with the College of Media& Communication because her background is in both media studies and interpersonal communication. After researching how both areas overlap, she said the merger just makes sense.
Katie Langford, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication. She earned a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in speech communication from Texas A&M University, and a doctorate in communication arts and sciences. Langford came to Texas Tech as an assistant professor in 2004 and was promoted to associate professor in 2010.
Langford studies legal and political rhetoric, with a focus on traditional public address through presidential rhetoric. She also analyzes First Amendment issues with free speech, Eighth Amendment issues with capital and cruel and unusual punishment, and Fourteenth Amendment issues with equal protection and due process rights. Langford said she looks at how identity is constructed for different groups, from women to transgender people to African Americans, before the law.
Langford said she is really excited about the Department of Communication Studies merging with the College of Media & Communication. She said that she sees it as the right move for both the department, and for Texas Tech, and that the realignment is more of a natural fit.
David Roach, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, and the Associated Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech. He earned a bachelor’s in English and speech education and his master’s in education administration from Abilene Christian University, and his doctorate in higher education administration with a focus in communication studies from Texas Tech University.
Roach started teaching at Texas Tech in 1991. He teaches a variety of courses, including quantitative research methods, public speaking, nonverbal communication and business communication. Roach’s primary area of research is in instructional communication. He is currently working on a project that looks at nonverbal communication in the classroom.
Roach said he is passionate about enhancing communication techniques between instructors and students. He said he loves to study communication, he loves to teach, and he is glad that he is able to blend his love of teaching with his love of research.
Patrick Hughes, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication and is the Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at the university. He earned a bachelor’s in speech from Augustana College, a master’s in communication with an emphasis in Research Methods from Illinois State University, and a doctorate in communication research from the University of Denver.
Hughes started teaching at Texas Tech as an assistant professor in 2000 and was promoted to associate professor in 2006. He currently teaches Communication Instruction in Higher Education, which is a graduate-level class that helps students cultivate teaching skills in the areas of interpersonal, rhetoric, family and organizational communication.
Hughes researches family contexts, intercultural contexts and interpersonal contexts. He said he works in a lot of interdisciplinary areas and is currently finishing up a book on integrative learning. Hughes said he publishes his work in various medical journals, personal relationships journals and psychology journals because he considers the theory and the nature of studying problems in interpersonal relationships to be an interdisciplinary endeavor.
Professor and Senior Vice Provost
Rob Stewart, Ph.D., is the Senior Vice Provost of Texas Tech University and Professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication. He earned a bachelor’s in business communication from Lubbock Christian University, a master’s in speech communication from Texas Tech, and a doctorate in speech communication and educational psychology from West Virginia University.
Stewart came to Texas Tech as an assistant professor in 1984. In the 1990s, he was the chair of the Communication Studies department for three years. Later, he served for 11 years as an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Stewart teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal communication, public speaking, and also the instructional courses for teaching assistants.
Stewart said his research interests are the interpersonal aspects of communication and religion. He said he looks at the process of communication between teachers and students.
Steward said he believes that the Department of Communication Studies can bring a broader perspective on relationship components to the College of Media & Communication students. He also said Communication Studies students will have a chance to take diverse classes, such as public relations or journalism, which may bring them more focus about the area of communication they want to work in in the future.
Amy Heuman, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, She earned a bachelor’s in communication with emphasis in advertising and public relations from Spring Arbor University, a master’s in communication from Western Michigan University, and a doctorate in communication from Bowling Green State University. Both the master’s and doctorate degrees have an emphasis on communication and culture. Heuman also has two minors in professional writing and photography.
Heuman became a member of the Texas Tech faculty in 2003 and was promoted to associate professor in 2009. She teaches intercultural communication, gender communication, communication theories, and qualitative research methods. Heuman’s research interests focus on cultural identity negotiations, specifically people who are identified as bicultural, multiracial and multiethnic. She is interested in these people’s negotiation processes and how the different aspects of their culture inform that process.
Heuman said she was looking forward to the Department of Communication Studies’ merger with the College of Media & Communication because she believed it would provide lots of opportunities for further collaboration and connections.
Bolanle Olaniran, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication. He earned a bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Central Oklahoma along with a minor in insurance and Real Estate management. After graduation, he stayed at the university and earned a master’s in marketing and finance. Olaniran earned a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis on organization, intercultural and small groups communication.
Olaniran starteded teaching at Texas Tech as an assistant professor in 1991 and became a full professor in 2003. He teaches organizational communication, small group interaction and conflict management, and gives seminars about computer-mediated interactions and crisis management. Olaniran’s research interests predominantly focus on computer-mediated communication and how different organization uses modern technology.
Olaniran said that the Department of Communication Studies’ merge with the College of Media & Communication is a great opportunity for students to take many different courses that can help them learn more about communication industries, and he is interested to see what the merger will bring both parties in the future.
Mark Gring, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin, and a doctorate in communication from the Ohio State University with an emphasis on critical cultural studies.
Gring became a member of the Texas Tech faculty in 2001 and has been working as an associate professor since 2008. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including Rhetoric in Western Thought, Persuasion, Rhetoric in Western Thought and Theories of Persuasion. Gring’s research interests include religious ideas and people's commitment to religious perspectives and how it has affected their behavior.
Gring said he supports the Department of Communication Studies’ merger with the College of Media & Communication, and he looks forward to seeing what kind of discussion the mix of faculty and students generates. He said students from the Department of Communication Studies now have a chance to have more overt interaction with media and media creators, and he believes the Department of Communications Studies will bring a new perspective about human interaction and communication to the College of Media & Communication.
"I Want to Make a Difference"
By Dasha Ivanova
Noelle speaking in front of a crowd at the Hackathon in Arizona.
"One of my primary goals, as a student, is to make a difference here, at Tech," Noelle Vela, a senior public relations major in the College of Media & Communication, said.
Vela received a Travel Scholarship for the Journalism School Hackathon at Arizona State University, and attended the second annual event during the last weekend of February. ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted the Hackathon in Phoenix. The school is widely recognized for having one of the nation’s premier professional journalism programs.
Vela learned about this scholarship opportunity from Geoffrey Graybeal, Ph. D., assistant professor in the Department of Media Strategies, and an adviser for Media Entrepreneurs & Innovation Group. " Dr. Graybeal sent out an email to the MEIG officers about this scholarship opportunity and encouraged us to apply, and I did. I was not expecting to get the scholarship but then I received an email that stated that I qualified."
Graybeal said, "Noelle fits the scholarship's criteria perfectly. One of the scholarship's categories is diversity, and she certainly represents that. And it is an interest and a passion of hers."
Vela said she had hoped to learn more about how to build business models during the Hackathon, and what kinds of steps people need to take in order to effectively create a product.
"I am interested in websites and programs that not only help generate revenue, but also make a difference in the world," Vela said. " I want to have an effect on the Hispanic community in a positive way. I want to create something that will help people and has potential to grow and succeed, " Vela said.
Vela suggested that students who have entrepreneurial spirit should apply for this scholarship.
She also said she believes it is good to step out from one’s comfort zone and to go to different places.
"You will find people who hold similar beliefs but they do things differently, so you can learn from them and bring that knowledge back to Tech," she said.
Vela is from Penitas, Texas, located near the state’s southern border. Vela said that got accepted to several big universities in Texas, including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University. Prior her final decision, Vela visited each of the campuses. She said she fell in love with both the campus and the people at Texas Tech.
Before Vela's senior year in high school, she did not know what career path she wanted to pursue. During her senior year she started to look for something that would fit her skills. She wanted to find something that involved some business, communication and presentation skills. Then, public relations popped up on her search page, and at that point the decision was made.
Vela said her thoughts were "I love my major! This is awesome." when she took Introduction to Mass Communications and Principles of Public Relations with Bill Dean, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Public Relations.
"I understood that public relations was a such a good fit for me, " Vela said. "I know that a lot of people change their major from time to time, and I am so lucky that I figured out what I want to do with my life right at the beginning of my first year at Tech."
Vela is one of the more actively involved students in CoMC. She is the vice president of TechPR, the student public relation group, the social media specialist of RaiderComm, the college’s student-run public relations firm, and the recruiting officer of the Media Entrepreneur & Innovation Group.
She recommends students get involved with different organizations on campus in order to make some connections and to build a professional portfolio that will eventually lead them to finding a good job.
"I am very busy," Vela said, "but I like to make my mark."