The College of Media & Communication recently set in motion a first-of-its-kind partnership with Austin College, a small liberal arts university based in Sherman, Texas. Through the partnership, students at Austin College can partake in graduate-level courses offered by CoMC while still in an undergraduate program, priming themselves for the transition to full-time graduate student at Texas Tech University.
While Austin College students benefit from “double-dipping” in their coursework, CoMC can extend its outreach and engagement programs to North Texas and help both institutions capitalize on recruitment opportunities. In order to capitalize on said opportunities, CoMC administration created a position with the sole purpose of liaising between Sherman and Lubbock.
A nationwide search delivered Andrew Brown, Ph.D., a former professor at the University of Tennessee and a longstanding nonprofit professional. Although Brown now dons the black and red double-T, he is stationed in Sherman and teaches CoMC courses out of Austin College.
“I think it's so unique and very student centric,” says Brown. “There have always been dual-credit opportunities for high school students, but you never saw any dual-credit opportunities for undergrads.”
Austin College first reached out to Texas Tech with ideas of partnering roughly three years ago. Since then, strategic planning between institutions has allowed Brown to thrive in the new role and provide ample benefits to both student bodies.
“Austin College provides us an ideal base to reach out to both the metroplex professional community and the high-achieving students matriculating on Austin College's campus who may want to continue their studies in a graduate program,” says Callison.
Although Brown eluded the hiring committee on the first go-around due to poor timing, Callison remained persistent and eventually secured the man he knew was right for the job. “
Dr. Brown is the perfect fit for our position on Austin College's campus,” says Callison. “He has professional experience as well as high-level academic training in strategic communication. He has instant credibility when talking with professionals about the value of our MA degrees. They will trust him because he has spent his time in their world.”
When Brown began in the new position, he had no computer and no office, as the partnership remained highly conceptual and entrepreneurial. Brown now proudly flies the CoMC banner in his office (with a computer) while combining his love for teaching and consistent professional drive.
“I love students and I love to see them do well, but I also like to think outside the box,” says Brown. “I wanted to mix some of my previous management experience with my academic interests, and [this position] fit the bill just right.”
Mary Norman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Practice and Coordinator of TTU CoMC MA Programs, spends much of her time in the student recruitment realm. She expects Brown's work to fill the MA programs with well-deserving students.
“He has a very important job to do,” says Norman. “In many ways, he is the face of Texas Tech in North Texas. He is a liaison between the Lubbock campus and our growing number of Texas Tech students and alumni in the area who work in strategic communication. In addition to teaching, he helps us identify potential students for our programs. He's an amazing asset.”
As for the alumni, Brown has experienced a wealth of kindness from the former CoMC student body. In many ways, he sees them as the embodiment of what he envisions for his current and prospective students.
“[The alumni] are really the other side of the coin of my job,” says Brown. “They have really been a nice way to not only make me feel welcome, but also give an opportunity for these programs to grow.” Plentiful growth is on the horizon with Brown at the helm of recruitment in North Texas. He remains in Sherman, promoting, recruiting, and leading his students to #AnyIndustryAnywhere.