Texas Tech University

Converging News

January 2015

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear Friends of and Colleagues in the College of Media & Communication:

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

The College of Media and Communication (CoMC) is in the midst of an unprecedented period of growth, and January 1 brought in not only a new year but also the largest expansion of the College, at one time, in its history. The Department of Communication Studies (COMS) officially moved from the College of Arts & Sciences into CoMC. COMS comprises eight faculty, two staff members, and about 150 undergraduate and graduate students.

The department's areas of teaching and research range from interpersonal and family communication to organizational communication to rhetoric. COMS is also one of the founding departments of Texas Tech.

The move is in line with the national trend towards unification of the study of communication. We feel that not only have we added new coverage areas for our students to fully develop their professional and personal potential but now a host of collaborations—such as in cross-disciplinary areas like health communication—are even more empowered. COMS itself is expanding further; we are hiring a new full-time chair, assistant professors of interpersonal and organizational communication, and a director of forensics for their award-winning debate team.

Bigger is not always better, but we feel that the addition of our new colleagues allows the College of Media and Communication to serve the research, teaching, and community and national engagement mission of Texas Tech more broadly, deeply, and better.

David D. Perlmutter

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean


New Department Merges With The College

New Department

Provost Lawrence Schovanec and Dean David Perlmutter cutting the ribbon

A new year brought a new department to the College of Media & Communication. The Department of Communication Studies officially merged with the college on Jan. 1, 2015. Eight full-time faculty members will bring their educational expertise under the umbrella of the College of Media & Communication. Students will have the chance to explore new opportunities that the college provides and to get involved with a number of communications-related organizations.

To read more about the Communication Studies joining the college, please visit http://today.ttu.edu/2015/01/department-of-communication-studies-now-in-college-of-media-communication


Gaming industry opens its doors to College of Media & Communication students and faculty
By Dasha Ivanova

Last November, faculty members and students from Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication made a two-day trip to Austin, Texas, where they had an opportunity to visit video gaming companies and receive advice from industry professionals.

The key connection on this trip was CoMC alumni David Swofford. Swofford is president of Conley Swafford Media and was inducted into the college's Hall of Fame last year.

John Velez, one of faculty members who went to Austin, said it was the first time that faculty and students had such an opportunity to look inside the video gaming industry. The trip idea came from Swofford and the dean of the CoMC, David Perlmutter.

Cloud Imperium Games

Group at Cloud Imperium Games

“Mr. Swofford showed us around the video gaming industry. He gave us a tour and let us meet with some higher-ups at two different companies, Portalarium and Cloud Imperium Games,” Velez said.

During the trip, students had a chance to meet with different kinds of people working in the gaming industry, such as designers, programmers and quality assurance people. Students had an opportunity to present their video gaming ideas and projects that they want to continue to work on after they graduate.

“The students received very useful feedback from people who work in the video gaming industry,” Velez said.

For this trip, Velez chose students from two classes. One was a news reporting group called Heads Up Display, which reviews video games, TV shows and movies. The other students were from his video gaming class, and had shown initiative and interest, according to Velez. He noted that all five students were extremely excited to go on the trip.

Allyssa Peden, junior electronic media major and president of Heads Up Display said, “They were very nice and hospitable, and they did for us what they do not usually do for others. I have learned what qualities and skills one needs to have to become a video game developer and what programs one needs to know to design a game.”

Velez explained, “One of the main reasons we went to Austin was for the students to learn how to break into the video gaming industry and what it takes. Students learned how to get their foot in the door.”

“We were lucky because we were able to make some connections with people from the video gaming industry. This definitely would not be possible without David Swofford,” Velez added.

Carmen Askerneese, a recent graduate in electronic media and communication and one of the founders of Heads Up Display, said, “We always wanted to go on a trip like this, and finally we had a chance to take an inside look into the industry.”

Cloud Imperium employees

Cloud Imperium employees working away amongst a sea of monitors

“What I liked most about this trip was having a chance to sit down with people who are actually working in the industry. They gave us advice about how they got involved with the gaming industry and how we can get involved if we want to,” she added.

“Since I went on the trip, my perspective about gaming has changed,” Askerneese said. “Before, I thought that people who develop games are just a bunch of passionate people who like to play video games. Now I know that these people put a lot of effort into their jobs and most of them have been making games before they step into this business.”

Peden said, “If you know how to make a video game, you can work in the video gaming industry. Before, I did not realize how much work people in the video gaming industry put into the development process.”

“And if something goes wrong, they need to come back and change everything,” Peden added. “This trip gave me a new perspective of appreciation for the video gaming process, things that most people do not know, things behind the scenes.”

Velez explained that the video gaming process is a collaborative effort among all the different people and the jobs and roles that they play.

“One of the things that was eye-opening for students and for me personally was the fact that to be able make it in the industry, one has to have all the basic skills in all the different areas for the development process,” Velez said.

Velez said that the entertainment industry in the United States is growing at a speedy rate, and anyone can get into the industry and make a name for himself or herself and open a lot of opportunities.

Peden said, “There has been a lot of research on the future of video gaming. Eventually, video games will be created for people to work together and learn to trust other people. Scientists believe in the end, video gaming will help people solve world problems.”


Study Abroad: Exploring the land of our forefathers
By Dasha Ivanova

London Group

Students posing with Hodge cat statue

"I had never been to Europe before. It was my first experience, and I absolutely loved it," said Ann Georgia Kapusta, a senior public relations major at Texas Tech University, and one of the College of Media & Communication's London Study Abroad students of 2014.

London was one of the destinations of the Study Abroad Program in the CoMC last year, and is again in 2015.

Students who enroll in the Study Abroad classes have a chance to earn six credit hours during their trip while experiencing another country's history and culture. One of the classes in the ongoing program is MCOM 4000, Global Communications and Evolution of the British Empire, and the other class changes each year.

In 2014, the two credit-earning classes started in Lubbock. Students did some research and presentations and then received other assignments when they arrived in London.

"Students completed their assignments through experiential learning or on the go," said Autumn Shafer, Ph.D., an assistant professor in CoMC. "Students completed social media assignments. They had to go out and find some media-related exhibits, take a selfie, and write a post about the exhibits' significance in a sentence or two."

"Also, students had a chance to do networking while on the trip. We visited four different public relations agencies, including Ogilvy and Edelman," Shafer said. "At both agencies we had information sessions and met people from different departments. "

Kapusta said she learned a lot in the program.

"Classes were hands-on and in-depth,” she said. “Our lead faculty did a great job in explaining media differences between the U.S. and UK media. It was very eye-opening – I had not realized that there were so many differences between them."

London has a long history, and students visited many sites where they could learn about that history and traditions of British culture, such as Oxford University, Hampton Court Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral.

“It was a real learning experience; students learned how the British culture evolved and how it influenced American culture,” Shafer said.

Jake Quintanilla, a senior media strategies major who went on the trip, said, “I am really big on culture, and I love learning about other people's culture. The trip gave me a chance to witness the English people and their culture, and to submerge myself into their daily lives.”

London Phone Booth

Kapusta outside a London phone booth

Shafer added, “One of the sites that students were most excited about was the Harry Potter Studios. Students were able to go behind the scenes and see how the special effects were done, and see costumes and other things from the movie set. Movie studios are modern media, and it was a neat connection for students to make.”

Shafer emphasized that having Study Abroad experience on a resume´ sets a student apart. She said that this trip was a “maturity builder” for the students, because it gave students a chance to become more responsible and to earn a sense of independence.

Kapusta said, “The Study Abroad Program is a such a good experience because you get to know faculty on a more personal level. You can stay in touch with them and might ask them for a recommendation letter later in your academic career. It also gives one a chance to get to know other students well, learning from them and possibly teaching them something.”

Shafer explained, “This year's Study Abroad program in London is competitive, like last year's. We have approximately 50 candidates and we will invite 35 of them for the interviews.” She added, “We are trying to select people who will take something from this program for their career or graduate studies, and someone who will bring something to the program as well.”

Kapusta mentioned that this trip inspired her to travel more.

"I want to go back to London and visit places that I did not get to visit," Kapusta said. "I think once you go abroad, you will be bitten by the travel bug, and you will then just go out and explore."

Quintanilla said, “It got me a chance to see how a different part of the world works, and, most importantly, to explore the way people uphold their beliefs and traditions.”

“Since I returned from this trip,” he added, “I have more respect for people from different countries, and I found so much respect for students who come here, in the States, and study. It is not easy to study abroad; it is hard.”

Kapusta concluded, “This program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be willing to explore and have an open-mind. Take in as much as you can if you go on this trip.”

Interested readers can learn more about the upcoming study abroad program in London by visiting the College of Media & Communication website or http://comclondon.weebly.com/


Picking A Playlist
By Preston Redden

“What is your favorite song?” can be a difficult question to answer. West Texas VIPs are getting a chance to shine by answering this very question on a radio program featured on KTXT-FM.

Loosely based on a BBC radio program called “Desert Island Discs,” the “Top's Ten” program asks prominent people from West Texas to share ten of the most influential songs from their lives. David D. Perlmutter , dean of the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, hosts the program. The program airs on Texas Tech University's FM radio station, KTXT-FM, on Sundays at noon and repeats Mondays at 5 p.m.

“The show's purpose is to interview those who are very successful in their field and to understand them,” Perlmutter said. “I have always found music to be a very good entry point to discussing someone's life. It also adds flavor to the traditional interview format and allows me to ask a few personal questions to get to know the inner soul behind the professional persona.”

Tops Ten

Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan with Dean David Perlmutter outside the KTXT-FM studio.

Texas Tech University Chancellor Robert Duncan stopped by “Top's Ten” on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to record an interview. The fact that Duncan plays guitar and was in a band growing up led to his classic rock playlist.

“I got a guitar when I was twelve,” Duncan said. “A lot of my buddies around the neighborhood had gotten guitars and I got a Silvertone acoustic guitar for Christmas one year. That is how I initially got interested in music.”

Perlmutter said he appreciates how “Top's Ten” allows for a non-traditional interview format. He said he can gain unique insight into the guests through their music selections, where a traditional interview might not.

“I like to highlight these successful people,” Perlmutter said. “These interviews are not just about people enjoying music or playing guitar. There is a mind, thought and application. That is my philosophy as a teacher and also the philosophy of a professional college, such as ours. This show allows us to highlight that where a straight interview may not.”

The feedback on the program from guests has been positive. Chancellor Duncan said he enjoyed the interview and had fun picking out the songs for his playlist.

“Coming up with a list of my ten favorite songs was certainly a nostalgic experience,” Duncan said. “It was really fun to look back, and each song brought back its own memories from my life. Forty years later, the words may have more meaning than they did when I first heard them. But, the music is still good.”

Jaryn Kilmer, communications coordinator in the Office of Communications and Marketing, helped Duncan pick out his song choices.

“This was definitely a great way to get to know your boss,” Kilmer said. “I had never heard a few of the Chancellor's favorites, and it was interesting to find out when we did like some of the same songs.”

Since beginning the show, Perlmutter said he has learned something new every show. He said he hopes that listeners of the show can also learn something, whether it is about a certain type of music or about the career of that program's guest.

“Every guest educates me,” Perlmutter said. “I hope every listener, whether they are a student or professor, can learn something. Chancellor Duncan pointed out interesting insights about music and legislation. It is good stuff to know.”

All previous shows are available for streaming on KTXT-FM's website (http://www.ktxtfm.org/raider/tops-ten/) and are also available for download on iTunes.

Jimmie Reeves & Robert Wernsman Retirement Videos
Produced by Jacob Copple

Jimmie Reeves & Robert Wernsman
Retirement Videos.

Two College of Media & Communication faculty members retired in January. Jimmie Reeves, Ph.D., and Robert Wernsman were honored at a luncheon on Jan. 12. Colleagues, former students, and friends participated in congratulatory videos for each of the men.

Click the following links to view Jimmie Reeves' video, as well as Robert Wernsman's video.

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