Texas Tech University

Converging News

March 2016

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear CoMC Friends:

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

Most college professors, staff and administrators until very recently would say of their students' parents, “They are welcome to campus on move-in day, Family Weekend, and commencement.” But it is no secret that many of us who work in higher education had and have a wary (and even weary) attitude toward direct parental “involvement.” While volunteering, collaborating with teachers, attending meetings, and generally hanging out in K-12 education is the norm, “A student's mom is on the phone” in a college context usually means trouble. Stereotypes of helicopter parents and students stunned by their first B+ are not without foundation in reality. Moreover, college students are adult citizens: Part of their professional, social and personal maturation depends on being separated from “home” physically and intellectually.

However, we are entering a new and different age and need to rethink the separation paradigm. First, it is simply a fact that college students today are much more intimately connected with their parents than ever before. Whether via Facebook updates or texting, parents are continually aware of (some) of the campus activities of their children—from “I'm really worried about the exam on Thursday” to “Do you think I should join a sorority?” Second, parental investment in a college education is massive. The college major, career, and even course choices of students may affect their prosperity for the rest of their lives. Last, across America's campuses mental health and stress issues among students are soaring. Many kids are in trouble and need help from all concerned parties, including parents. The stakes are simply too high for modern families to just drop off their children in the dorm and hope it all works out.

For these reasons and more, the College of Media & Communication is taking a new approach, intending to build partnerships with parents while still nurturing the independent advancement and development of our students. A few weeks ago, Ms. Joyce Zachman, Executive Director of the Texas Tech Parents Association, met with most of the advising, marketing, recruiting and leadership staff of our college. [See story below.] I had corresponded with Ms. Zachman and met her before; we both saw the need for less suspicion and distance and more ideas for collaboration. As she puts it, “My goal for parent associations is to shift the focus from parent involvement (doing to) to engagement (doing with): ‘How can I best support my son/daughter through this difficult time?'”

I agree. For one thing, who better than another parent to brief parents on the differences in expectations in colleges today, versus those in their own time? So we are planning to move forward on a series of projects where parents and college professors, support staff, and administrators can work together for the success of our students.

It is a novel era with no road map. But that more or less describes the world and the economy today. We welcome the prospect of developing pathfinding methods and activities that will make college a more sane and fruitful experience for everyone.

Best wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

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

Junior PR Major Places in Final Two of PRWeek Student of the Year Awards


Nicole Lundberg
Nicole Lundberg

Public relations major Nicole Lundberg was named one of the top two finalists in the 2016 PRWeek Student of the Year competition, marking the second year in a row that a student from the Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication has made it to the final round.

Lundberg, a junior PR and honors student from Albuquerque, N.M., said she initially decided to enter the competition, which highlights the talents of the country's top public relations students, to gain experience.

“My thought was that I was doing it to learn how the competition worked and to give it my best shot this year, and that next year I would come in and have a really solid campaign,” Lundberg said. “But apparently it went better than anticipated, which is wonderful.”

Sun Lee, Ph.D., who was Lundberg's professor in Public Relations Strategies in fall 2014 and International Public Relations in fall 2015, made an announcement about the competition at the beginning of the semester.

“I was thinking about encouraging Nicole, even before she came to me,” Lee said. “I saw her in my PR Strategies class, and then I saw her competing in the PR Showdown last spring, and I noticed that she is talented and has a lot of strength in this type of competition.”

CoMC's first entry in the Student of the Year contest was in 2014, when Katie McKee (BA public relations, 2014) made it to the top five. After her successful debut, the bar was set, and Lee said she was confident that other Texas Tech students could achieve the same accomplishment.

The competition asked participants to create a campaign for Toyota that would help it increase Toyota Prius sales in the Hispanic demographic. Lundberg said she worked with Lee, who acted as her mentor throughout the process, to perfect a survey that would give more insight into the needs of the target market.

“We did a lot of marketing research, and I think that was something that really set my campaign apart,” Lundberg said. “I created a survey, Dr. Lee helped me disseminate it, and we got over 200 results back. Then we sat down and we analyzed all of the results, and using that, we identified some key issues.”

Nicole Lundberg walking with friends

Lundberg said the research indicated that the target market was 30-year-old dads within the Hispanic demographic, and, using that, she created a campaign pitch that catered to families who would benefit from the efficient gas mileage offered by the Prius.

“A Toyota Prius gets 600 miles to a tank of gas, which is pretty significant,” Lundberg said. “So I created a ‘600-mile adventure,' which was a competition where families could submit entries to take a 600-mile road trip, and Toyota would sponsor the competition, giving the best entries opportunities to travel, and to blog about those travels, and then using the blogs as media content for traditional and social media.”

After submitting her campaign in December, Lundberg said she received an email notifying her that she made it to the top five in January. The next task was to pitch the campaign to a member of PRWeek's staff who was posing as a journalist.

“Right before the pitch, the whole department got behind me. It was really cool,” Lundberg said. “We are so blessed with a wonderful college where our professors care about us.”

After a 4-minute pitch over the phone, Lundberg later found out she made the top two, and she submitted a crisis response for the final round of the competition. As a finalist, she will travel to New York in March for PRWeek's annual awards ceremony, where she will find out if she won the competition.

Lundberg, who currently works as the student assistant for academic communications for the university's vice president of research, said she completed her campaign as a full-time student, while working a total of three jobs and being involved in various on-campus organizations such as CoMC student ambassadors, the dean's student council, honors ambassadors and chancellor's ambassadors.

“It employed everything I had learned in my classes, but it was completely separate and in my free time,” Lundberg said. “Texas Tech has a phenomenal PR program that really sets students up to succeed. I would advise other students to take advantage of it. If you're willing to put in the work, it's a great opportunity.”

Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., assistant dean for graduate studies – public relations, said he hopes Lundberg's experience—as well as McKee's experience last year—will inspire more CoMC students to compete in national competitions.

“Not only is this an amazing honor for Nicole, but it says a lot about the strength of our program,” Seltzer said. “We've fielded two students in two years; both made it to the top five and now one is one the cusp of potentially winning this prestigious award. It's just more evidence of what the faculty have known for a long time – our students are fantastic and can compete with public relations majors from any program in the country.”

Texas Tech Alumnus Returns After Leaving Olympic Impression

By Jenae Fleming

Bob Condron will conduct a weeklong special topics course for the College of Media & Communication.

Bob Condron
Bob Condron

Texas Tech University alumnus Bob Condron returns to campus to teach a one-week special topics course entitled “Media & Communication Planning for the U.S. Olympic Team” for the College of Media & Communication. Condron served as the former director of media services for the United States Olympic Games for 30 years and is a member of the national advisory board for the college.

“I love the Olympic Games and its importance to this world, and I also love Texas Tech University and what it has meant to me in my life,” Condron said.

Throughout the week, students will select a U.S. sport and prepare a communications and media plan. Condron's hope for the course is to teach students to see the need for planning and preparation and be ready for the challenges they face.

“They say luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” Condron said. “I want these students to know how to be prepared for luck to come their way.”

Condron's career towards the Olympics began with an advertising class taught by Billy Ross in 1966. Ross mentioned the athletics department was looking for a student assistant in the sports information office and Condron jumped at the opportunity.

“That afternoon I was doing the clipping book for sports information director Bill Holmes,” Condron said.

Bob Condron giving an interview on Fox

Condron went on to graduate with a degree in business administration from Texas Tech in 1968. He said he credits his alma mater and former professors for showing him how to be professional, take on tasks and do them properly and precisely the first time.

“I'll never forget the major influences I had in the classroom, like Ralph Selmeyer, Billy Ross, Bob Rooker, Wally Garet and Bill Dean,” Condron said. “They treated us not as students, but as professionals and they expected us to do our classwork as professionals.”

The one-week course will be held from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 15-19 in the College of Media & Communication.

“I came away from this school with a love of people and a love of what I could be if I followed their advice,” Condron said. “I need to pay back that love and vision they had for me and pass it along to these students who will make a difference in the world.”

Re-published with permission from Texas Tech Today.

College of Media & Communication to Launch Online “Parent Portal”


Joyce Zachman speaking to Undergraduate Affairs

The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication is launching a “parent portal” to give parents more insight into the CoMC experience for prospective students.

Candace Trevino, a college recruiter for CoMC, said that when students choose Texas Tech, they often look to their parents for support, and the college looks to support parents by providing them with information.

“College is a transition for students, but it's also a transition for parents,” Trevino said. “When we have the pleasure of inviting someone into the Red Raider family, their parents are included, and we want the parents to be just as excited as their students.”

Emily Balke, recruitment and retention specialist for CoMC, said she hopes faculty and staff members can help parents through the experience of their children going to college because they understand that the whole family is going through a transition.

Joyce Zachman
Joyce Zachman

“We love parents,” Balke said. “Parents play an important role in a student's experience before college, during college, and after college. The students are here first and foremost to get an education, and their parents can help them in that decision.”

Joyce Zachman, executive director of the Texas Tech Parents Association, met with various faculty and staff members from the college including advisers, professors, and members of the Center for Student Success, Outreach and Engagement team.

Zachman said the Texas Tech Parents Association, which is a nonprofit organization, works to bring parents to campus, and is a great resource for parents who want to get more involved.

“We're here to support the parents and to support the students' success,” Zachman said. “Students who have engaged parents typically have higher GPAs. Parents are the most concerned about their students' success.”

Joyce Zachman and the Division of Undergraduate Affairs
Joyce Zachman and the Division of Undergraduate Affairs

Zachman said parents interested in engaging with the Texas Tech Parents Association can find more information about the organization on their website, www.texastechparents.org.

Heath Tolleson, academic adviser for the Department of Journalism & Electronic Media, said he hopes the college can work with both parents and students as the families go through the transition of their students going to college and becoming independent adults.

“I think the encouragement and the support from parents really does benefit students and help them to succeed,” Tolleson said. “I hope we can find a balance among the parents, faculty, administration and advisers. There is a happy medium; it just takes work on everyone's part.”

Advertising Major Interns with RD Thomas Advertising Agency


Cathleen Sullivan
Cathleen Sullivan

Senior advertising major Cathleen Sullivan is interning with RD Thomas Advertising, a full-service communications firm located in Lubbock, during Spring 2016.

A native of Lubbock, Sullivan said she learned about the internship with RD Thomas when touring agencies in Lubbock with Tech Advertising Federation.

“I really enjoyed meeting everyone at RD Thomas, so I waited until there was a position open,” Sullivan said. “When I heard that they had a position open through friends and their Facebook page, I decided to apply.”

Sullivan said her day-to-day tasks vary and often include packaging and shipping mail campaigns, participating in creative brainstorming sessions, and researching for clients' social media. 

“As an intern, you get to work with everyone in the office,” Sullivan said. “It has been interesting working with account services, media, broadcast, and the art department. Seeing behind the scenes of commercial shoots is one of the most fun parts of the job.”

During her time at Texas Tech, Sullivan said she has been a member of the Tech Ad Federation and the Women's Service Organization, a student in the Honors College, and a study abroad peer adviser. 

Melissa Gotlieb, Ph.D., assistant professor in advertising, said Sullivan was a student in her International Advertising class and is currently working on a research project with Gotlieb and Sun Lee, Ph.D., to examine how global brands engage the public through corporate social responsibility efforts. 

“Cathleen is an exceptional student,” Gotlieb said. “She is hardworking, driven, and her interest in learning extends beyond the classroom.”

Sullivan said she hopes to become an account coordinator or account executive in advertising in the future, and she feels that her internship with RD Thomas is a positive step in her career.

“The internship with RD Thomas has definitely been a positive experience,” Sullivan said. “The agency is actively working to build up my experience and skillset. The work I've done with them leads me to want to stay in advertising.”

Day in the Life: Erica Taylor

Erica Taylor in a marketing meetingErica Taylor speaking in the marketing meetingErica Taylor and Dr. Roger SaathoffErica Taylor and Dr. Roger Saathoff speakingErica Taylor outside the CoMC buildingErica Taylor picking out her foodErica Taylor ordering coffeeA coffee cup in Erica Taylor's handErica Taylor talking to a studentErica Taylor talking to a student at her deskErica Taylor and Eli Ramirez discussing his video projectErica Taylor browsing the internetErica Taylor and students looking at a production for the Double T InsiderErica Taylor and students looking at a productionErica Taylor and students looking at a video of the TTU baseball stadiumErica Taylor teaching a classStudents taking notes in Erica Taylor's classStudent raising his handErica Taylor playing a game with her class

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