Fall 2018

New Majors and Minors in COMM

Three new majors were recently created to distinguish the current offerings in the Department of Communication Studies. We now have majors in Communication Studies, Digital Media, Public Relations, and Health Communication. These changes were made to recruit new students to our major and provide them with specific skills in areas of employability.

  • Digital Media students create and interpret messages that are part of our increasingly interconnected world, and gain experience with the tools of that world. Students use audio, video, animation and text in ways that demonstrate their ability and conviction.
  • Public Relations students learn to manage relationships between organizations and the publics that affect an organization's success. Students learn to research, plan, implement and evaluate communication campaigns. Activities focus on how to build relationships between an organization and its publics, monitor the organization's environment, and counsel management on policies and programs.
  • Health Communication students enhance the importance of communication in our health care system and beyond. As health communicators students create, disseminate, and analyze health messages about disease awareness and prevention, medical treatment and healthy living through community outreach programs, campaigns, printed material and the Internet.

Learn More at:

Honorable Mention at Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival

"The Economics of Comic-Con," a documentary film produced and directed by MU communication studies and digital media students, received an Honorable Mention cash award at the Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival on Aug. 31.

The students – Kody Smith, Carly Kwiecien, Ciara Knisely, Deric Haynes, Dominic Marietta and Abdul Oguinnake – were excited to see how their film stacked up against submissions from other schools such as Notre Dame, Purdue, Indiana and Huntington universities. The festival was at the Culver Academy in Culver, Ind. The MU film team also got to hear Judd Case, associate professor of communication studies, and John Zeglis, chair of MU's Board of Trustees, sing the Manchester University fight song.

Faculty Updates

mary-lahmanMary Lahman – Published a new textbook by the Institute of General Semantics. Awareness and Action: A Travel Companion was created as a practical guide for learning to communicate well, connecting theory with practice. Students in Lahman's Language and Thought course are using the work to find ways to use more effective language and listening behaviors and to answer the book's core questions: "Are you aware of how your words create worlds?" and "Are you aware of how your language and listening habits impact interactions in the classroom, at work and on the road?"

Morales-GabrielaGabriela Morales – Attended a training that officially certified her as a Community Health Worker in the state of Indiana. She also has students in her Health Literacy class working with organizations around the area such as the Bowen Center in Warsaw, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne, YMCA in Wabash, and Timbercrest in North Manchester. Students are actively working with these organizations to look at the health information/material they have and, with the skills students are learning in class, they will be creating health information that is accessible, user-friendly and culturally appropriate.

tim-mckenna-buchananTim McKenna-Buchanan – Traveled and presented with undergraduate COMM students at a regional conference in April 2018. Carly Kwiecien, junior, and Tim McKenna-Buchanan, assistant professor of communication studies presented their paper titled "'It's necessary for others, but not for me': Exploring Conceptions of Professionalism that Emerge in the Organizational Socialization of Pharmacy Students" at the 86th annual Central States Communication Association conference in Milwaukee, Wisc. This research and paper was conducted as part of the Faculty-Student Summer Research Grant in Summer of 2017 and will be presented alongside scholars in the Organizational and Professional Communication Division of CSCA. Additionally, Shianna Knoll, senior, presented on a panel titled: "The Future of PR: Outstanding PR Undergraduates Who Will Make a Difference," in which she shared her experiences as a public relations student at MU and discussed how she is being taught to make a difference in her community and in the field of PR.

judd-caseJudd Case – Presented at the Popular Culture Association in March in Indianapolis on the puer aeternus – the "eternal boy" or "Peter Pan" archetype. He did an archetypal analysis of Cavewoman Rain, a comic that positions its reader as an eternal boy, and consequently as a dinosaur-like threat to modern life. At PCA he reunited with Manchester's own Julia Largent '11, who was also presenting and is now a tenure-track assistant professor at McPherson College in Kansas.

michelle-calkaMichelle Calka – Is currently on sabbatical for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her research project uses critical theory as a lens to explore race, class and gender dynamics in craft beer production, marketing and consumption. In addition to a book project, she is developing a class in beer culture, which she plans to propose as a Critical Connections course. The focus of the course will not be the consumption of beer, but on the history and patterns of the industry and the impact of beer and brewing on our social practices and economy.

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