The School of Communication
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News & Events
Thomson receives Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award
Dr. Deborah Thomson (pictured on right with SOC director Dr. Linda Kean) was presented a UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award at the fourth annual Founders Day and University Awards Celebration recognizing “the best of East Carolina University” on May 1 in Hendrix Theatre.
Thomson, an associate professor in the School of Communication, was one of six ECU recipients of the award that recognizes and supports excellent teaching at each of the 16 constituent universities in the UNC system.
Also at the ECU Annual Awards Celebration, Dr. Rebecca J. Dumlao received the Scholarship of Engagement Award, which recognizes a faculty member for achievement in scholarship of engagement and a sustained commitment to partnered scholarly endeavors with communities. Read more about Rulifson, Herron, Zhang and Dumlao’s research at http://www.ecu.edu/news/rcaw13.cfm. Dr. Pamela Hopkins and part-time instructor Josh Copenhaver were inducted into the 2013 Servire Society. The Servire Society members have contributed 100 or more hours of volunteer service – without compensation and outside their normal realm of duties – to the community at large within the previous year. Dr. Cindy Elmore was a College of Fine Arts and Communication grant recipient.
School of Communication Adviser the “outstanding” choice
Jennifer Cabacar, assistant director of Academic Advising and Support and a School of Communication adviser, received the Outstanding Adviser Award for ECU and became the ECU nominee for the National Academic Advising Association Regional Award.
SOC Spring 2013 Graduate Recognition Ceremony Featured Leadership Expert as Keynote
From Connecticut to Nigeria and places in between, Mitch Owen is spreading the word about leadership, team building and organizational communication.
Owen is a widely published management consultant and executive coach. His passion is developing people, teams and public and private organizations to achieve organizational success. He specializes in strategic planning, leadership development and executive coaching.
His company, Mitchen, Inc. offers research-based solutions for assessment, group facilitation, conflict management, succession planning, identifying and developing leaders, and creating high performance work teams. Mitchen’s clients include universities, state governments, private companies, nonprofits and individuals that want to improve their people and products to the fullest extent.
Valerie McAlpin, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte said, “Mitch brought new insights, creative energy, and great problem solving techniques to my team of faculty.”
The mission at Mitchen is simple: Encourage leaders to exceed their own aspirations, facilitate high performing teams built on trust, curiosity, and a veracity for the best products, and engage organizations to strategically focus on their best path for prosperity.
Multimedia Newsroom and Communication Center opens to public
The School of Communication hosted an Open House for alumni, students, potential students and others interested in a tour of its newest facilities—the Multimedia Newsroom and the Communication Center--on Saturday, April 20.
The facilities are on the second floor of Joyner East, across the plaza from Joyner Library. Room 215 houses the multimedia newsroom, and Room 205 is actually a four-room communication center with separate spaces available for research and meeting. The large newsroom has new computers, three studio cameras, a TriCaster, an audio board, an anchor desk and a green screen. The newsroom's virtual sets enable the plain green backdrop of the anchoring desk to be transformed into a city skyline and numerous other scenes.
The communication center features a two-way mirror for focus group research, an eye tracker and a biofeedback machine. In addition to providing a controlled research environment, the center will be available for workshops and one-on-one help with presentation preparation and delivery.
The newscasts created in the newsroom are available under the name Pirate News Network on YouTube.
School of Communication alum receives Distinguished Alumni Award at CommCrew’s Seventh Annual Spring Reception
Valeria Lassiter, who earned her Communication degree at East Carolina University in 1990, was presented the School of Communication’s Distinguished Alumni Award at a reception on April 20, hosted by the School’s alumni organization, CommCrew.
Lassiter is the founder and president of Lassiter & Associates, LLC, a company specializing in strategic partnerships, development, fundraising, communications, marketing, event management and planning. The firm is based in Chevy Chase, Md.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni with a minimum of four years of work history, outstanding and uncommon achievement in one’s profession, in civic affairs, and/or politics.
“It is an honor for me to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Communication. I am deeply appreciative of my experience at ECU,” Lassiter said. [ Read Complete News Release ]
The award was presented at the School of Communication’s Seventh Annual Spring Reception organized by CommCrew, the School’s alumni and supporters’ organization.
Featured journalist, author speaks to Basic Reporting classes
Asra Nomani, an author and longtime reporter for The Wall Street Journal, spoke to two Basic Reporting classes in March. In one, she described her work with the Daniel Pearl Project at Georgetown University. That project had Nomani direct journalism students in the search for information about those behind the 2002 abduction and killing in Pakistan of Pearl, who was also a Wall Street Journal reporter and Nomani’s close friend. In another Reporting class, she spoke about the research and reporting techniques involved in Op/Ed pieces, using her work for the Washington Post as an example.
Nomani was the featured speaker for ECU’s celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. She wrote the book, “Tantrika: Traveling the Road of Divine Love,” and “Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.”
All Star Sisters and Teammates
Twins Britny and Whitny Edwards excel on the basketball court and in the classroom
By Gretchen Lindsay, School of Communication Intern Spring ’13
Growing up, twins Britny and Whitny Edwards were surrounded by the love of basketball and East Carolina University.
Their father, Theodore ‘Blue’ Edwards, played basketball for ECU and went on to play in the NBA for several teams such as the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics. Both girls have played basketball all their lives and now play for ECU. Both are also working on master’s degrees in health communication.
Before attending ECU, Britny and Whitny played basketball for the University of Virginia and received their bachelor’s degrees in English. Both girls graduated from UVa early and returned to North Carolina to attend graduate school.
Coming to East Carolina for graduate school to study health communication seemed like the natural choice for both girls.
“I chose the university because I always wanted to come back and play in my home state,” Whitny says. “I was comfortable with ECU because my parents went here and our family had lived in Greenville briefly while Britny and I were younger.”
The twins have always loved the opportunity to play on the same team.
“It’s amazing to play basketball with my sister,” Britny says. “I do everything with my sister. If we didn’t play basketball together it would not be as fun.”
The girls have played basketball for several teams. Britny’s positions are power forward and center while Whitny is the small forward. Their years spent playing basketball have taught them a lot.
Whitny says that being on a team has taught her to be goal oriented, competitive, a team player, resilient and a leader. Their coach, Heather Macy, has been a big influence on both girls.
“She believes in us and reminds us to have total confidence in our abilities and our team,” the twins explained.
“The girls have high character,” Macy says. “They are fun to be around and fun to coach.”
The twins have made an impact on people in the athletic world with their friendly demeanors but they have had the same impact in the classroom.
“Britny and Whitny are fabulous student athletes,” said Dr. Kris Kirschbaum. “Really and truly, they are the epitome of hard-working, conscientious, and engaged in classes. Even though they had demanding practice and game schedules, they were always on top of class work, and a delight to have in class!”
Both girls hope to get the chance to go overseas and play professional basketball after they receive their master’s degrees. They also are looking forward to the opportunities that health communication provides. Their likeable personalities and goal-oriented mentalities will take them far after graduation.
No matter where life takes them, it’s clear that they will never be too far apart and North Carolina will always be their home.
School of Communication professor honored for excellence in service-learning
North Carolina Campus Compact, a coalition of 38 public and private colleges and universities, has named an East Carolina University professor as the recipient of the 2013 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award.
Dr. Rebecca Dumlao, an associate professor in ECU’s School of Communication, is the first from ECU to receive the award.
The Sigmon Award recognizes a faculty member for significant contributions to the practice of service-learning, a teaching strategy that links community service to classroom study and reflection. The award is named for North Carolina native Robert Sigmon, who helped pioneer the approach in the 1970s.
“I believe that service-learning is one of the most important ways we can equip students to be leaders and actively engaged as citizens in their communities after they graduate,” Dumlao said. Students pair academic coursework with community-based experiences, and articulate what they learn. “It’s a way to bring student service and community engagement into the classroom,” she said. [ FULL STORY ]
Film screening, panel focused on women in media
The East Carolina University School of Communication will hosted a free screening of the award-winning documentary “Miss Representation” at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Hendrix Theatre. A reception and panel discussion followed.
The film, an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, examined how women are portrayed in the media, offering surprising evidence that women are still facing unfortunate odds even in modern society.
Dinecia Gates, academic advisor for the School of Communication, spearheaded efforts to bring the film to ECU. The film “addresses the impact media has on perceptions of women in America,” she said. That includes women in leadership and high profile positions.
“This film is both exciting and relevant in a day and age where media has a tremendous, yet often undetected, impact on our day to day lives and perceptions,” Gates said.
A panel discussion after the screening included ECU professors Todd Fraley, School of Communication; Christine Avenarious, Department of Anthropology; Marieke Van Willigen, Women’s Studies Program; and Amanda Klein, Department of English, Film Studies.
Pirate Alum Soaring in Germany
Like a lot of basketball fans, Joel Banjo-Johnson was looking forward to the opening tipoff of the NCAA basketball season Nov. 9 when UCONN and Michigan State faced off at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. She was looking forward to it more than most however, as this 2009 East Carolina University Magna Cum Laude graduate, assisted with the planning of the game.
The game aired live on ESPN and ESPN2. Banjo-Johnson, currently the acting Chief of Public Affairs at the base, said it took five months to plan but the event was a success. She is pictured here, about an hour before Sports Center was going to air live.
“I definitely had a lot of fun and all the interviews and coverage turned out well. Everyone learned a little about what we do at Ramstein Air Base,” Banjo-Johnson said. “I’m grateful for these different experiences. I’m completely exhausted afterward but excited as it’s going on. I learned a lot about production behind the scenes and programming.”
Banjo-Johnson said now that her major is deployed she has taken over the position. “I now am the Chief of Public Affairs for the largest wing in the entire Air Force. It's certainly a challenge but I’m doing well. Hope all is well in Pirate country!
ECU Soccer goalie and aspiring broadcast journalist plays well on both fields
Christiane Cordero, a senior communication major and ECU women’s soccer goalie, gives her all on and off the field. Recently, East magazine spent time in Cordero’s world, including class, training, team practice, and the women’s soccer game against ODU. Cordero, a student-athlete with 3.34 GPA, earned a spot on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll as well as the ECU Director of Athletics Honor Roll. Several weeks ago, Cordero was named First Team All-Conference USA for her impeccable athleticism. In addition, Cordero interned with CNN in Atlanta this past summer as Kyra Phillips’ personal assistant. To read more, visit: http://www.ecu.edu/news/cordero1.cfm
School of Communication Going Global: Poland program to begin summer 2013
This summer, Dr. Linda Kean, Director of the School of Communication, traveled to Krosno State College in Poland for a two-week summit on migration and narration, making connections with other professors from around the world. Another focus of her visit was to learn about educational opportunities in Poland as the School of Communication develops a partnership of team-taught courses utilizing the global classroom, as well as creating a new summer study abroad program.
Kean spent her time primarily at Krosno State College in Krosno, but also visited Jagiellonian University in Krakow. These two universities, plus a site in Slovakia, have been chosen for the study abroad program in summer 2013. Both institutions offer courses and degrees of study in English and Communication, but each has its own respective atmosphere. Students who participate in the summer program will have the opportunity to compare their experiences in the United States with students from other countries and have the chance to become familiar with two diverse regions of Poland. Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for the program. [ FULL STORY ] [ Download Brochure and Application
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