LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Dear Journalism Alumni:
Welcome to the Spring 2012 edition of our Alumni Newsletter. As always, I hope you enjoy reading about the great accomplishments of our alumni and our faculty.
This will be my last chair’s letter, as I am stepping down when my 4-year term ends at the beginning of fall semester. I am happy to say I am passing the baton to the very capable hands of Dr. Kathy Bradshaw, who I know will do an excellent job.
It has been quite an eventful four years, as I was reminded in reading over my previous chair’s letters. We have implemented a new curriculum and substantially re-worked our classes to include multi-platform work critical to today’s journalists. We have also implemented a systematic, multifaceted assessment plan that will help us continually keep tabs on how well we’re doing at preparing our students.
None of these accomplishments, however, is “finished.” As I’ve discussed before, we are committed to a continual evaluation of our curriculum and individual classes to make sure we keep up with the changes in the industry. Thus, the next four years promise to be equally eventful.
In fact, Dr. Bradshaw’s tenure as chair is already off to an eventful start before it even begins. Three members of our faculty, Dr. Tori Ekstrand, Dr. Seth Oyer and Sara Shipley Hiles, will be leaving us at the end of this semester. This will present major challenges, especially in the Public Relations sequence where both Dr. Ekstrand and Dr. Oyer spent most of their time. We are already working to get courses staffed for fall semester, and are also pursuing permission from administration to begin searching for permanent replacements.
In the meantime, one of my final projects as chair that I will be working on this summer is re-invigorating our Alumni Mentor Program. This program seeks to pair existing students with alumni for an ongoing mentoring relationship. To make the program more rewarding to both mentors and students, we have also established more specific guidelines for mentoring activities and also evaluations to be completed my mentors and students each semester. These evaluations are all on-line, so they can be completed with minimal time commitment. If you’re interested in being a mentor starting in the fall, I urge you to sign up. Even if you’ve expressed interest in being a mentor previously, I would ask that you do it again using the online form so we know who’s still interested.
As always, best wishes to you and yours, and be sure to stay in touch.
Dr. Jim Foust, chair
Department of Journalism and Public Relations