Communication Connection

Friends of Com Newsletter

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Message from the Chair

Monday, December 21, 2015

“The Dub.”  It’s an abbreviation for UNCW that highlights the fondness we all have for the informality and “chill” that is such a part of this great university.  What makes the Dub so special?  It’s the people.  So, in this issue of the COM newsletter we’ve got some stories about accomplishments worth celebrating and events worth noting, but we focus a bit more on some of the many, many, many people worth recognizing and reading about.  I hope you enjoy reading the alumni profiles.  You may also want to help our current students out by sharing YOUR profile too!  You can do this through our Alumni Spotlight feature on our website.

The stories you’ll read in this newsletter have been written by students in our introductory level course in strategic writing.  Good writing is hard to do.  It’s also hard to teach.  But one of the ways to help in both of those efforts is to make it real.  So, students write real articles that will go into a real newsletter to be read by real people (You!). 

In COM we are “keeping it real” in a lot of our courses.  Dr. Weber had his students help EdVenture Partners work through organizational challenges and will have his students consulting with students at Arnhem University in the Netherlands.  Dr. Bolduc and Dr. Jeanne Persuit are co-leading Pier601 Creative, a student run IMC firm.  This year they helped the Wilmington area Miracle League among other clients.  Ms. Chin had her PR students create PR plans for the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences and present to Ms. Chin, me and the Dean.  Think “Shark Tank” without commercial breaks.  The students nailed it and the Dean has a deeper appreciation for the challenges related to strategic communication.  The list goes on.  COM continues to provide powerful learning for our students and the alumni profiles in this issue speak to the fruit of those efforts. 

We are also working to make UNCW and Wilmington better.  For example, Dr. Bruce McKinney is working with Wilmington Police to help train officers and community leaders in dialogue skills so they can team up to host community forums on important issues.  Dr. Brubaker and Mr. Pernell worked together to have her students produce a political talk show named WingSpan (get it?), that brought together many local politicians and leaders to discuss issues important to the region.  You can check out episodes on our website.

I’m proud of our faculty and their efforts to help students navigate the tough transition from simply following directions to actually solving problems.  And in that process students become more self-aware and adaptable. The blend of mastering course content and mastering the self is a powerful combination!

What are the needs we have in COM to help us continue our mission?  You’ll be hearing more about that in the months ahead.  Our students will be planning and running UNCW’s first ever department-level giving program.  We’ve partnered with COM alum Missy Andrus Kennedy who now works at UNCW’s alumni relations office to pilot this approach. 

Please look for and respond to their emails and other efforts.  But beyond that we find that when alumni and friends can do any of the following, it is tremendously helpful.

1) Keep current with the alumni office.  When we held a reception for alumni while in Washington DC for a conference, it was great to have an accurate database of the alumni in the area.

2) Tell us what you’re up to!  The Alumni Spotlight is just one way to do it, but even a quick email about your story so far can help give us examples in class—and encourage us to keep teaching!

3) Come back for events like COM Studies Day or our IMC Camp. 

4) Join our Facebook page to keep up with news and events. 

5) Give financially or with a gift in kind.  Tom Gale, a wonderful alum who has become a successful realtor with Caldwell Banker, recently donated a drone with HD camera to our field video inventory.  This will make a HUGE difference in our ability to create great videos for the class clients we work with and help our students stay current with industry standards. 

There is new leadership at UNCW as well.  The new Chancellor and Provost are working hard to keep UNCW a great university.  We in COM Studies will continue our hard work as well so that you always have a degree and a department you can be proud of!