Faculty share advice at communications honor society event

Lambda Pi Eta’s annual “How to Succeed as a Communications Major” panel discussion shed light on the School of Communications’ six undergraduate majors.

A group of School of Communications faculty members address an audience at Lambda Pi Eta’s “How to Succeed as a Communications Major” panel discussion. Seated before the audience are (from left) Associate Professor Michael Skube, Assistant Professor Cara McFadden, Assistant Professor Max Negin, Instructor Jonathan Albright, Instructor William Moner, and Department Chair and Associate Professor Jessica Gisclair.
​Six faculty members from the School of Communications shared information and advice about the school’s majors at a panel hosted by the Eta Gamma chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society.

The annual event, titled “How to Succeed as a Communications Major,” began with Department Chair and Associate Professor Jessica Gisclair, who provided an overview of the School of Communications, including its curriculum requirements. She also shared a few fun facts, including that 88 percent of communication majors find themselves employed within their field nine months following graduation.

Gisclair went on to talk about the strategic communications major, mentioning how students can take the major in a variety of directions and combine it with a minor to help them pursue their professional goals.

Instructor William Moner discussed the communications design major, which was added in fall 2014. Jonathan Albright, an instructor who joined the school last year, also talked about a second new major, media analytics. Both faculty members agreed that while classes will get you the skills to succeed, outside internships and student organizations are what really make your resume stand out.

Assistant Professor Max Negin talked at length about the cinema and television arts major, emphasizing that for every major, students are going to need to develop “thick skin.” Professors are there to teach you and tell you how to improve, not always praise you, Negin said. The best skill you can have is to learn to accept constructive criticism, he pointed out.  

Assistant Professor Cara McFadden highlighted the sport and event management major and explained to students that “faculty are here to help you find your place.” Faculty enjoy directing students to the right faculty member, whether they are interested in collegiate, professional or recreational sport management, she said.

The school’s journalism major was represented by Associate Professor Michael Skube, who explained the most important thing a student can do as a communications major is gain experience. He noted that when employers call journalism professors to get recommendations, the first question they ask is, “Can they report?” Which is followed swiftly by, “Can they write?”

The panel concluded with a question-and-answer session with students asking the professors about topics such as internships and networking.

According to Associate Professor Frances Ward-Johnson, the honor society’s faculty adviser, the annual panel and networking event is held each fall. “Honor society members feel it is important to allow first-year students and others to interact with professors to learn more about pursuing a degree in communications,” she said.

The event ended with refreshments and Lambda Pi Eta members talking one-on-one with students interested in the School of Communications.

Submitted by Audrey Engelman

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