Page 1

c o mmu n i c a t i o ns t u d i e s n o i t a c i n mmu o sc s ma

e c n a e& d r t a e h t

n o i t a c i n mmu o sc s ma e c n a e& d r t a e h t c o mmu n i c a t i o ns t u d i e s n o i t a c i n mmu o sc s ma

e c n a e& d r t a e h t c o mmu n i c a t i o ns t u d i e s


from the

Chair Where could this department possibly go?, I wondered as I took the chair’s seat in 2010. We have a strong and proud history, multiple patterns of behavior and decision-making that have long been in play and are working, faculty and staff who have been around for a while, a comfortable and fully functional routine of classes, majors, advising, and work performance expectations. Should we be working to maintain our current strengths or should we be cultivating change? If change, what kinds and how does it begin? It didn’t take long before answers began to find form in connected and invigorating dialogue—the cornerstone of any vibrant Communication department. On a regular basis now, faculty and staff come together, even more strongly than before, I think, to confront and respond to these questions. While we wisely maintain some of our standard practices because they still suit how we’re currently thinking, we also courageously re-examine where we are and where we need to be heading. And then we head there. The Speech division took on a name change to Communication Studies and began some identity transformation, while also doubling its majors and working with at-risk students through Learning Support and Head Start programs. Theatre and Dance began directing its energies to being an accredited program for the first time ever under the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). As Theatre updated curriculum and began its self-study, Dance has begun to develop a new Dance major. Mass Communication aggressively revamped its curriculum, facilitating student agility in studying across concentrations; its faculty continue to pull together in unprecedented ways as a cohesive division to write their self-study and prepare for their accreditation visit this fall. But pedagogy is only part of the story. Faculty have infused their research and scholarly efforts with new and palpable energy, producing an impressive list of publications, competitive creative activity, and grants, and now gather together each semester to engage with peer scholarship. In our robust considerations of our department identity, we have taken some very purposeful turns in articulating who we are, what we offer, and what kinds of impact we want our work to have. Toward that effort, we have updated our mission and goals; and we have developed a department logo and positioning statement which are featured prominently throughout this inaugural edition of our magazine and unveiled this year at our recruitment tables, in promotional materials, and on our webpage. Our vision is becoming clearer. The answer to my question two and a half years ago is that the Department of Communication is heading in new directions all the time and that it maintains its strengths even as it cultivates change; and all this is possible through dialogue that imagines, engages, and innovates.

FALL 2012 • VOL. I • NO. I

contents FEATURES


Megan Short Fannon Lecturer

Student Editor

Zachary Vance

Student Writers Ashley Bush Rachel Curcio Dylan Chambers Hillary Edwards Natalie Estep Amanda Myers ‘12 Laurie O’Tool Jessica Owens Tina Pasquale Kristen Pierce Sarah Sizemore ‘12 Whitney Thomas Zachary Vance

Contributing Photographers ETSU Photographic Services Lise Cutshaw Megan Fannon Brian Kaldenbach John King Zachary Vance

Magazine Design Megan Short Fannon Zachary Vance

Tell us what you think about the ETSU Department of Communication Magazine. Email your comments and story ideas to or contact us by mail at The Department of Communication, Box 70667, Johnson City, TN 37614 or by phone at 423-439-7676.

6 Morphing

The Department of Communication introduces logo and enhances academics.

7 Imagine. Engage. Innovate Professors and students share passions.

16 Honoring Students and Alumni

Navigating the path to success.

awards Funk, Parker receive achievement awards BY: SARAH SIZEMORE ‘12 The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) honored two East Tennessee State University Department of Communication professors in February of 2012. Herb Parker and Robert D. Funk, both professors in the Division of Theatre and Dance, were awarded the “Excellence in Directing” Meritorious Achievement Awards. Parker was awarded for directing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Funk received the award for his role as director in “Jake’s Women.” “KCACTF seeks to acknowledge work done in university theatre programs which participate in the yearly festival,” Parker said. “The Region 4 Selection Team will nominate a production to be presented at the annual festival in February.” Parker was honored with the same award in 2007 for “Little Shops of Horrors.” Parker has been a member of the Actors’ Equity Association for 30 years, and has worked extensively in regional theatre, stock, on national tour and Broadway. This is Funk’s first time winning the award.


FALL 2012

“I was caught by surprise by the award as I did not know the adjudicator who responded to the play had nominated me for it,” Funk said. In 2000, Funk was one of eight directors selected from all over the nation to direct a 10-minute play at the Kennedy Center as part of American College Theatre Festival. KCACTF is a national theatre program that involves 18,000 students from colleges and universities.

Bobby Funk

Advertising students place 5th at competition BY: NATALIE ESTEP The ETSU Advertising Club faced quite a challenge in the 2012 District 7 National Student Advertising Competition. Students in the club were tasked with creating an advertising campaign based on a chosen company’s wants. Then judges, which include professionals from the brand and community, choose a winner. Last year’s company was Nissan. “They tasked us with: we want to become more important and increase our likability,” said D.J. Jessee, club adviser. “The company wanted to increase its popularity with younger generations, especially minorities from these generations.” Jessee hoped the students would place in the top

four, but the club came short, placing fifth with the University of Alabama winning the overall district. “Our campaign was a lot more cutting edge verses the other schools,” said Jessee about the team’s campaign. “When you do something like that you’re risking, and students wanted to take the risk.” Although the team did not place in the top four, the students gained something more valuable- networking. “Its number one priority is offering students a way to network with the professional AAF,” said Jessee. The AAF, or American Advertising Federation, is the nation’s oldest advertising trade association.

Debate club fares well at state tournament BY: RACHEL CURCIO Michaela Slagle of the the Forensics and Debate Club earned the sixth place Persuasive Speaker award at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association tournament held February 18 and 19. The tournament was the largest tournament that TIFA had with students from all over the state competing. Other members from Forensics and Debate Club who competed were Dallas Honeycutt, Mike King, Casey Solomon, Kelvin Kaylee, Lamar Lunsford, Catherine Davis and Chelsea Corrigan. Debate Team Coordinator Laughton Messmer said that except for Honeycutt and King, every member

was participating in his or her very first tournament, and Kaylee and Lunsford even won their first round in the parliamentary debate. Messmer said he was really proud of his team because, for the first time, ETSU concentrated heavily on entrance into the individual events. “We competed in the categories of Persuasion, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking and Poetry Interpretation,” Messmer said. Last year, members brought home fifth place in the parliamentary event.




Mass communication in re-accreditation process with the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications The Mass Communication divisions of the Department of Communication (Advertising & Public Relations, Journalism and Radio/TV/Film) are in the process of re-accreditation with the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications this year. Mass Communication faculty have been conducting a self-study for the past year to ensure compliance with nine standards of excellence. An ACEJMC site team, composed of faculty and professionals from across the nation, will visit in the fall to complete their assessment. Re-accreditation provides assurance to students that the quality of the curriculum and programming meet current industry standards.

Division of Theatre and Dance apply for accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Theatre The Division of Theatre and Dance is in the process of making application for accreditation through NAST (National Association of Schools of Theatre). NAST, founded in 1965, is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities with approximately 170 accredited institutional members. NAST establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre. A consultant from NAST, Professor Emeritus Donald Drapeau from Virginia Tech, visited campus for two days in February. Professor Drapeau examined the program thoroughly, and the division will reference his consultant’s report when preparing the self-study during the upcoming academic year 2012-2013. Coordinated by Karen Brewster, the self-study is a detailed overview of the entire theatre unit including exhaustive information about curriculum, facilities, faculty, and budget among other things. The completed self-study will be submitted at the end of summer 2013, followed closely by a formal visit from NAST representatives scheduled a few months later, October 2013. The Division of Theatre and Dance will know by spring 2014 if it receives accreditation. This is the very first time the theatre program at ETSU has sought accreditation with this association, and it will be a remarkable milestone to reach.

research Kinser receives grant to study how frequent family dinners impact mothers BY: HILLARY EDWARDS Over the past decade, researchers, the media and experts have intently focused on the effects that nightly family dinners can have on adolescents. With a $10,000 grant received from the Research Development Committee of East Tennessee State University, Department of Communication Professor, Chair and former Director of Women’s Studies, Dr. Amber Kinser, will conduct a yearlong study on the reality of nightly dinners from a mother’s perspective, and what mothers need to help them achieve these dinners. Kinser is an expert in family communication and gender studies. Her focus is predominantly on motherhood, the cultural prescriptions and norms the public gives motherhood, and whether or not mothers are adequately supported in their “motherwork.” Studies show that adolescents who have nightly family dinners, five to seven days a week, have lower rates of pregnancy, depression, drug and alcohol use, eating disorders and even asthma. Other studies show that women still carry most responsibility for meal provision in the U.S. Despite years of research and interviews, there is, however, no solid evidence of mothers saying just how they achieved these meals, whether they had partners who helped or how their socioeconomic status affected these efforts. “Getting dinner on the table is just one of the million things on a mother’s daily to-do list,” said Kinser. “They’re trying to get their kids to soccer practice or piano lessons, and don’t forget the possible hours of homework. From shopping and planning to budgeting and remembering each family member’s diet, mothers can’t always get that dinner ready.” The grant money will enable Kinser to answer questions that previous researched hasn’t asked.

The first step in the research process is conducting a survey consisting of eight to ten mothers. Looking for things such as the responsibilities they have in their household, who is buying the ingredients for meals and who makes conversation at the dinner table, Kinser thinks she will find that dinnertime is more complicated than researchers and the media suspect. “When you Google ‘frequent family meals,’ the results are things like ‘quick and easy recipes for moms,’ or ‘how to get your kids involved in dinner,’” said Kinser. “Recipes are not the problem, and by the end of your busy workday, the last thing you want are kids all up in your business while you’re trying to cook. I think after all is said and done, I’m going to find that mothers need more than recipes to have dinner cooked seven nights a week.” Following the surveys, Kinser will invite the mothers to focus groups designed around them and the needs for their children. Dr. Kelly Dorgan, associate professor and research coordinator in the Department of Communication, will train Kinser during the first few sessions in how to conduct focus groups. Childcare will be provided during the focus groups from Little Bucs Daycare and mothers and children will be fed. The mothers will also receive a $25 incentive for participating in the program. Kinser will then analyze surveys and look for common themes and experiences that come out of the focus groups. This will result in months of research. “Though situations vary from family to family, I feel like this research has big potential,” said Kinser. “After hearing several different perspectives, I feel like the media and researchers will see how much more mothers really need.”



A Dynamic Department

New Logo, New Statement During the spring 2012 semester, a committee of faculty members from each division of the Department of Communication along with commissioned graphic designer Sam Mays spent many hours creating the department’s new logo. Karen Brewster, associate professor, assistant chair and member of the logo committee, said that because the Department of Communication is such a diverse department with several divisions, it was a challenge coming up with the new design. “We agreed that we want to present a solid image, yet an image that looks like it is progressive and contemporary. We finally settled on using the first letter in the word “communication,” but altering that letter so that viewers may or may not recognize it as the letter ‘c.’ The letter is tilted, truncated and layered.” Brewster said the committee hoped the alteration communicates the three words it added to the positioning statement: Imagine, Engage, Innovate.

Merged: PR & Advertising The Public Relations and Advertising Concentrations in the Division of Mass Communication of the Department of Communication have merged to conform to industry changes. Professor of Public Relations, Dr. John King, Associate Professor of Advertising, Dr. Stephen Marshall, and others came up with the idea. During a recent trip to Dubai, King saw this mergence first-hand while interviewing public relations professionals and was pleased they had made the right choice. “Dubai is cutting edge on this kind of stuff, and in almost every case, it’s very obvious this mergence of PR and advertising is already taking place,” King said. Now that the public relations and advertising classes are together, students will gain a better understanding of how public relations practices and advertising techniques can be used together to reach a common goal.

Speech Re-named Communication Studies The Division of Speech received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to change the program title to Communication Studies. “Up until this spring, the division was called ‘speech.’ We changed it to Communication Studies, as the term ‘speech’ does not cover all the topics we cover: interpersonal communication, organizational communication, group communication, etc,” said Dr. Andrew Herrmann, assistant professor of Communication Studies. An example of this is the class General Speech. The class is now Introduction to Communication, which doesn’t seem quite as frightening to the many students who have Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking.

imagine. Instructor and student bring imagination to the stage through dance.

BY: KRISTEN PIERCE For most, the word “imagine” is just that: a word in their vocabulary that is rarely put to use. In Cara Harker’s world, imagine is not just a term; it is a way of life, an action that captures her very essence. Originally from Kentucky, holding an abundance of experience and education in her arsenal, Harker joined the East Tennessee State University’s Department of Communication in the Division of Theatre & Dance in 2007. Since arriving, she has written one play, directed five dance concerts and has contributed to many ETSU main stage theatre productions. Harker even acts in some of her productions. This spring semester, Harker was the mastermind behind the ETSU feature play as well as the spring dance concert. Harker showcased her original piece, “Tallula Dies,” a twisted tale about a girl, Tallulah (real name Jane), who battles her incessant struggles with compulsive lying. The star of the show was student Danielle Mumpower. “She really exemplifies the best possible working relationship between a choreographer and a dancer,” says Harker. “Danielle has a great work ethic and is very open to new movement. She is willing to try anything even if it seems physically impossible when I first describe it! She is always very patient as I work through the lengthy process of making a new dance, which allows me to explore more as a choreographer. And when I get stuck, she is always playful enough to improvise, until I break through the ‘choreographer’s block.’ The dances would have turned out completely different had I worked with anyone else, and I am very proud to say that I had the opportunity to collaborate with her.” Harker also directed and choreographed sections in the ETSU spring concert, which explores the world of water- anything from teardrops to the sea. Harker and Mumpower embody the very meaning of imagine. They have collaborated on numerous dances during Danielle’s four years as an ETSU student. And, the play, “Tallulah Dies,” won the Dr. Robert J. Thierauf Producers’ Pick of the Fringe award.

“She really exemplifies the best possible working relationship between a choreographer and a dancer.” - Harker


Communicology Student Association engages in discipline activities and community service.

BY: AMANDA MYERS & JESSICA OWENS For almost every organization at ETSU, community service and fund raising are routine activities. Events like Homecoming and Relay for Life help raise money for causes by sparking a bit of friendly competition. Although ETSU’s Communicology Student Association is a smaller and younger club, its members compensate through their dedication to help others, and their participation in some of the competition. Despite its size and youth, the CSA placed second in the 2011 Homecoming banner competition. The banner, themed as a postcard from Tahiti, now hangs in club adviser Dr. Carrie Oliveira’s office. The club also collected 216 lbs. of canned food for Second Harvest Food Bank. As another Homecoming competition, clubs were tasked with building a structure out of the cans collected reflecting their chosen themes. To match its Tahiti-themed banner, the CSA built a palm tree, which made the front page of the Johnson City Press. The CSA then participated in the campus-wide Relay for Life event, raising approximately $600. The club was recognized for having the best campsite at the event. “We have a group of enthusiastic kids,” said Oliveira, assistant professor of Communication Studies. “They’re really committed.” The CSA hopes to expand in the coming year. Originally created for Communication Studies majors, the club will open its doors to all Communication majors this fall. The intent of the organization is to practice communication skills, develop research skills and provide service to the campus and surrounding community based on its knowledge of communication practices. With promotion tactics such as interpersonal invitations, the CSA hopes to gain several new members this coming fall. “We hope next year’s students will take the initiative to form concrete goals of the club,” said CSA President, Casimiro Razo. The group hopes to hold job application writing workshops and invite local professionals to speak with club members about communication.

innovate. Professor John King and graduate student Samarah Litvack research innovation in public relations. BY: ZACHARY VANCE Dean Kamen, American entrepreneur and inventor of the Segway, once said that “innovation is one of those things that society looks at and says, ‘if we make this part of the way we live and work, it will change the way we live and work.’” ETSU Department of Communication Professor Dr. John King is a prime example of Kamen’s vision, using innovation in his research and teaching. King and graduate student Samara Litvack conducted research on media’s perception of public relations. Middle East’s public relations was perceived in a positive light, in part because governments and non-profit businesses use public relations extensively to accomplish their objectives, and therefore, people have a better understanding of its purpose. The duo also examined whether public relations was described as one-way communication or two-way communication- which involves feedback and listening to consumers. In the Middle East, innovation was found to be a key component in two-way communication. For example, Kraft Cheese administered a social network campaign in Saudi Arabia. The company hosted a challenge on its Facebook site for its squeezable cheese inviting guests to make artwork using the cheese. Their findings were fascinating: over 25,000 people engaged in the campaign in Saudi Arabia alone. “If you think about it, the whole idea with this is to engage consumers with a brand and it’s phenomenal to get that many people to do that,” King said. “It builds more identity for the brand and by using public relations and advertising techniques combined as well as some marketing thrown in, they’re much more likely to sell more cheese. That’s the whole point, right?” But one cannot forget about the innovation used by Kraft Cheese to employ such a successful campaign. King accepts this innovation and wants students to learn more about it in the classroom. When King presented research alongside graduate student Litvack in Spain at the European Academy of Management and Business Economics conference in Valencia, he was also searching for a WIFI connection to teach an online course for ETSU students.

spotlight King heads study abroad program for PR students BY: ZACHARY VANCE Dr. John King’s method of teaching reaches far beyond the hallways of Warf-Pickel Hall. Each year, King offers students a chance to take a Study Abroad program in which his class travels to places such as Dubai and Spain to learn how practicing public relations differs from that of the United States. “The purpose in this trip is not to go on a tour of Spain,” King said. “The real purpose is to study global and international public relations. The nice thing about doing that in another country is you have this backdrop from which to study it.” King said that his class mainly deals with culture and the cultural differences of each country. He said his focus for the class is examining how the different cultures impact how public relations’ professionals will function. One example is that in Japan there is a press club for every industry. “If you’re in the automotive industry, journalists who cover automotive technology have to join their press club and journalists cannot get anything in the press unless you are part of that press club,” King said. On King’s most recent trip to Spain, he took students to a local university where one of his colleagues

Dr. King with American University of Sharjah students

is a professor. While there, students attended a global public relations conference and interacted with public relations students and professionals from 11 different countries. “This is a really unique opportunity. My view is every student no matter what your major should do some sort of study abroad experience,” King said. “It not only opens your mind to different cultures, but it makes you understand your own culture better because you have a frame of reference to compare it to.”

“The purpose in this trip is not to go on a tour of Spain,” King said. “The real purpose is to study global and international public relations. The nice thing about doing that in another country is you have this backdrop from which to study it.”


FALL 2012

Communication Studies offers honors-enriched courses BY: LAURIE O’TOOL The Department of Communication now offers students with a cumulative 3.2 GPA an opportunity to participate in the Honors-in-Discipline Program for Communication Studies along with the regular course load. The Honors-in-Discipline (HID) Programs require honors coursework through honors-enriched courses in the discipline, as well as completion of an honors thesis. The Division of Theatre and Dance offers its own HID program and other concentrations offer students the opportunity to take honors-en-

riched courses. An HID student achieves an advantage in the job market from participating in these programs. Dr. Andrew Herrmann, assistant professor of Communication Studies and coordinator of the program, believes the students will excel in the workplace as well. “One of the important talents current employers are looking for is the ability of employees to be able to synthesize, deconstruct, and analyze information in an increasingly complex and changing world,” said Herrmann. “Through a rigorous

class schedule and the advanced work that includes writing a full and professional research project, HID students have the experience to apply these talents in the workplace.” Faculty teaching honors students are also challenged, stretching beyond their normal instruction and incorporating extra activities and assignments. HID students must maintain the following cumulative GPAs: up to 45 hours, 3.0; 46-60 hours, 3.15; and 60+ hours, 3.25.

Buc TV back on air, adds Buc News segment BY: ASHLEY BUSH Word around campus is that there’s a new gossip, and it’s conveniently available every Friday during the fall and spring semesters on channel 11 at East Tennessee State University. After closing for renovation two years ago, Buc TV has bounced back, and brought with it Buc News. Students produce a thirty-minute news segment based on campus happenings, covering everything from crime to sports. Faculty adviser Tammy Hayes works with the news crew, students and volunteers to provide the school with both “hard” and regular news. Although the news segment has been a part of the curriculum for many years, student interest has veered off into

other topics and put news in the background. Hayes, however, sees a shift and believes the once-aweek update may grow into a daily briefing. The news crew consists of approximately 12 students, including news director, producer, assistant producer, and seven anchors. The students are allowed to pick their position on the production team along with a little guidance from their teachers. “We try to guide them into their areas of strength,” said Hayes. Buc TV is part of the curriculum as a lab, so students get the credit they need for school and the experience they need for future jobs. “It’s just a good chance for them to practice what you learn in class

or to pick up something new,” said Hayes. “It’s a good balance of the academic and hands-on side of things.” Experienced Buc TV students take time to help the new students get acquainted with the process and equipment, while students learn to work together both in the studio and the field. Students are allowed to use school equipment to gather live footage and newsworthy pictures around campus and the community. The crew also has news meetings to discuss possible topics for coverage. The Bucs News crew and faculty hope to see the program grow with their hard work and determination.



Alumnus recognized as top 25 journalists under 35 BY: ZACHARY VANCE

Submitted Photo


ETSU Department of Communication alumnus and current Johnson City Press Assistant News/Online Editor, Rex Barber, earned national recognition when he was named to the newspaper industry’s trade magazine Editor & Publisher’s annual list of top 25 journalists under 35. “It was a real honor to be nominated for the award and then actually to win it,” Barber said. Assistant Professor Andrew Dunn, who taught Barber in his graduate Multimedia Production class, said that Barber was the most advanced student in his class at the time and coined him the first multimedia journalist in the area. “We were doing videos, we were doing slideshows with sound included, podcasts, web design and a lot of different things,” Dunn said. “And his stuff was just really, really high quality stuff.”

In 2011, Barber also assembled a 100-page magazine insert and directed a three-part documentary that was streamed online commemorating ETSU’s centennial. Barber said he enjoys making films, but he started out having no professional experience until a couple years ago when someone handed him a camera at the Johnson City Press and he started to figure the process out. “Hopefully I can get the chance to make more feature films in the future,” Barber said. Barber graduated in May with a Master of Arts in Professional Communication. “I’ve been around a lot of journalists and a lot of them talk a good game,” Dunn said. “But Rex is the real deal; he’s a one-man band.”

Students showcase research at symposium, forum BY: DYLAN CHAMBERS Students at East Tennessee State University had their chance to showcase their knowledge, talent and hard work this past April at the ETSU Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium and Appalachian Student Research Forum hosted at the Millennium Centre. The Department of Communication was represented well, with 12 undergraduates participating in the Symposium and five Master of Arts in Professional Communication students partici-


FALL 2012

pating in the Forum. Undergraduate students showcased research in fields such as Arts, Business, Humanities, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Student Artworks and Performances. Those participating in the Symposium gave either an oral presentation on their research findings or presented work in progress to receive feedback from faculty, advisors, staff and students. There were also several dance performances and one student from the

Department of Communciation displayed photography. The Symposium was informal, creating a fun atmosphere in a non-competitive setting. Graduate students with a Senior Honors Thesis presented research at the Appalachian Student Research Forum, held the same week as the Symposium. The Symposium was presented by the ETSU Honors College and the ETSU Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

El Nuevo Tennessean provides content for Hispanic community; students get online, print experience BY: ZACHARY VANCE In its 13th year of publication, the El Nuevo Tennessean newspaper is still providing content for the Hispanic community in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. One of the bilingual newspapers in the region, El Nuevo Tennessean is published each summer, but is now accompanied with a lustrous website that provides visitors with video content. “It’s great to involve more students, and we’re fortunate this year to have students from Shara (Lange)’s Video-Film Techniques class do interviews in the Hispanic community,” El Nuevo Tennessean’s adviser Mary Alice Basconi said. The newspaper not only keeps the Hispanic community informed, it benefits students in the Department of Communication with an outlet in which they can get real-life experience in mass communication. Basconi is a lecturer in Journalism at ETSU and teaches In-Depth Reporting, in which her students gather content and publish their own stories and videos on the Web. Copy Editing students gave feedback to the writers, and Martha Milner’s Newspaper Design students created the pages. “Martha’s expertise helps us pull the product together,” Basconi said. “She goes over the pages, so each page has an identical layout in Spanish.” Basconi also said that the Spanish division of the Department of Literature and Language is helpful in the development of the El Nuevo Tennessean. The Spanish professors allow their students to translate the stories. Basconi mentioned one graduate student in

Lakeway Publishers of Morristown, Tenn.

particular, Julia Rusiñol, who worked many hours on translations for the newspaper as the Spanish editor. “Our longtime partnership with the Spanish professors is possible because of Dr. Ardis Nelson, who heads up the Language and Culture Resource Center,” Basconi said. “El Nuevo Tennessean is one of the center’s projects, and she supported it from the very start. The center distributes the magazine both on and off campus.” Some examples of stories that will be published are: religious workers who get a U.S. Visa, how people are caring for their elders, and about Hispanics who have to leave their families when coming to the United States.

Visit El Nuevo Tennessean online



ETSU, Northeast State theatre professors establish East Tennessee Repertory Theatre BY: TINA PASQUALE The Theatre and Dance Division in the Department of Communication at East Tennessee State University hosts faculty with disparate and varied backgrounds. Seeking opportunities for themselves and students to showcase talent and keep energized about their craft, faculty decided to establish a professional theatre. In 2010, Associate Professor Herb Parker, Professor Bobby Funk and Director Pat Cronin partnered with Elizabeth Sloan from Northeast State Community College’s Division of Theatre to establish The East Tennessee Repertory Theatre. ETRT produces two shows each summer. The first production offers ETSU students the opportunity to gain professional theatre experience, acting alongside

Equity performers in main-stage productions like A.R. Gurney’s “The Dining Room,” which was performed in 2010. Beyond the main-stage experience is the second production that tours schools in Southeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia with the goal of bringing “classic literature alive on the stage.” The founding of ETRT also led to the creation of a new summer course: The Professional Acting Experience. Classes receive lectures from the professional actors of the Equity Company on issues that are critical to aspiring actors. These guest lectures cover topics like the Screen Actors Guild, Actor’s Equity, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

2012-2013 Theatre and Dance Production Schedule Beautiful Bodies (by Laura Cunningham)

Directed by Patrick Cronin- October 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m. and 21 at 2:00 p.m. The Bud Frank Theatre, Gilbreath Hall Cost of tickets for all performances are $7 for all students and General Admission is $15. Season Passes are $50.

Caesar 2012 (by William Shakespeare)

Directed and Adapted by Herb Parker- November 15, 16,17 at 7:30 p.m. and 18 at 2:00 p.m. The Bud Frank Theatre, Gilbreath Hall

Student Dance Workshop (December)

Choreographed by Cara Harker and Jen Kintner- December dates TBA Dance Studio, Brooks Gym building

Blithe Spirit (by Noel Coward)

Directed by Bobby Funk- April 11, 12, 13 at 7:30 p.m. and 14 at 2:00 p.m. The Bud Frank Theatre, Gilbreath Hall

Advanced Directing One Acts (by various students)

Directed by various students in the classes- April 25, 26, 27, 28 as needed. The Bud Frank Theatre, Gilbreath Hall


FALL 2012

Theatre, Dance hosts aerial dance workshop BY: WHITNEY THOMAS Long silks hang from the rafters in towers of bright colors. Dancers pull themselves up with strength and dexterity. The combination of dance and strength make aerial dance a beautiful work of art. Beginning in 2008, aerial dance workshops have been offered when possible in the summer at East Tennessee State University. Anyone between the ages of 10 to 92 can participate. No previous dance experience is required, and it is open to all levels of ability.

“By the end of the week, all students have created an aerial dance and have learned a lot of the basic technique and artistry behind aerial dance,” said Cara Harker, assistant professor in Dance. Jayne Bernasconi, master aerial dance artist, instructs the workshops. The workshop offers a foundation in low-flying trapeze, aerial silks and aerial dance composition. Delbert Hall, professor of Theatre and master rigger, started the workshop. “The best thing for me is watching and experiencing how much everyone grows as aerial dancers just within a week’s time,” Harker said. Although a workshop was not offered this past year, Harker said there are high hopes to offer one in the future.

Garryn Howard practices at aerial dance workshop

Brewster, Shafer publish book; second in progress BY: KRISTEN PIERCE The ETSU Department of Communication is home to two theatre educators that double as authors: Karen Brewster and Melisa Shafer. Brewster and Shafer, both professors of Theater in the Department of Communication, published their first book, “Fundamentals of Theatrical Design: A Guide to the Basics of Scenic, Costume, and Lighting Design,” in 2011. The book delves into three key elements of theatrical design: scenery, costumes and lighting. The seasoned set design-

ers bring to life the excitement of theater with examples and tips to keep it organized. Brewster has toured the country constructing costume designs for various theatres such as the Nebraska Theatre Caravan in Omaha and People’s Light and Theatre Company in Philadelphia. She joined Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., in 1982 as a resident costume designer. Since then, she has designed over 50 shows for Barter. Shafer’s areas of specialization are scenic and lighting design. She

serves as the theatre program’s technical director and has also done work with the Barter Theatre, Manbites Dog Theatre in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., The Civic Theatre of Central Florida and numerous other productions. Shafer is a board member of the Tennessee Theatre Association. Brewster and Shafer are set to release a second book, “Theatrical Genre and Style: A Guide for Designers, Directors, and Performers,” in summer 2014.

Visit for more information about the Division of Theatre and Dance MAGAZINE


Navigating the Journey Communication Awards Ceremony

Students, Alumni honored at 2012 Department of Communication Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony The 2012 Department of Communication Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony recognized students for their inspiration, perseverance, dedication and creativity on April 28 at the beautiful Carnegie hotel. Scholarships and awards were presented to 26 undergraduates and graduates in their respective programs of study- Communication Studies, Mass Communication, Theatre and Dance and Master of Arts in Professional Communication. Five ETSU alumni were also inducted into the Department of Communication Hall of Fame. The event, which began as a luncheon, has developed into a year-end ceremony planned by students in the Public Relations Practices course. The class is assigned the awards ceremony as a client and is tasked with everything from helping decide a theme to orchestrating the event. Students in the course work closely with Dr. Amber Kinser, Department of Communication chair, and Lise Cutshaw, course instructor. Held in the Grand Soldiers Ballroom, the ceremony itself was in fact grand. The theme for the ceremony was “Navigating the Journey” and woven into faculty presentations of awards as well as the event décor. The ceremony celebrated the many directions that an education, career and life can take, and more importantly emphasized the active role of graduates in directing their own futures. “We want to recognize the successes, the detours, and the tools that are part of navigating a career or life


FALL 2012

journey. We want to recognize the bumps in the road that really end up teaching us a great deal, and we want to recognize our students’ abilities to adapt, to be creative, and to problem-solve in the shaping of their lives,” said Kinser. Kinser greeted guests, saying, “This evening we are honoring the path to here and from here, with less concern for the destination, than for the quality of the endeavor, the sojourn.” The night then featured Dr. Carrie Oliveira, assistant professor in Communication Studies, and Herb Parker, associate professor in Theatre, who entertained guests with a reading of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” The audience responded with laughs and applause, and the evening then turned to the faculty for presentation of awards. The theme continued throughout the night. During intermission, guests shared dream destinations, noting them on globes that served as centerpieces. A student-produced video played, featuring our students and faculty sharing reflections on their own journeys, those they weathered and those they envision for the future. The night concluded with the Alumni Hall of Fame inductions, honoring five ETSU graduates. Inductees shared inspiring stories of their own journeys, encouraging students to venture forth knowing that they been well-positioned by the Department of Communication to explore new terrain, maneuver its challenges, and imagine its possibilities.

Dr. Amber Kinser greets guests at the 2012 Department of Communication Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony

Student awards Outstanding Student in Advertising Hali McCurdy WCYB Scholarship Justin Arnold and Mike Fink Outstanding Student in Radio-TV-Film Kyle Dye Judith Woodruff Award for Excellence in Dance Kelsey Mumpower Chanticleer Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing Kayla Carter George Kelly Scholarship O.J. Early and April Richardson Jack Mooney Scholarship Todd Brison John Pitman Prize for Excellence in Journalism Amanda Milstead Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship Josh Wallen Johnson City Press Scholarship Nick Shepherd Kingsport Times-News Scholarship Rebekah Wilson Outstanding Student in Public Relations Jonathan Wesley Holtsclaw Charline Stansbury Scholarship Tyler Morrow Rod Irvin Award Brittany Nugent Charles M. Statham Memorial for Excellence in Speech/Drama Stephanie Myers Mary Bomar Herrin Scholarship Amanda Sturgill Paul Walwick Emerging Scholar Award Casimiro Razo Bud Frank Award for Excellence in Theatre Savannah Arwood Outstanding Senior in Theatre Kyle Walter Max L. Marshall Award Stephanie Myers Murvin H. Perry Creative Achievement Award William Cory Pratt Outstanding Student Scholarship Brittany Long Outstanding Student in Communications Crystal Smallwood Outstanding Graduate Creative Achievement Christine Waxstein Outstanding Graduate Research Samara Litvack Outstanding Contribution by a Graduate Student Adrienne Hendon



Five Alumni Inducted Into Department of Communication Hall of Fame BY: ZACHARY VANCE


ive ETSU alumni were honored for their achievements by being inducted into the Department of Communication Hall of Fame during the annual Communication Awards ceremony held on April 28 in the Grand Soldiers Ballroom at Carnegie Hotel. Daniel Emmel, Jennifer Estep, Dr. Kenneth Hill, Johnny Pickett and Margie Shealy were all presented the prestigious honor. Emmel graduated in 1997 from ETSU with a concentration in Speech, now known as Communication Studies. He has worked with banking companies which have a minimum of $20 million in annual revenues and has spent time managing corporate retirement plans as an institutional trust officer. He also served a decade working for Merrill Lynch and earned the Certified Financial Manager and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designations. Estep was recognized in the Journalism concentration. She earned her bachelor’s degree at ETSU in English and journalism and completed a master’s degree in professional communications. Estep is a New York Times best-selling author and writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy for Kensington. Her books have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living and other publications. “It was an honor to be inducted into the Communication Hall of Fame,” Estep said. “I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from ETSU, and it was wonderful to be recognized by the communication department along with such other distinguished alumni.” Dr. Hill was honored in the Radio-TV-Film concen-

Jennifer Estep

Dr. Kenneth Hill

tration. He completed a master’s degree in broadcasting at ETSU and went on to earn his doctorate degree at Andersonville Baptist Seminary. Dr. Hill has spent the past 27 years with the Appalachian Educational Communication Corporation and now serves as Chief Executive Officer and President. He also manages five radio stations reaching into five states in the eastern United States. Dr. Hill currently holds the position of Chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Pickett earned honors in the Theatre and Dance division for his work in theatre rigging. After graduating from ETSU in 1987, Pickett later acquired his master’s degree in Theatre Design and Technology from UNC-Greensboro. In 1999, Pickett moved to Las Vegas to take a position with the Sigfried and Roy show. Four years later, Pickett became a full-time Flying Director with Flying by Foy, a company that creates flying sequences for stage acts and screen plays. The ETCP certified arena and theatre rigger’s resume includes work with Spamalot on Broadway, Taylor Swift for the Country Music Awards, The Black-Eyed Peas half-time show at Super Bowl XLV and the musical Wicked in Japan. Shealy, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, was honored in the Public Relations concentration. The former production manager at WJHL-TV is currently the Vice President for Communications for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations where she oversees the production of media communications as well as implements grassroots campaigns. She has over 22 years of experience in media and public relations and produced the Children’s Miracle Network Broadcast for 14 years with the Wellmont Health System.

Margie Shealy

Not Pictured: Daniel Emmel

Johnny Pickett

cronin’s Hollywood Career going strong BY: ZACHARY VANCE Actor and Professor of Theatre Patrick Cronin has will get one or two more offers. I mean look at Betty brought his knowledge of being successful in the enWhite, who is 90 with two series.” tertainment industry to the campus of ETSU. Cronin’s exciting career in television seems far from Cronin spent 24 years in Los Angeles and played over. He currently has a part lined up next year in the roles in over 200 television shows and films. Some Irish theatre production “Death of a Salesman” and include such hits as “Splash” and “Rocky V.” He also more recently was offered a role in a full-length feaplayed the bra salesman on “Seinfeld,” parts in the hit ture film, “Unwinding,” which is planned to be shot in series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and even got Abingdon, Va., this fall. a job as a regular on “Home Improvement” as Sparky Cronin plans to take time off from teaching to dethe car detailer. velop a one-man show about his family’s relationship “Through a series of hard work on my part and some to the Irish migration, which is to be developed on luck, I got a guest star on a show called ‘Alice,’” location in County Cork, Ireland. Cronin said. “Then I got a guest star on ‘All in the Family,’ which was a huge show in the 70s and next thing I know I was on a roll.” “...if they need a Cronin’s knowledge will certainly benefit students 70-year-old vethere at ETSU who hope to make a career in acting. eran actor, then Cronin came to ETSU as the holder of the Basler Chair of Excellence in 1998, and has since taught a I’m your man. “ variety of classes including “Acting for the Camera,” “Acting II” and “Dramatic Theory and Criticism.” But all this time in the classroom has not hampered the 71-year-old from seeing the spotlight. “As Joe Papp, who was a famous director, used to say, ‘if you’re over 70 and you’re not drinking and you can learn lines, you can work,’” Cronin said. This past April, Cronin took part in John Hardy and Rick McVey’s indie film “This is the World” which was showcased at the famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va. Talent Trek, Cronin’s current talent agency based in Knoxville, Tenn., recently called him looking for a guy in his 70s who could play an army veteran on the Lifetime hit TV show “Army Wives.” Cronin said that he plays a humorous role as a Vietnam veteran in an episode in Season 6 of “Army Wives.” “I’m no Johnny Depp or Al Pacino, but if they need a 70-year-old veteran actor, then I’m your man,” Cronin said. “I assume that if my health stays good, I

new faculty Herrmann takes on duties in Communication Studies BY: ZACHARY VANCE Dr. Andrew Herrmann joined the Department of Communication as assistant professor in Communication Studies in fall 2011 and has wasted no time contributing to the program. In his first year at ETSU, Herrmann served on various committees, published three academic articles, taught three courses and developed new courses. In addition, Herrmann, along with the help of other faculty members, helped create an Honors-In-Discipline Program for the Communication Studies division.

Herrmann credits his colleagues for his success at ETSU thus far. “What helped me get socialized so quickly – and made my first year so successful – was the other department members. Everyone was more than willing and amazingly helpful to get the neophyte to ‘hit the ground running,’” said Herrmann. Herrmann’s main focus in academia is communication in organizations and groups. Herrmann has won numerous top paper awards at the National Communication Association and

Central States Communication Association and has had several articles published in notable journals.


Fannon brings IMC knowledge to Mass Communication BY: ZACHARY VANCE Megan Fannon had ambition to be a full-time college instructor and in the spring of 2011, Fannon accepted a position as lecturer in Public Relations and Journalism in the Department of Communication. “It was exciting,” said Fannon, who holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from West Virginia University. Fannon began teaching communication courses in the 2010-2011 academic year as an adjunct faculty member at her undergraduate alma mater, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. There, Fannon


FALL 2012

also supported the Office of Advising, Retention and Assessment as a freshman seminar course instructor. Interacting with students is one of Fannon’s favorite aspects of teaching. “I like sharing my knowledge and personal experience with students, seeing them learn from that and grow,” Fannon said. “It’s really all about connecting with the students.” Fannon is also adviser of ETSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.

Fannon’s academic interests lie in media portrayals and health communication.


Send us your news and photos!

The Department of Communication welcomes news for CLASSNOTES. Please email news of personal and career achievements and service to or mail news to: Megan Fannon, The Department of Communication, Box 70667, Johnson City, TN 37614.


Thank you for your service and contributions! We wish you the best of luck in future endeavors!

Tim Altonin Matthew Lamb Angie Sheek ETSU is an AA/EEO employer. TBR # 260-027-12 .1M

Eas tTennes s eeSt at eUni ver s i t y Depar t mentofCommuni c a on Col l egeofAr t sandSc i enc es Box70667 J ohns onCi t y,TN 376141701

ETSU Department of Communication Magazine Fall 2012  

A look at news and events from 2011 and 2012 in the Department of Communication at ETSU.

ETSU Department of Communication Magazine Fall 2012  

A look at news and events from 2011 and 2012 in the Department of Communication at ETSU.