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View from the Hill – New Provost

Originally posted on WKU News:

Two longtime fixtures in WKU’s Potter College of Arts and Letters are finding themselves in new roles at the university.  Amy Bingham talks to both the new Provost and the new Interim Dean of Potter College in this week’s View from the Hill.

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Forensic Team Owns the Competition

forensicsWestern Kentucky University prides itself in its longstanding traditions. One of the longest traditions is Forensics, which is a form of competitive speech and debate. The Forensics Team, formed in 1919, is the oldest and most successful student run organization on campus. The competitive atmosphere of Forensics gives students the opportunity to gain confidence and effective communication skills. With these skills in tow, they have won more national forensics titles in the last ten years than any other team in the United States.

In 2013-14, they won the “American Forensic Association” national title, “NFA debate” national title, and the “International Forensic Association” title all in the same year. Most recently, the Forensics Team won their final national tournament, the National Forensic Association National Speech and Debate Tournament, on April 16-20, 2015 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Additionally, the WKU Forensics Team won its ninth AFA (American Forensics Association) National Individual Events Tournament, hosted by Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon on April 3-6, 2015.

Ms. Emma Collins, a forensic student and Corporate & Organizational Communication major, who recently competed at the National level, got involved with the Department of Communication when her Forensics’ coach encouraged her to read a communication textbook A first look at communication theory written by Em Griffin, 2011, which simultaneously helped her with impromptu speaking and sparked her love for Communication theories. Ms. Collins goes on to say Forensics teaches students to do research, write, and deliver vital messages. Additionally, students stay updated on current events; and they are constantly being exposed to a wide array of both fiction and non-fiction literature. One of Ms. Collins favorite Communication courses is Interpersonal Communication. She jokingly says this is her favorite because “being a part of a team of 45 you have to deal with a lot of interpersonal relationships.” Ms. Collins hopes for the Department of Communication is to get students and faculty to their yearly showcase: offer extra credit, tell students to attend in order to make it a memorable event.

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Communication Ambassadors — Liaisons and “Rock Stars”

comm_ambassadors“As Communication Ambassadors, we pledge to always represent the department with dignity and grace; to diligently promote its efforts and accomplishments; and recruit qualified students to both the Corporate and Organizational Communication and Communication Studies majors.” This Mission Statement exemplifies the Communication Ambassadors (CA) program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) very well. The Communication Ambassadors program began in 2003 by Dr. Carl Kell and Dr. Sally Ray. The program was started because these faculty members wanted to develop a student organization where members serve as spokespersons for the Department of Communication. Communication Ambassadors are essentially the ‘face’ of the department for potential, new, and current students.

Communication Ambassadors meet on a monthly basis and use the meetings as times to update themselves on the events going on throughout the department. A typical meeting for the Communication Ambassadors consists of signing up for events and discussing new ways that the Ambassadors can help recruit more students for the Department of Communication. The Ambassadors attend recruitment events throughout the state to speak on behalf of the Department and to recruit potential students.

Dr. Helen Sterk, Head of the Department of Communication, describes the Communication Ambassadors as “dynamic.” Dr. Sterk states, “I love the Ambassadors’ commitment to the Department of Communication. They build the department’s culture through recruiting and hosting potential students, informally advising current students, holding the annual bonfire, and sponsoring ReVerb events. As a department, we know we can rely on the Communication Ambassadors.” The Communication Ambassadors truly know how to give back to the Department of Communication.

Ms. Karen Powell, a current Communication Ambassador, describes the group as “passionate.” Karen’s favorite part about the program is “the  relationships I have been able to build. I have met some of the most unique, inspirational people through this program, who have turned into some of my best friends. I feel I am pushed to be better because I know how important it is to represent such a fantastic department and these fantastic people well.” Ms. Chelsea Martin, Communication Ambassador alumna, uses the word “community” to describe the program. Chelsea joined the program during her sophomore year at WKU and says that the CA Program taught her how to network, and to “always be looking for ways to connect with more people.”

Ms. Charlotte Elder is the faculty adviser for the Communication Ambassadors. She describes the Ambassadors as “her rock stars.” In order for a student to be a Communication Ambassador, a professor must nominate and recommend them. Once a faculty member nominates a student, the department evaluates the student’s involvement, grades, etc. and extends offers to 20 students per year. If a student is interested in serving as an Ambassador, they are encouraged to speak with a Communication faculty member and ask him or her to recommend them to Ms. Elder by email at: Charlotte.Elder@WKU.edu.

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40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally | TED Blog

A great way to start your Monday morning is with this very funny article! Maybe it will cause you to pause and think about the phrases you use and how you would explain them.

via 40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally | TED Blog.

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Talks to help you find the right job | Playlist | TED.com

In vibrant, insightful talks, people from all fields share their experiences and advice on how to find the perfect career for you and how to get the most our of your professional life.

via Talks to help you find the right job | Playlist | TED.com.

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Gameday information for WKU vs. Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 26


Let’s go TOPS!

Originally posted on WKU News:

gameday-miamiWKU hosts Miami (Ohio) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 26) at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium in the annual White Out game.

All fans are encouraged to wear white to the game, and the first 10,000 fans into the stadium on Saturday will receive a Live United White Out T-shirt. More:Gameday plans from WKUSports.com;WKU Parking & Transportation gameday information

Saturday’s game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network with the radio broadcast on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network. You can also follow the game on the WKU Gameday App or on Twitter @WKUFootball. More:WKU game notes; Miami game notes.

WKU welcomes students, families

WKU is hosting events for current and prospective students and their families on Saturday.bigredthanks

  • The Parent & Family Weekend activities will feature a welcome presentation, mock classroom/student presentations, residence hall receptions and the President’s Festival on the Green. The 2015…

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Message from Helen Sterk, Department Head

dr. sterkAs you can see from the newsletter, we’ve been at work this year refining our sense of identity and purpose as a department. In January, before the second semester began, all of the full-time faculty and office staff members worked for two days with Dr. Larry Long, former Dean of the School of Communication at Illinois State University, developing our strategic plan for the future.

Recognizing organizational context as crucial to success, the department’s plan lines up with Western Kentucky University’s ‘Challenging the Spirit’ plan’s four major strategic goals: to foster academic excellence, to promote a dynamic and diverse university community, to improve the quality of life for our communities and to support the core mission with a robust campus infrastructure.

So what does that mean for the department? The short form answers are:

First: We will increase our academic excellence by developing course assignments that craft an ongoing balance of theory and practice, so student skills are grounded in understanding. The ‘how’ of communication always needs to be built on the ‘why.’ Further, we will develop learning that crosses courses, so that what is begun in one is picked up in another. And we will support our honors students through regular honors offerings, enthusiastic mentoring of theses, and encouraging JUMP (Joint Undergraduate Master’s Program) enrollments.

Second: We will promote a dynamic and diverse university community by putting key department people in connection with university resource persons on diversity to determine opportunities. We will gather information on how well we have been doing in keeping diversity alive and well in our programs. And we will develop an action plan for the department that shows we value all human beings.

Third: We will improve the quality of life for our communities. In order to improve the quality of life for our part of the world, we need to know what is needed and what we have to offer to fulfill those needs. So, first, we’ll research both for-profit and non-profit organizations in our communities, and then, we’ll tailor and market more strategically our program internships, certificates, online offerings, and faculty consultant expertise.

Fourth: We will support the core mission of our department and university with a robust infrastructure. In order to supplement the course work offered through the department, we will develop attractive classrooms, a well-staffed Communication Success Center, and faculty offices conducive to meeting with students and conducting collegial conversations. In order to supplement the work of the university, we will develop a QEP-based proposal for an argument and evidence oral communication lab and a Social Media Analytics Command Center.

Stay tuned for reports on how we do on each of these goals. Some will be completed this year and some may take up to five years, but all will be on our agenda.


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