Missouri State University
What is going on in the Department of Communication

COMWeek provided practical learning opportunities

COMWeek is one of the communication department’s signature events: a week-long immersion in some of the biggest topics in the field. It also includes plenty of opportunities to network and socialize with communication scholars, professionals and students.

Each year, visiting scholars present their research, and the week concludes with an alumni panel so that current communication students can learn from the professional perspectives of recent graduates.

Dr. Shawn Wahl, communication department head

Real-world experience

This year, COMWeek also provided professional training opportunities for four students, who served as the PR intern team. They gained practical experience with many of the most sought-after skills in public relations, such as event planning, promotion and coordination.

The student team consisted of Jacob Burke, Megan Hayes, Bryar Keyes and Tina Pham, who first began working on the plan as part of a class project.

According to Dr. Shawn Wahl, communication department head, “The students proposed a public relations and marketing plan in COM 379: Writing for Public Relations. Several of them wanted to gain more experience by actually executing the public relations and marketing plan they worked on during the Fall 2016 semester.”

After considering the students’ proposal, Wahl agreed to give them a huge stake in one of the department’s most important events.

“We were biting at the opportunity to get more responsibility,” team member Bryar said.

Learning to work within a brand

Just as communication professionals must learn to work within specific branding guidelines or creative directives, the COMWeek team was tasked with building a PR plan around Missouri State’s brand.

“Working with the brand was a big thing,” Bryar said. “It was a lot of fun because it gave us so much to go with. But we had to incorporate it and follow all the rules and guidelines in a specific way.”

Uniting the promotional materials around a consistent theme wasn’t always easy. During many months of planning, the students had to challenge themselves and stretch their skills into new areas of design, writing and organization.

When asked how they pushed through moments of doubt and exhaustion, team member Tina said they’d remind each other, “this is a big thing for our department, one that we love, so we’re going to get back into it. And we’d just take off again. That was the only way to do it.”

Mentorship and support

While COMWeek offered the student team the chance to exercise their professional skills, they got to do so within a supportive environment, where they were surrounded by expert mentorship.

In addition to Wahl’s guidance, the team also relied on instructor Didem Koroglu, who first proposed they create the PR plan in COM 379, and they shared that all communication faculty provided support, as did administrative assistant Suzanne Moskalski and Dr. Gloria Galanes, dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

“I think that’s what really helped us get through COMWeek,” Tina said.

Naturally, they experienced pre-event jitters. Team member Megan said, “The first day it started getting down to time, and we were like, ‘Guys, is anyone going to come?'”

“You know those butterflies,” Tina agreed.

But the team had nothing to worry about. Not only did people come, but according to Wahl, “Communication Week 2017: Make Your Missouri Statement was the most successful event in department history. I am so proud of the work of the public relations students. Overall, they did a wonderful job executing the public relations plan.”

And Wahl’s instinct that the students were ready for this challenge paid off. “I have confidence,” he said, “that this applied experience in public relations, marketing and event planning will help them as they compete for the best jobs across industries.”

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Students gather data that may shape Greene County

Aerial view of Springfield with a focus on the Missouri State campus

Students in Didem Koroglu’s communication classes are participating in a service learning project with the potential to have significant impact on our community.

They’re partnering with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) to increase public engagement with the 2017 Springfield-Greene County Community Focus Report, which investigates 11 “red flag” and “blue ribbon” areas in the county.

Bringing new voices to the conversation

According to a KY3 story about the project:

CFO has been researching and publishing these detailed community focus reports since 2004. In the past they have collected feedback through committees that are made up of leaders from roughly a dozen agencies. Those agencies share feedback they get from residents, and that information is then broken down into 11 areas of focus for the report.

Koroglu and her students are working to expand and diversify the feedback by providing an online option for residents to contribute.

Residents can now provide feedback about life in Springfield and Greene County via an interactive website dedicated to the Community Focus Report.

The students will then analyze and organize the feedback, creating white papers that will help direct efforts around the 11 focus areas.

Key details

Provide feedback for the Community Focus Report

Follow the students’ work

More information about the project and report

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#COMWeek2017 Alumni Panel

On the final day of COMWeek, Missouri State alumni will join us for an interactive panel. Current communication students will enjoy this opportunity to learn from the experiences of recent graduates who are making an impact in the field.

Meet the alumni panelists

Adria Baebler

Adria Baebler is a 2013 graduate of Missouri State and holds degrees in organizational communication and Spanish. She spent her first year out of college teaching English in Uruguay through the Fulbright Scholarship program, followed by a project management position for a corporate travel company, then worked as a translator for a nonprofit in Guatemala. Baebler currently works as an oncology consultant for Cerner, a healthcare IT company in Kansas City, where she meets with clients to develop and manage hospital conversions to Cerner software.

Bethany Bell

As PR & Social Media Manager at the Marlin Network, Bethany Bell develops and executes PR and social media strategies for global food brands. Before joining deep in 2013, Bell was the ‘Person in Charge of Getting the Word Out’ at Askinosie Chocolate, an artisan, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Springfield. Growing up in the coffee industry, Bell is also a strong advocate of the local food movement.

Doug Gaehle

Formerly an account manager for Osborn Barr, a communications agency specializing in agriculture located in St. Louis, Doug Gaehle is now responsible for planning and executing tradeshow presence on behalf of the United Soybean Board. With over five years’ experience in public relations, marketing and event planning strategies. He has worked on a variety of brands, including: Green County Park Board, Anchor Poppers, Harvest Splendor, Unilever, Missouri State University Department of Communication, Monsanto and United Soybean Board.

Sara McClendon

Sara McClendon graduated from Missouri State in December 2011 with a degree in public relations. Currently, McClendon is a manager at Osborn Barr, a full-service advertising agency with offices in St. Louis, Kansas City and Nashville. She works primarily on DEKALB Asgrow brands in a hybrid public relations/account service role. She values Missouri State, not only for its role in preparing her for her career, but also for the lifelong friendships and connections it fostered, which keep her growing professionally and personally.

Key details

  • When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Feb. 24
  • Where: PSU Ballroom East
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#COMWeek2017 Guest Scholar: Dr. Scott A. Myers

Thursday, Feb. 23

About Dr. Myers

As an instructional communication researcher, Dr. Myers’ research focuses primarily on the role communication plays in the instructor-student relationship, both in and out of the classroom, using experimental, survey and content analytic research methods. His current research projects focus on the role communication plays in the undergraduate student-faculty advisor relationship and how students use organizational citizenship behaviors in the classroom.

Dr. Myers is also a family communication researcher with a focus on how adult siblings maintain their relationships. He is beginning a series of studies examining how adult siblings use affectionate communication as a way to maintain their relationships. Currently, he is the director-elect of the educational policies board of the National Communication Association.

Key details

  • When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Feb. 23
  • Where: PSU Ballroom East
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#COMWeek2017 Guest Scholar: Dr. Jeffrey T. Child

Wednesday, Feb. 22

About Dr. Child

Dr. Child has been particularly interested in utilizing communication privacy management theory as a framework for understanding the way social media users think about the overall management of their online disclosures.

In addition, he explores how the family reflects a unique culture where unique rules, roles and communication practices emerge and ensue. His scholarship in this area examines communication about family problems, how families coordinate narratives and cover stories among members for effective functioning, family communication practices in different cultures and finally how relational cultures are developed and sustained through the establishment of rituals.

The final area of Dr. Child’s expertise in instructional communication began when he was a basic course director at NDSU and established a practice of making all curricular changes from an assessment data-based standpoint. His research in instructional communication informs effective classroom communication practices.

Key details

  • When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Feb. 22
  • Where: PSU Ballroom East
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#COMWeek2017 Guest Scholar: Dr. Autumn Edwards

Tuesday, Feb. 21

About Dr. Edwards

Dr. Autumn P. Edwards is an associate professor in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University. Her scholarly interests include interpersonal communication and communication theory, in both face-to-face and computer-mediated contexts.

Her research focuses on the influence of individuals’ personal theories of communication on aspects of community life, relational health and personal wellbeing. In addition, her recent scholarship has examined the influence of online message behavior on interpersonal impressions.

Key details

  • When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Feb. 21
  • Where: PSU Ballroom East
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COM Week 2017 features distinguished researchers and alumni

Communication Week is a signature event for Missouri State University’s Department of Communication. It focuses on highlighting communication teaching and research, as well as bringing together students, alumni and community members to network. This year, the week-long event themed “Make Your Missouri Statement” will take place on campus from Feb. 21-24. Dr. Shawn Wahl, Missouri […]

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#COMWeek2017 schedule

#COMWeek2017 will kick off on Feb. 21 with a theme centered around Missouri State’s new brand, Make Your Missouri Statement.

These events offer opportunities for students who are interested in communication to engage with important ideas and influential figures in the field.

Students with COMWeek posters
Megan Hayes, Tina Pham and Bryar Keyes hold marketing collateral they created for COMWeek.

During COMWeek, students get the chance to interact with leading scholars in the field, including ones who have written textbooks used in Missouri State communication courses. There will also be an interactive alumni panel and networking opportunities — events where you can build relationships with communication students, faculty and alumni.

Learn more about COMWeek from this interview with Dr. Shawn Wahl.

Megan Hayes, Kellen Yoey and Tina Pham prepping for COMWeek.

Schedule of events

Feb. 21

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., PSU Ballroom East
Guest Scholar: Dr. Autumn Edwards, Western Michigan University

Feb. 22

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM; PSU Ballroom East
Guest Scholar: Dr. Jeff Child, Kent State University

Feb. 23

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., PSU Ballroom East
Guest Scholar: Dr. Scott Myers, West Virginia University

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Alumni and Student-Faculty Mixer at Springfield Brewing Company

Feb. 24

COM Alumni Panel

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m, PSU Ballroom East

  • Bethany Bell, PR and Social Media Manager at Marlin
  • Adria Baebler, Training and Development at Cerner
  • Doug Gaehle, Account Executive at We are Alexander
  • Sara McClendon, Public Relations Manager at Osborne Barr
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CDR’s free Conflict Workshop Series addresses common issues in workplace

Ms. Heather Blades
Ms. Heather Blades

Mark your calendar for the Center for Dispute Resolution’s fall and spring Campus Conflict Workshop series. These free workshops are offered for Missouri State faculty, staff, students and alumni. These also qualify for Master Advisor credit.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Oct. 12

12-1 p.m.
PSU 317

Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Ms. Heather Blades

This session will explore how to give and receive feedback in the best ways possible, and will offer tips on how to handle these tough conversations and turn an otherwise uncomfortable experience into an opportunity for growth.

Bullying in the Workplace

Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher
Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher

Nov. 15

12-1 p.m.
PSU 317

Presented by Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher and Dr. Stephen Spates

Bullying is a common phenomenon that impacts workplace and campus settings. It often goes unrecognized even though it can cause much personal stress and group conflict. This workshop will discuss workplace and campus bullying behaviors, techniques for dealing with bullying, and prevention strategies.

Personality Types in Conflict

Jan. 25

12-1 p.m.
PSU 317
Presented by Dr. Gloria Galanes

Dr. Gloria Galanes
Dr. Gloria Galanes

Although conflict is inevitable, resolving conflict is easier when you understand the impact that a person’s personality type has on their reactions and perceptions. The session investigates the implications of personality types on conflict situations.

Coaching: An Effective Tool in Conflict Management

Feb. 21

12-1 p.m.
PSU 317
Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Ms. Heather Blades

This session will provide coaching strategies to help you assist others in conflict situations.

Using Circles to Encourage Dialogue

Dr. Char Berquist
Dr. Char Berquist

April 19

12-1 p.m.
PSU 317

Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Ms. Heather Blades

The “circle process” is a unique format that can be used to encourage dialogue, deep listening, and connection. Learn how you can use circles in the classroom and within organizations and units to build relationships and enhance learning and collaboration.

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