In The News
September 2018 Updates
The Department of Communication Studies is hosting its second TEDx event on Saturday, November 3 at The Marc. This full-day event will feature innovative ideas from a variety of speakers, wonderful entertainment from Texas State students and community members, and the chance to discuss and share with others in the community. Revolving around the theme of “reXamine,” speakers will challenge the status quo and embrace the question “Why?” Topics will focus on innovation in technology, science, the arts, humanities, and our daily lives. The TEDx Leadership team consists of Communication Studies faculty members Marsha Burney, Michael Burns, Kristen Farris, and Cassandra LeClair, and M.A. students David Beadle and Hannah Jones. Communication Faculty members Ann Burnette and Mark Paz are serving as speaker coaches along with alumnus Jonathan Alba. The team is also excited to announce they have secured external funding for the event from the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and Main Street City of San Marcos.
Melinda Villagran continues to lead the Translational Health Research Initiative at Texas State, announcing the 2019 Health Scholar Showcase to be held on Wednesday, February 27th. The theme will be “Smart, Connected Health,” a focus that allows participants to share and examine innovative tools and relationships that may change the nature of health and healthcare.
This event connects faculty and community partners so they may engage in collaborative research efforts. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about health-focused research being completed by faculty from Departments, Schools, Centers, and Colleges across Texas State University. Additional information and a call for presentations will be shared in the coming months. The Translational Health Research Initiative supports faculty seeking to attract new grant funding, build their research teams, develop research tools, or move forward on multidisciplinary programs.
Michael Burns, Kristen Farris, and Marian Houser, working with Daris Hale, Ian Davidson, and Nico Schuler from the Department of Music were approved for a new joint study abroad program to London and Paris where students will earn credit for Fundamentals of Human Communication and Introduction to Fine Arts. This program will be the first study abroad course marketed and endorsed by the Texas International Education Consortium. As a pilot project, the details of the program will be distributed to 31 public universities in Texas.
The Graduate Faculty Committee from the Department of Communication Studies held the annual “Graduate Day of Dialogue.” This day-long meeting focuses upon continued progress and planning to maintain status as a top-level Master’s program. Among the many agenda items that were addressed, the faculty developed the planned course offerings for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters.
The department also hosted the annual “Welcome and Welcome Back!” reception. The event allows faculty and graduate students to (re-)establish relationships, catch up on projects, and develop the coordination needed to lead into a productive academic year.
The Department of Communication Studies’ Graduate Instructional Assistants and Graduate Teaching Assistants are hard at work balancing the dual goals of excellence in teaching and research. A recent stroll through their offices provides evidence of their simultaneous dedication to teaching and research.
The COMM Lab is Texas State’s only resource for enhancing the delivery of presentations and oral communication. The Lab has temporarily relocated to the second floor of the Alkek Library, with plans for permanent housing on the fourth floor once renovations are complete. Communication Studies faculty member (MA, Texas State University) Casey Chilton is the Director of the Comm Lab and provides training for up to 7 staff members, coordinates technology and infrastructure requirements, and serves as a liaison between Comm Lab and a wide range of campus units that utilize his team’s services. Recently, the university approved Student Service Fee funding for the Lab for the second year, which allowed additional staff to be hired and more students will be served. The COMM Lab is open to all students, regardless of major.
Michael Burns traveled with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to serve as keynote speaker at two Counselor Updates. He spoke to over 200 high school guidance counselors and community college advisors about why their students should consider Texas State while highlighting the culture of the university. Susan Hazzard, the Director of Public Relations for USA Track and Field, spoke to Michael’s Sport Communication class about the value of communication skills in the sports and provided advice on ways to break into the sports industry.
Elizabeth K. Eger gave an invited public lecture for the Texas State Society of Women Engineers on “Unconscious Bias in STEM Education.” Her “Qualitative Research Methods and Communication” graduate students practiced participant observation methods by visiting local organizations at LBJ and Sessom to learn qualitative methods in the community.
Marian Houser completed Texas State University’s 40-hour Foundations of Online Course Design and Development program. Completing the course is a prerequisite for being approved to teach in the online format and meets SACSCOC requirements for online instructors. She will teach “Communication 2315: Interpersonal Communication” in an online format during the spring 2019 semester.
Jeremy Hutchins was honored with the Educator of the Year Award by the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA). The award was presented at the Texas Speech Communication Association (TSCA) annual convention in Corpus Christi. Pictured with Jeremy are Texas State Forensics Director Wayne Kraemer and M.A. alum Sarah Mohumdro Contreras.
Maureen Keeley served as the representative for the Department of Communication Studies at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s “Field of Studies” planning process. This set of meetings is a means for developing collaborative agreements about the courses that will transfer from Texas Community Colleges into 4-year university curricula. By working with the committee, Dr. Keeley helped identify courses that students can complete at a community college that will serve to meet lower-division degree requirements for the Bachelor’s degree at a 4-year university.
Melinda Villagran has been working closely with Walt Horton and Eric Algoe to move the Translational Health Research Initiative onto the list of legislative appropriation items for the upcoming legislative session. This request, which is one of only a small number of legislative budget requests submitted by Texas State University, would create a continued source of state-level funding for the Translational Health Research Initiative.
The Elton Abernathy Forensics Society won second place at the 30th Annual Hill Country Swing hosted by Texas State and the University of Texas. Eleven universities, including Arizona State, LSU, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Rice, and the University of Texas competed in the tournament.
Jaelyn Ashford won 1st in Prose Interpretation.
Tyra Williams won 1st in Dramatic Interpretation.
Dillon McCoy won 1st in Program Oral Interpretation and 4th in Prose Interpretation.
Enrique Urdiales took 2nd place in Program Oral Interpretation.
Shaelyn Handy took 5th place in Program Oral Interpretation and 6th in Prose Interpretation.
Lily Montemayor was 4th in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Tyshee Sonnier was 4th in Informative Speaking.
The following weekend, the team competed at the Storm Classic at Southeastern Oklahoma.
Nate Sauve and Jonathan Wagner were semi-finalists in Parliamentary Debate.
Lily Montemayor and Jordan Drake were Quarterfinalists in Parliamentary Debate.
Lily Montemayor took 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking and 3rd in Informative Speaking.
Jordan Drake took 3rd in Informative Speaking and was a semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking.
Tyshee Sonnier took 1st in Informative Speaking and was a semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking.
Dillon McCoy placed 2nd in Program Oral Interpretation.
M.A. student Trevor Kauer was co-author of a published chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication entitled “Effects of deception on the deceiver: An interdisciplinary view.”
M.A. student Brad Palmisano was a featured guest speaker at the Chief Learning Officer Symposium on in Houston, Texas. Along with Shonna Waters, Regional Vice President of Behavioral Science at BetterUp, Brad shared research data to reveal how personalized coaching programs and targeted learning interventions have changed employee behavior, allowing organizational members to thrive through periods of change and uncertainty.
M.A. student Jordan Taylor was accepted into the Organizational Communication Mini-Conference at Rutgers University. She will present a poster on her critical literature review entitled, “Women of Color: White-Collar Work.”
Laura Brown (M.A., 2013) is finishing a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. She recently accepted the position of Senior Instructional Designer at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas.
Dana Dinsmore (M.A., 2015) is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Arizona.
Kristal Gault (B.A., 2003 & M.A., 2008) serves in the Department of the Air Force Public Affairs division. She has recently been promoted as a Department of the Air Force civilian and will be relocating to the Pentagon where she will work on Communication Strategy and Assessments for high-visibility, Air Force-wide programs.
Holly Wallner (B.A., 2018) is the Aquatics Director at Southwest Pool Management in Spring, Texas.
In the News
Date Reveals Why The 'Soft' in 'Soft Skills' Is A Major Misnomer
With a tight labor market and an increase in employees seeking to upskill for the skills transformation happening in the workplace, companies and business leaders are reassessing the skills they deem critical to success in their employees and job candidates.
In an interview earlier this year, Mark Cuban made a prediction that many people in the technical fields found shocking: in ten years, "a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree." His reasoning is that AI and automation will transform the job market so much that degrees that teach how to think in a big picture way and better collaborate will become more valuable. This is sound reasoning based on the current outlook for our economy and workforce, and a testament to why these of skills are increasingly talked about.