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From the Dean

Guten Tag. Grüß Gott.

We're back from Germany, after two weeks exploring subjects as diverse as energy independence, bread making and street performers. For 21 School of Journalism and Mass Communications students, it was a tale of two cities. The students discovered Berlin and Munich have different characteristics. Some are as simple as greetings. Berliners' "Guten Tag" is literally "good day." In highly Catholic Munich, "Grüß Gott" translates as "greet God" or, sometimes, "God's greeting."

Munich groupLife is nuanced. Germans are no more all alike than Americans. I sense our students discovered that. Stereotypes are always risky. They saw reminders of the bleakest of Germany's history and met young people who are the lights of its future. In last month's note, I promised you a report from this Maymester adventure. I'd recommend you read it in the students' own words. We'll add some of their polished products as soon as my colleague Scott Farrand and I get over jet lag.
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Students regularly tell us that even a two-week study abroad experience can change perspectives. It was equally rewarding for me to travel with a younger generation born after the Berlin Wall came down. It was a wall I'd seen from both sides. I sought to provide historical context; they provided a fresh view.

While we were gone, a brouhaha was brewing in Washington over the Obama administration poking its nose into the news gathering practices of Fox News and the Associated Press. The Justice Department issued subpoenas for the agencies' phone records. Is there a First Amendment protection against that? Not exactly. I recommend Reid H. Montgomery Freedom of Information Chair Jay Bender's column for the S.C. Press Association for Jay's legal and journalistic insights. Read column arrow

Cocky's Reading Express™ has an ambitious summer itinerary. We are fighting to keep S.C. children from suffering "summer slide" in their reading habits. Oh, the places we'll go. See schedulearrow

My summer reading list embarrassingly has a couple of carryovers from last summer. Ben Franklin's biography took me a long time to finish, but it took him a long time to live it. Alumnus Al Munn dropped off one slim volume that I've already read. (See below.) And I'm well through Chris Matthews' biography of John F. Kennedy. The beach book bag looks like a good summer read. I promise, Cocky. I promise.

Charles Bierbauer

Bierbauer signature


College News


J-school alumnae are Face of Y'ALL finalists

Two public relations alumnae are finalists for the 2013 Face of Y'ALL contest. Donnica Smalls, '11, and Jessica Todd, '12, are among five finalists. The winner of the Face of Y'ALL represents young alumni and helps classes of the last ten years leave a lasting legacy at Carolina. Voting runs through midnight on June 4, so be sure to get your vote in today! All USC alumni who graduated between 2003-2012 are eligible to vote. Votearrow


Young Palmetto Books series debuts

Young Palmetto BooksYoung Palmetto Books, a series that features children's and young adult books, was created through a partnership between the University of South Carolina Press and the S.C. Center for Children's Books and Literacy, a unit of the USC School of Library and Information Science. Led by the center's executive director Kim Jeffcoat, the series seeks new projects with connections to South Carolina authors and subjects. The first book from the series, Patricia Moore-Pastides' cookbook "Greek Revival from the Garden," is out now.

Visit the program's website and read more about Young Palmetto Books.


CreateAthon turns garnet and black

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications is the newest partner of CreateAthon, an organization that champions effective nonprofit marketing through pro bono marathons. In the fall, students, faculty and alumni volunteers will spend 24 hours designing marketing pieces for nonprofit organizations.

CreateAthon was founded by Riggs Partners in Columbia and is holding its 16th annual event the same week as USC. Other schools that have CreateAthon programs include Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and James Madison University.

For more information on CreateAthon at USC including how your nonprofit can apply, visit arrow


Information Science Degree graduates largest class

The School of Library and Information Science's young undergraduate program in information science graduated five students at the spring 2013 commencement. This is the largest number of graduates this degree program has had since it began classes in the fall of 2008. The graduates were Nathan Elger, Rashad Ishmael, Austa Joye (Cum Laude), Jeff Martineck (Cum Laude), and Kendra Wright. The school is exploring taking the BSIS degree online.


College alumni and faculty have large presence at commencement

College of Mass Communications and Information Studies alumni and faculty had a large presence at commencement ceremonies last month.

Curtis Rogers, '91 MLIS, was the speaker at USC-Union's commencement ceremony on May 4. Rogers discussed the history of higher education and "believing in something, believing in yourselves and believing passionately about the path you take on life's journey."

Darius Rucker, a broadcast journalism alumnus, was the speaker at the undergraduate ceremony on May 11, where he urged graduates "find something that makes you want to give 'til it hurts."

Charles Bierbauer, dean of the college, spoke at the doctoral hooding ceremony on May 11. In his speech, Bierbauer borrowed philosopher-athlete Yogi Berra's aphorism: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Read his speech to the doctoral graduates here arrow


J-school alumnus publishes brother's WWII diary

Munn photo

Al Munn, '50 journalism, has published a book detailing his late brother's World War II naval service as part of the gun crew aboard the freighter SS Larranaga. While visiting the college in May, Munn stopped by the Coliseum to bring his alma mater a copy of the book, "Diary of Squandered Valor: First Convoy to Murmansk."


Faculty Notes

Shannon A. Bowen, public relations, and Elina V. Erzikova, Central Michigan University, "The international divide in public relations education: Advocacy versus autonomy," PR Journal 7(1).

A paper by Dr. Erik Collins, public relations, and Geah Pressgrove, doctoral student, "Paralleling the practice: An analysis of the scholarly literature in nonprofit public relations," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Public Relations Research.

Dr. Kathy Roberts Forde, journalism, and co-author Katherine A. Foss, Middle Tennessee State University, have won the 29th annual Covert Award from the history division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for their article, "'The Facts - The Color! - The Facts': The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910," Book History, (2012), 123-151. This is the second year in a row that Forde has received the Covert Award, a first for the prestigious honor.

Dr. Bruce Konkle, visual communications, will receive the Laurence Campbell Award for outstanding research in scholastic journalism from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for his paper, "A Preliminary Overview of the Early History of High School Journalism in the U.S.: ~1775-1925."

A paper by Karen Mallia, advertising, and Kasey Windels, Louisiana State University, "How Gender Situates Learning in Advertising Creative Departments," was named the top professional freedom and responsibility paper in the advertising division for the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference.

Dr. Ran Wei, public relations, is the Outstanding Paper Award winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013 by Emerald Literati Network for his paper, "Influences of culture and market convergence on the international advertising strategies of multinational corporations in North America, Europe and Asia," which was published in the International Marketing Review.



Collins Unbuttoned

Reprinted from the spring 2013 issue of InterCom Magazine.
By Ashley Honea, a sophomore broadcast journalism major

Having heard rumors concerning Dr. Erik Collins' media law class — its challenging workload and professor alike — I stepped into the lecture room carrying a sense of apprehension in the spring of 2012. In he strolled, sporting a button down and sweater vest with Diet Pepsi in hand, which I would come to recognize as his never-altering appearance.

Erik Collins"I swear I was born wearing a blue button-down collared shirt, a navy blazer with gold buttons, gray trousers and loafers," Dr. Collins said. Dr. Collins called roll, then announced that he would be choosing a class "scribe" whose duties were to attend every class, take notes on the day's lecture, and periodically summarize acquired knowledge.

"Ah, Miss Honea," said Dr. Collins with an air of confident humor, formally addressing me as he did all of his students, "you will be our class scribe for the semester. From that day forward I impossibly strove to write down every word that Dr. Collins said, along with his sporadic mentions of life "rules," including "never go to Ohio" and "make as much money as you can."

Dr. Collins never comes to class with anything more than an Expo marker and a Diet Pepsi, yet always has a method strategic to his teaching madness.

"If I don't know enough to where that is all I need in class, why would you come?" Dr. Collins asked. "You have to work hard to make it look easy, but that's the most fun of it."

Just when the twisting scenarios Dr. Collins crafts on-the-spot seem without direction, a serious and comprehensible message concerning a journalist's interpretation of the First Amendment would pop up. A light bulb came on. Dr. Collins did it yet again.

"It's a pleasure coming to work every day," said Dr. Collins. "It's like a tonic to me. You get in [the classroom] and it's like a ‘let's get going!' kind of thing. It's just a lot of fun."

Dr. Collins expects his students to understand the material well enough to be able to morph what they have learned into real-life solutions, while at the same time forming their own opinion.

"Teach them not what is, teach them ways to apply what they're learning to the next situation they face, because that's life," said Dr. Collins.

Collins quoteAfter graduating high school at 16, Dr. Collins became a professor at the age of 27 and has influenced the lives of hundreds of students. Richard Moore, a broadcast journalism instructor, was a student of Dr. Collins at Ohio State. The two are now colleagues and both approaching retirement.

"Erik has been a great mentor for me, personally," said Moore. "He is a voice of reason for all faculty and has been a logical and thoughtful advocate as the school of journalism tries to chart its course through the development of a new curriculum and other challenges."

Dr. Collins came to the University of South Carolina in 1985 after acquiring a breadth of communication credentials, including a master's degree in higher education from Florida State, a Ph.D. in journalism and mass communications from Syracuse, a law degree from Ohio State and experience as Phillip Morris' public relations representative. Dr. Collins has taught an assortment of subjects including public relations, media law, research methods and journalistic writing classes. Overall, he cherishes most his experience working with students in the graduate level program.

"Our students who have come into our program, they're bright, they're eager and they've done well and gone out and done great things," said Dr. Collins. "I'm happiest about having helped create that."

With retirement a year away, Dr. Collins said there wasn't a single thing he would change about his experience at the university. "I will miss the hurly burly of the students," he admits. "But I want to go out on top."

Erik Collins' 25-plus years at the J-school have left lasting impressions on many. His intense, transparent love for what he does will stick with me for the rest of my college career and inspire me to put the same amount of passion into my future endeavors. Having a professor who loves what he does simply for the betterment of his students is a rarity and I feel privileged to have experienced that.

"Being a college professor, you have to accept that the rewards are not always monetary," said Dr. Collins. "But there are rewards that are worth the sacrifice."



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