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From the Dean

Phase II

I've sung this song before. But never this verse. A little building music, please.

Our School of Journalism and Mass Communications is moving toward Phase II of its path to creating a 21st century teaching and learning facility. While many may think this is a familiar tune, it's not.

We've finished the design for renovating and expanding the current Health Sciences building at Sumter and Greene streets. Design is Phase I, and we think it will provide us some 55,000 square feet of flowing, flexible space, vastly more accessible than the catacombs of the Coliseum.

New BuildingPhase II is the construction phase, though it's a bit more complicated than that. Between now and the end of 2011, we have half a dozen steps to take in the approval process to move into Phase II — full blueprints, specs and the construction bid process — in 2012 with our eye on construction in 2013.

Daily Gamecock news editor Ryan Quinn provides a good summary in the Aug. 23 issue. http://www.dailygamecock.com/news/item/1765-journalism-school-plans-move-to-horseshoe

Quinn captured both our new basis for enthusiasm and the natural tendency of journalists to be ever so slightly skeptical. Ok, Professor Jay Bender declared himself to be "completely pessimistic." Professor Bender, please report to the dean's office.

There are vestigial reasons to be skeptical. As one colleague pointed out on my arrival at USC, other deans had made well meaning but miscalculated statements about "when we move into the new building." I've used those words myself, and we had one false start on my watch with the LeConte project that never came to fruition.

Here's what's different. We have a nearly clear track ahead. The Arnold School of Public Health has navigated those same approval hurdles toward moving out of the Health Sciences building and into Innovista's Discovery I building. Tommy Chandler, the dean of public health, says he's happy to have me right behind him pushing. The day public health clears, we plan to be ready to swing into construction. Have hard hat and sledge hammer.

The move has full administrative approval, enthusiasm from the board of trustees for solving a long standing dilemma, funds from the university for the construction costs and a start on the fund raising we'll need to fully outfit the building. Much of what we've upgraded over the years will move from the Coliseum, but we'll also want the new building to reflect the 21st century communications paradigm. Can you help? Of course, you can. But raising those funds and properly equipping the building are not obstacles so much as opportunities.

Meanwhile, we'll be seeing the Building and Grounds Committee, the university's Board of Trustees, the Commission on Higher Education, the Joint Bond Review Committee and the state's Budget and Control Board. If we can keep on track, we will have run that gauntlet by Dec. 12. I'll keep you posted.

A little skepticism is ok, but try not to be pessimistic. On to Phase II.

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Alumni News

Alumna to be Recognized as Featured Cancer Survivor 

Lisa Helfer, ’82, an advertising graduate and breast cancer survivor, will be the featured cancer survivor at Palmetto Health Foundation's 2011 Walk for Life and 5K Race for Life on Oct. 1 at Finlay Park in Columbia.

Helfer and her son Jason Mohn, a USC freshman following in his mother’s footsteps by also majoring in advertising, were both featured in a recent special by WLTX reporter and fellow SJMC alumna Darci Strickland, ’97 broadcast.


Steven SmithSLIS Alumnus Named Dean of UT Libraries

Steven Escar Smith, ’90 MLIS, is the new dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Smith, who also received his bachelor’s degree in English from USC in ’87, previously served as interim executive associate dean at Texas A&M libraries.


Mandi EngramEngram Listed Among Most Influential Marketers

Public relations alumna Mandi Engram, ’03, is listed on Destination Marketing Association International’s “30 under 30” list that recognizes leading destination marketing professionals age 30 and younger.

Engram, who is the director of marketing for the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism, is also ranked number 11 in the “Top 100 Most Influential Tourism Professionals on Twitter” by Betsy A. Decillis, a leading tourism blogger and founder of #TourismChat on Twitter.

Kela ThomasGovernor Appoints J-school Alumna to Key Post

Kela Thomas, ’85 broadcast, was appointed director of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon services in February by Gov. Nikki Haley.

Thomas previously served as the deputy director of administration at PPP and as a development director at USC.

Pamela DavenportDavenport Joins Library of Congress

MLIS alumna Pamela Davenport, ’95, has been hired as a national consultant for the Library of Congress in Washington,D.C.

Davenport most recently served as the director of Talking Book Services for the South Carolina State Library.

Zenica ChatmanMMC Grad New Director of Communications at National Nonprofit

Zenica Chatman, ’08 MMC, is the new director of communications for Souper Bowl of Caring, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes youth across the US to fight hunger and poverty.

Chatman oversees the organization’s public relations initiatives, strategic planning and internal communications.

Ben CauthenCauthen Joins Temple Football Staff

Broadcast alumnus Ben Cauthen, ’07, begins his first season as video coordinator for the football program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., this fall.

Cauthen spent the previous three seasons in a similar role at The Citadel.


College News

College Enrollment Tops 2,000 Students

The J-school has 1,414 enrolled undergraduate students this fall. There also are 42 graduate students pursuing their master’s degrees and 23 Ph.D. students. Fall enrollment in SLIS totals 553. There are 21 students in our young undergraduate program, 465 seeking the master’s degree, 29 certificate candidates, 23 specialist students and 15 Ph.D. students. We expect to award the school’s first Ph.D. and B.S. degrees during the coming year.

J-school Represented Among AEJMC Award Honorees

The J-school was well represented at the annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference, where several faculty members, students and alumni were recognized for their excellence in research. Doctoral students Geah Pressgrove and Jack Karlis each received second place honors, Pressgrove in the History division and Karlis in Law and Policy. Dr. John Besley and Ph.D. student Sang Hwa Oh were recognized for third place in the new Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk division. Professor Emerita Pat McNeely, alumna Dr. Debbie Van Tuyll, ’00 Ph.D., and former faculty member Hank Shulte were also recognized for their book Knights of the Quill: Confederate Correspondents and their Civil War Reporting. The book, published in 2010, was a Tankard Book Award Finalist. The conference was held Aug. 10-13 in St. Louis, Mo.

New Public Relations Professor PublishedBrooke Weberling

New SJMC faculty member Dr. Brooke Weberling’s paper “Framing Breast Cancer: Building an agenda through online advocacy and fundraising,” was recently accepted for publication in Public Relations Review.

Dr. Weberling joined the public relations faculty this semester after earning her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in May.

New Faculty Members

Faculty ImagesIn addition to Dr. Weberling in the J-school, SLIS also welcomes two new faculty members this fall.

Dr. Michelle Martin is a professor and the first Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy. Dr. Martin comes to USC from Clemson University.

Dr. Arsev Aydinoglu is a visiting assistant professor, having recently completed his doctoral studies at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Aydinoglu, whose experience includes work at the World Bank, will focus on the SLIS undergraduate information science program by developing courses and assisting doctoral students with their teaching.

Student News

Georgian Students Begin Class Work

graduate studentsThe benefits of a $750,000 grant the J-school received from the U.S. Department of State have come to fruition with three Ph.D. students from the country of Georgia beginning their course work this semester.

Ana Keshelashvili, Maia Mikashavidze and Nino Danelia, all citizens of the Eurasian nation formerly part of the Soviet Union, are part of an exchange program between the J-school and the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The three students, who are all faculty members at CSJMM, will spend three years studying at USC while SJMC faculty members travel to Georgia to teach and help improve the CSJMM graduate program. Dr. Keith Kenney, the main author of the grant proposal and the director of the program, began his one-year tenure at CSJMM in Tbilisi this fall.

Upcoming Events

Mentor Match Night
Sept. 8, 6-8 p.m.
Russell House Ballroom

Mentor Match NightOur college’s Alumni Society invites you to join its Mentor Program. If you are interested in mentoring a student for the coming school year, plan to attend our mentor match night.

The format will model speed dating where alumni and students will rotate every few minutes until everyone has had a chance to meet and talk. It’s a fun way to network and meet all of the participants. At the end of the event, participants will rate their top choices. Then, we’ll pair all students and mentors.  

If you cannot attend the event, you can still participate in the program.   To sign up, RSVP to Chrysti Shain - chrysti.shain@gmail.com.

Oct. 1-2
IT-ology, 1301 Gervais Street, Suite 200

SLIS is a major sponsor for this “unconference” for the information community in Columbia. InfoCamp is an interactive, community-driven event where the participants create the agenda. Topics include user experience, information architecture, information design, library and information science, and more. For more information, go to www.infocampsc.info.

I-Comm Week
Oct. 3-6

Mark your calendars now for the eighth annual I-Comm Week! We will have guest lecturers and sessions covering all aspects of information and communications. Keep checking the college website for events, session times and speakers.



South Carolina Broadcasters Association Scholarship

By Kayla Hildreth, SJMC Graduate Student

Since 1982, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications has participated in the grant pool of the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, which provides scholarships to help broadcast journalism students reach their goals. Over the nearly three decades, the journalism school has received more than $260,000 in funding for undergraduate and graduate scholarships and projects. To distribute funding to students each year, the SCBA scholarship committee works with the school to select recipients. Academic performance, school and community involvement, participation in broadcast activities and financial need all help determine recipients.

Based on its philosophy that leadership is vital to the growth and future of the industry, the organization established the SCBA Education Foundation in 1982. The foundation’s purpose is to help fund broadcast programs in South Carolina colleges, technical schools and universities, and to support leaders at these institutions with grant and scholarship funding.

SCBA also created the Foundation Fellows Program “to allow individual broadcasters or others involved in the broadcast industry to make contributions to the Foundation,” said SCBA Executive Director Shani White. These donations are tax-deductible, and contributors “often include past hall of fame participants, industry leaders, past presidents of SCBA and others actively involved in the industry,” she said.

The foundation has dispersed nearly $420,000 in grants and scholarships statewide. “The foundation generally tries to support 10 to 12 schools in South Carolina annually, and has a goal to donate a cumulative $50,000 to these schools each year,” White said.

SCBA was founded in 1948 as a trade association for local radio and television stations. Today it serves its members by lobbying at the state and federal levels, providing legal assistance to stations and offering training seminars. It also helps preserve broadcast history through the South Carolina Broadcast Archive and Hall of Fame housed in the J-school.


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Mentor Match Night
Sept. 8, 6-8 p.m.
Russell House Ballroom

I-Comm Week
Oct. 3-6


A Time Capsule. Last seen in the Carolina Coliseum a few decades ago. If you have any information leading to the recovery of our time capsule, please contact Elaine Taylor (taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu)

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