News and notes from the Communication program @ Fairfield

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Communication Students Reach Out to Local High Schools Regarding Alcohol Abuse Awareness

On February 12th, seven undergraduate Communication students, headed by Professor Maggie Wills, participated in the local Warde High School’s second annual “Life after Warde” program designed to help high school seniors navigate their future college campus and find ways to connect with others apart from engaging in the drinking culture.  Warde High School sought out Fairfield University students and faculty to assist with this program by providing their insight on college life and drinking in a Q&A session.  Professor Maggie Wills gladly attached herself to the program and was able to turn participation in this program into a fun and beneficial project for some of her CO 101 students.  This year, she recruited a number of students from her classes to take part in the University Curriculum Infusion of Alcohol Use/Abuse Program, where she asked these students to choose a topic related to alcohol abuse and create a presentation for their informative or persuasive speaking assignment.  Some of the titles of student speeches from this year included:

Campus Resources – Working Together (Alexis Espinell, ‘14)

Alcohol Awareness – The Role of Family (Lilly Savage, ‘16)

Party Alternatives – So Much to Do (Patrick Kiernan, ‘16)

Pursuing Passion – Defining your Four Years  (Alexander Long, ‘14)

Time Management – It’s not High School (Natalie Beauparlant, ‘16)

Roommates – It’s All Good (Brooke Baumgartel, ‘16)

Friends – New You and New Friends (Kristin Kelly, ‘14)

 

Professor Wills reported that she was thrilled to see how hard the students worked on developing these presentations and that this year’s program was such a success that they have been invited back to Warde High School next year.  She is currently looking for a few students to fill graduating seniors’ spots and participate in next years’ program.

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Dr. Gudelunas (squared) deliver lecture series in California

Chair of the Department of Communication, Dr. David Gudelunas, and his father, Dr. William Gudelunas, presented a series of lectures on media and American politics at the Rancho Mirage Public Library in California during the Winter break.  Dr. William Gudelunas is retired professor of History from CalState and College of the Desert in Southern California and father to Fairfield’s own Dr. David Gudelunas.  ”It was a great chance to actually share a stage with my Dad.  We have similar lecture styles as it turns out,” remarked the younger Gudelunas.  The crowd of over 350 Palm Springs retirees and their friends packed the library for the series.  ”I wish all my undergraduates knew that they would be fighting for seats for these sorts of talks 50 years down the road,” said Gudelunas.  More photos from the event can be found in Palm Springs Life here.

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Professor Maggie Wills Shows Communication Students the Importance of Fairfield’s Debate Club

Dr. Maggie Wills said she was surprised to attend the first debate club meeting and not see any communication students present.  Since becoming the advisor for the “Debate Society” at the end of last semester, her goal has been to recruit her Communication students to take part in this organization that is so helpful for developing skills for the future.  So far, she has recruited 8 students to take part and stated, “It’s great to see them attending the meetings and honing in on their argumentation skills.”  She went on to add, “It’s win-win—I think they’ll have a good foundation for presenting solid persuasive speeches in our CO 101 class, and they will also have a line on their resume that speaks to developing solid persuasive speaking skills needed for careers in PR, marketing, law, non-profits, teaching and more.”

The debate society holds it’s regular meetings on Tuesday nights in CNS 101 from 8-10pm.  Interested students can drop by for pizza and join in on a debate – working on teams to develop cases in which they propose a case or serve as the opposition.  Dr. Wills says, “these are informal and fun nights; only one or two people from each team (from 7-10 people on a team depending on who shows up at the meetings) have to actually get up and present the case for or against – and I’ve noticed that it’s the more regular attenders who grab that role. For the rest of the students, it’s just fun to develop and critique arguments on anything from “Should school uniforms be abolished?” to “Is marriage an important foundation in society?”  On Thursday nights, those students that wish to compete meet to critically develop their arguments and presentation skills.  The students are able to present in front of Dr. Wills so she can provide them with helpful feedback and advice.  This past Fall marked the first time in many years that Fairfield students attended a debate tournament, and recently students attended the APDA (American Parliamentary Debate Association) tournament at The College of New Jersey.

Dr. Wills has clearly been taking steps to grow and improve the debate society.  She even brought in Communication major alumnus, Mr. James Carlon, class of ’96 and a partner at Day Pitney LLC, in Stamford, to open the semester’s debate meetings with some remarks.  She said, . I called on him to “lead the charge,” so to speak, as I recalled his intellect and inspirational speaking style from CO 101
in the mid-90s.” By bringing in speakers to meetings, Dr. Wills hopes to set the bar high for the debaters.

You can learn more about the Fairfield University debate society from Dr. Wills or on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/fairfielddebate.

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Dr. Gudelunas edits special journal section

Dr. Gudelunas edited a special section of the new journal QED about Jodie Foster and what she did, or did not, say at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards about her sexuality.  Gudelunas culled together contributors from across the country to add pieces to the section and contributed his ow piece to the section: “Jodie Foster at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards: What She Said (and Didn’t) about Coming Out, Celebrity, and Queer Activism.”  You can check out the journal here50-214-F-78-QEDbanner1.

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Fairfield’s Communication Department to Host Summer 2014 AJCU Meeting

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The Department of Communication is excited to host faculty from across the country this summer at the annual meeting of AJCU Communication programs.  Faculty from all of the Jesuit schools will be visiting Fairfield to talk about teaching, scholarship and best practices in media, communication, journalism and related programs.  Fairfield is thrilled to show our friends from across the country our campus and our program.  Students who may be around campus this July and are interested in volunteering to help out with various tasks, we welcome your assistance.  Just reach out to Dr. Gudelunas.  You can read more about the conference here (notably the conference itself is just for faculty).

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Congratulations to Professor Michael Serazio on his new sports media research article publication!

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Michael Serazio who recently published another piece of research.  His article, titled, “The elementary forms of sports fandom: A Durheimian exploration of team myths, kinship, and totemic rituals” was published online on November 28th in the journal, International Association for Communication & Sport. 

Using the behaviors of Philadelphia Phillies baseball fans, Dr. Serazio spent his time analyzing any myths, kinships and rituals that emerged from these fan behaviors.  He chose to look at behaviors on display at public sporting events as well as through sports media during the time of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series victory.

This is not only a must read for sports fans, but for all Communication students due to the focus on behavior patterns, the media and interpersonal communication phenomena.  The link to this article is as follows:

http://com.sagepub.com/content/1/4/303.full.pdf+html

Enjoy! And congratulations again, Dr. Serazio.

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