News and notes from the Communication program @ Fairfield

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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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M.A. Students Take on the NCA Conference

MA Students present at the 2013 NCA Conference in Washington, D.C.

MA Students present at the 2013 NCA Conference in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to three M.A. students who have been chosen to present research papers at the 2013 National Communication Association (NCA) Conference in Washington D.C. next month.   Ryan Cassella will present his paper, “Living in TV’s digital age: Is the television producer the new starving artist?”  Ryan draws inspiration from his current position as a producer at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and commented that he was happy to focus on a topic that reflects both his career and his personal interests.  When asked about his thoughts on his research, he stated, “The digital era has brought some profound changes to the mass media industry and the individuals working within it are fully immersed in this ongoing revolution, whether they like it or not!”

Angela Rudas and Matthew Beasley will together present their research titled, ““The effects of diversity demographics on inclusiveness in the workplace.”  This was originally a project started in Dr. Zhang’s Communication Research Methods course that both students chose to continue to work on due to a shared interest in diversity and communication. Rudas said, “Diversity is rapidly growing and increasingly prevalent within the U.S. workforce. However, minimal research has empirically investigated the specific attributes and practices for diversity and inclusion within organizations.”  Beasley, who currently works in finance, stated, “It is evident that our world has been impacted by globalization. Due to globalization, our workplace has become more diverse, therefore employee diversity and inclusion has become critical to productivity and ultimately doing business.”

Dr. Michael Pagano, director of the M.A. in Communication program, said, “The faculty in the Department of Communication are extremely proud of our graduate students and recognize their very impressive research, critical thinking, and writing in our courses.  It is however, even more gratifying when we see our national association further attest to our students’ accomplishments.”  He added, “It is wonderful to see the fruits of our students’ hard work rewarded academically and scholarly, but also rewarded professionally as many of our students have earned promotions and new leadership roles based on their successful completion of our program.”

Congratulations again on these wonderful accomplishments, Matthew, Angela, and Ryan, and good luck in Washington!

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