In Episode 39 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with a faculty panel from the Communication Studies department. What is the Communication Studies major? What concentrations are offered? What career opportunities are there? What resources are there for students in Comm Studies? Find out in this episode!
Thank you to the Communication Studies faculty for this interview:
For more information, check out the Communication Studies website or contact their department at (909) 537-5815.
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All right, welcome back to another episode of the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin, an academic advisor here at Cal State San Bernardino. And on today's episode, we're in for a treat, as we have a whole panel of dedicated faculty with much to share about the communication studies major, its major with a few different concentrations. And we have many students who are interested in learning more about this major. So with us today, let's welcome Professor Thomas Corrigan, also Professor Brian Heisterkamp, Professor Theo Mazumdar. Professor Rod Metts, and Professor Matthew Poole. Thank you all for joining. So the first question is you want to start with is to tell us a little bit about yourselves so that we students get to know that you are also human beings too, and you have backgrounds and how you got to Cal State. So who wants to start...
I guess alphabetically by last name, I'm first I'll jump in. So my name is is Thomas Corrigan, or T.C. I'm an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies. And I also coordinate our Master of Arts in Communication Studies. My I teach courses in digital media and society is the course I teach most often. It's also a GE course. So students who are in our media studies concentration, take the course as a requirement, but it's also available across campus as well. So and I teach courses in also in media industries and context, sorry, media institutions and contexts and courses at the graduate level, such as qualitative research methods and political economy of communication. So my, my research is in that last area, political economy of communication, and another way of saying that is that I study wealth, power and the media. So for instance, you know, just hypothetically, if the richest person on earth bought one of the most influential social media platforms. That would be something I would be interested in...hypothetically, I'm kidding, right. But Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter and folks who pay attention to political economy. So wealth and power, that would be certainly, I think, to pay attention to so it's great to have to be here, Matt, and looking forward to talking about our our major.
Yeah, absolutely. Welcome. And so let's see Professor Heisterkamp.
It's so, Professor Brian Heisterkamp. I've been at Cal State San Bernardino since 2001. And I teach primarily in the relational and organizational concentration. So courses like conflict management, family communication, interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, that sort of thing. And do research, sort of in similar areas, looking at sort of everyday discourse. So how I look at recordings of families having dinner together, parents paying, playing with their kids, just to see how do we construct our relationships, our families, gender, different forms of parts of our identity through our discourse, sort of, for me, it's the basic level of communication that we can understand how we've developed relationships. And so it's important to me, I've got spouse and two kids, teenagers, so they keep me busy and active all the time. Thank you.
Hi, I'm glad to be with you all. My name is Theo Mazumdar. I'm an assistant professor of communication in the Department of Communication Studies. I am in my third year in the department. So far, so good. I teach primarily in the Strategic Communication concentration. I regularly teach two of the core courses in the Strategic Communication concentration that is introduction to strategic communication and crisis comm, which has a lot of fun, particularly with how fast information moves these days. I also regularly teach one of our departmental core courses, media, culture and society. And I sometimes teach the elective persuasion. And this semester, I'm teaching a really fun master's level course called Special Topics and public relations, strategic political and public sector communication. My research area and expertise is in political strategic communication. I'm really interested in two main trajectories in terms of my research one is the manner in which digital cultures and digital norms are shaping, even disrupting strategic communication. And the other is using qualitative techniques or thinking through things like narrative analysis to unpack and better understand political campaign strategy. So I'll give you an example of some of the research I'm working on now. A study I'm just completing now, and will be presenting soon at conference is looked at 10,000 tweets of politicians, candidates for office in the 2020 election who were using conspiracy theories as part of their campaign strategy. And so myself with two research assistants graduate students from CSUSB, We waded through 10,000 tweets. And the goal was to formulate a typology of how politicians what function politicians were, were hoping to gain to us by invoking conspiracy theories. And I understand that as part and parcel of this digital environment, we're in this post, post truth era, especially in terms of digital media, and digital culture. But I'm glad to be joining the pod today. And I'm looking forward to talk more about the strategic communication concentration.
Yes, welcome. Let's see Professor Metts.
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm glad to be here as well. Thank you for having us. My name is Rod Metts. I'm an associate professor in department in our Department of Communication Studies. I've been here I think over 20 years, I can't remember when I came in Brian's good about that. I'm not very good about that. But I've been in department over 20 years, I teach courses in television and video production. I also a critical theorist. So I teach courses in media, culture, society, visual communication, and film history, probably a glimpse into what I do. Most recently, I was I actually won an award for a paper I wrote about squid game. So I think about media a lot in that way. And I recently, fairly recently published a piece on producing media nonproduction classrooms, so I'm always thinking about media, and new media. And, you know, the, the bigger picture in and what I was talking about earlier, that the throes of this communication revolution that we're in. It's, it's, it's sometimes difficult to see, and you know, that old saying about, you know, we don't know who discovered water, but for sure, one of the fish, I mean, we kind of feel like that, right now, we're in the throes of a major communication revolution, and an epistemological revolution driven by communication technologies. Um, and that has profound effects on on, on society, on culture, and all the things that we do. And one of the things I've wanted wanted to highlight is that, you know, on the one hand, you know, we're in a place where we have freedom are the kinds of freedoms and media platforms that only immediate producers would only a dream of. But now, we have this almost democratizing. We used to talk about the democratizing potential of new technologies. And now we're in the throes of that everybody can be everybody's a photographer, everybody's a videographer, everybody's a filmmaker, everybody's a blogger, blogger, everybody's, you know, we can do podcasts, you know, we can all do that we have the freedom to do that. That that's a, that's an amazing thing. At the same time, we're caught up in, in the potential for free expression, and all those things that we love about creativity and all those things, but at the same time, is kind of a mixed bag, because the very corporations that allow us to do that also survey us and make money off of our free express our free expression. So, you know, I think many of us are thinking about those things. I'm someone who teaches traditional kind of television, video production, but also I'm thinking about the the ramifications of the the communication revolution that we're in, we're in the deep in the midst of and we hope that our democratic institutions will survive this. You know, there's some questions about that. So very concerned about those things. And that's why we're all I think many of us are excited to be in a major like this, that studying those things in almost in real time. It's amazing what is happening in terms of the history of media. All right. Glad to be here. Thanks.
100% agree. So last but not least, Professor Poole.
Yeah. Thanks, Matt. Yeah, glad to be here. I am Professor Matthew Poole. I am currently the Interim Chair of Communication Studies. So I will be helping out for a couple of years. And I was the chair of the Department of Art and Design for six years prior to this. And in my professional work, I, I say I'm an art theorist I write about art. I'm not exactly an art historian, but it's kind of similar. And there's a few kind of crossovers with with with what some of my colleagues here do. What I research and write about is primarily the relationship between between the production and reception of art, and, and society. So politics, and political economy are a big part of that, specifically, I'm interested in the relationship of how art institutions, so museums and galleries and other art organizations, in a capitalist system are well, operating differently over time. So I consider galleries and museums as a, as a technology as a, as a medium, if you'd like, for cultures to reflect back to themselves, what their values are, what they represent, you know, what their aspirations are, and so on, and so on, and how they identify themselves as, as cultures, as communities, and so on. And I'm particularly interested of late I mean, this might I do a lot of kind of looking back, you know, to early conceptions of museums and galleries, princely collections, you know, in the 14th 15th century, we'll get called Wunderkammer, the German word for cabinets of curiosity, from the 16th and 17th century, and so on. But more recently, you know, spanning that that history of several 100 years, more recently, I've been focusing on the effect of neoliberalism as a political economic system. On on these institutions, and on the way these technologies that societies have represented themselves, and how there have been various kind of inversions of, of principles that we still kind of take for granted, like the concept of the public and the private, those have been largely inverted. And so I'm really interested in how the, the illusion of the public function of museums and galleries has now really flipped into a kind of private domain, and what effect that has on society.
Thank you all, again, for being here. And I think one question we get a lot from students just hearing that there is a Communication Studies major is, well, what exactly is the Communication Studies major. And I think prior to recording, Professor Heisterkamp was mentioned, we'll maybe we'll also try to add in with that misconceptions that also people might have about communication studies. So does anyone want to start off with with that question?
I could start, I think, you know, the basis, what I tell my students is what we study in communication is meaning making. And I think that that's something that can apply across the concentrations, we just maybe study how that meaning is created in different contexts. So I'm in the relational organizational concentration. So I study it in terms of interpersonal romantic or family relationships, and others, you know, study it, you'll hear about different contexts as well. But I think there's sort of this misconception about communication that either we're all about journalism and media, or we're just about public speaking. And so I don't think people really fully understand the breadth of, you know, the sorts of things that we study in the discipline. And so that's why I think it's a great opportunity for us to talk about, you know, the different contexts in which each of us study communication. And then therefore, students can study communication in those different areas as well.
I'd like to chime in on the meaning making, because drawing on someone like Stuart Hall to say something like, it's always it's a struggle over struggle over meaning, and that all communication takes place within relations of power. And so I think many of us have that on the front burner as well, when we're thinking about communication studies. So I'll, I'll stop there and let somebody else take up that take up take that up. They want, Dr. Coorgian.
I think that it's both very communication studies can be very personally meaningful, but also very, you know, socially consequential, right? So, you know, Dr. Heisterkamp was talking about, you know, family communication, right, and, and how families understand each other and misunderstand each other. Right? These are sort of day to day, moments of communication that have real consequences in people's lives, right? When we're talking about folks that are studying media studies, like Dr. Metts and myself, right. Not only is it you know, personally meaningful in terms of, you know, shows and, you know, sports teams and movies that, you know, people connect to their identity in really profound ways, but also, you know, as the community Russian revolution that Dr. Metts talked about is unfolding. We're also talking about that media experience just being a constant one, right? In terms of people, you know, scrolling social media, not just consuming but creating media content on a, on a daily basis. It's just a, an intensely personal experience. And so, you know, it's one of those things where you step into a Communication Studies class and there, it's not hard to find yourself in the course and the material, right? You're we're talking about things that everybody is engaging with, and living through on an on a day to day basis. I would also add on a big picture, you know, scale, though, we're also talking about some extremely consequential stuff, right? If you look back over just the past, you know, couple, couple of weeks and months, we're talking about threats to democracy, right. And the way and ways in which misinformation are, you know, is related to things like the, you know, the January 6 insurrection, at the US Capitol, we're talking about how people understand and respond to climate change. Because communication is, you know, the, you know, whether it's strategic communication or mediated communication, we're talking about the ways in which people understand some of the most fundamental issues of our times, just the other night, I'm teaching a course on the local news ecosystem, we're looking at some some headlines of a shooting of a man by a, by a sheriff's deputy in Moreno Valley, your nearby Cal State campus, that and we're looking at the headline and the way in which the headline de emphasized the role of the sheriff in that, in that fatal killing. And so, you know, these are these are things that are, you know, just extraordinarily important issues in people's lives today, in a big picture sense, but also in that personal sense. And so that's, that's what I, you know, sort of think about in terms of, why are our major matters?
Can I Can I say something specific to our program? I think, because I think we're a little bit unique, in that. We're very large, but we're also very small, right? So if you were at another university, you might see interpersonal communication and rhetoric in a completely different college. And you might see radio on television, and in another program and film and another program in journalism and another program. So one of the unique things we do here is we, you know, we're the we're kind of a big umbrella because we do include television and video filmmaking, radio, journalism, multimedia journalism, we include all those things, but we also we also queue closely to the roots of the discipline of communication, as most of us understand that rhetoric and intercultural interpersonal communication, relational communication, public relations or strategic calm. So, so we're so the thing is, we're in that sense, we're large, although we're kind of small in the in the bigger world, but we're large. But and but at the same time, we're small in that if you if you come to our program, you want access to a television studio, you can walk right in and you can get a camera, you can go to Edit base, you can learn how to do that stuff, immediately. You don't have to wait till your senior chomping at the bit to get access to equipment, you get immediate access to equipment. So that's one of the great things about our program. We're very broad. And that's, you know, sometimes that's to our detriment, because people say, Well, what do you do? Well, we do everything, no, we do nothing. No, we do everything. We do everything. We do a lot of things. And we do a lot of things as well. But we also are small enough to allow students access immediately to all the toys that we have. There's no waiting around, you can come right in and go right, go right to it. And I think that's in journalism, or radio or television or any of the other activities we have on campus. So that's a big plus. For our program. I think a downside is that a lot of students don't even our campus don't realize all the things that we do. And so we're always trying to, you know, get get that word out all of these television on there. There's filmmaking over there. Yeah, there is. So I'm always surprised when I hear those stories from students like, Oh, I'm a theater major. But if I didn't know you had film over there, I would have been over there. So I mean, I actually hear those still today. So so so we're kind of we were a unique program. And we cover a lot of ground.
I think that could be a good segue into the next question, you know, because you're saying, Communication Studies encompasses so much in so many different areas. And within the major there's these various concentrations And that you offer. So I want to start off with Professor Mazumdar or if you want to give your thoughts connecting to this on your thoughts on communication studies, like how you would describe it, but then also to chat about the strategic communication concentration.
Thank you very much. Yes, in my opinion, all of our concentrations are overlap and unfortunately overlap. And so one of the things that I often hear from students is, well, I, I originally signed up for this concentration, but you know, I feel like my interests are totally over here now. Well, that student may productively transition to a different concentration, but it doesn't mean that classes taken in the first concentration are not of use, or are not very relevant, because what we're dealing with are really different facets of communication, that kind of inter woven together, that have great importance for society. Right. So an example of that is from a class I was just teaching recently, in strategic communication. I was talking about how we can think about critical theory, a critical perspective in strategic communication, thinking about marketing campaigns, right, we were looking at the promo video for the new Barbie movie, and thinking about gender normativity and racial normativity and hetero normativity. And in in our role as intellectuals, as well as preparing people for good careers, we have to think through the ramifications of of marketing campaigns that reinforce power structures and dominant ideologies. And so, I view our all of our concentrations very much as as interwoven and relevant to one another. In another example, interpersonal communication is increasingly mediated, and strategic communication entities like brands are intruding into places, spaces, that we would usually consider interpersonal, like messaging, chats, and so on, and so forth. And so I very much view all of our disciplines, all of our fields and concentrations as as as connected in communication. That's one thing that students don't often realize right off the bat, is that the thing that binds us most throughout our concentrations and fields is a focus on media. And so for example, in my research area in strategic political communication, unlike political science, we think about the media as independent actors. And we think about the influence of the medium, and strategic choices, given those media, and how those play out in, for example, campaigns. And so the common entity that really binds our thinking that brings us together throughout the very broad discipline of communication is really a focus on media, mass media, and newer digital media, and media that is on the horizon. Strategic Communication is at a fundamental level, goal oriented communication, it's communication that's done on purpose to try to help achieve a goal for an organization or for an individual or for an entity. And so that means that we somewhat uniquely have a dual mission and that is to both build students intellectual foundations, and to make sure that they are understanding the understanding the theoretical and conceptual richness of communication and of strategic communication scholarship, but also to equip students for careers in things like public relations and marketing, in advertising and brand positioning and social media strategy. And so, in strategic communication, we are at the intersection of practice thinking about how campaigns what they really look like and how they're built and theory and concept. And so that is I think, what what most separates our concentration of strategic communication we we are we are we often our classes are filled with real life examples. I was just talking about the coming up Super Bowl halftime show with Rihanna, but also trying to contextualize those marketing efforts, those advertising those PR efforts, with a theory and, and rich concept. I'll talk a little bit more about the details of the concentration in a little bit.
All right, thank you for sharing that. Maybe we jumped to the relation on organizational communication concentration, so turn over to Professor Heisterkamp.
Sure. Thank you. I'll just tell a quick story of how I came to the communication discipline. So in my undergraduate career career, I start If majoring in business, and business management, and I found that I wasn't good at math, I hated math and accounting. And so I discovered communication, where there's some math involved if you're into quantitative research methods, but you know, for those students who are in the College of Business, and you're not doing so well, in your math classes, or you're thinking about, you know, maybe you have the perception that, you know, a degree from the College of Business will help you like in terms of a career that you might want to go into, such as management, or consulting, or something of that sort, come over to communication, because we've got courses that are designed to help you be successful. In the business world, as well. So, you know, we have, you know, we teach our students about, you know, not only the intrapersonal family context, you know, what sort of communication, you know, is affected in the family environment in romantic relationships. You know, one of the things I study and talked about in my classes is work life tension, and how do you balance the tensions between your work life and home life and school and whatever the different tensions that you might have? In the organizational setting? What are some effective leadership styles conflict management approaches? What are some effective ways to supervise employees? So we really, you know, prepare students for a variety of careers in the profit or nonprofit sectors, whether that's, you know, in management, sales and marketing, development areas. So those are the sorts of courses that you know, careers that we helped prepare students for in the relational and organizational concentration.
Thanks for sharing. And then we want to jump to for media studies. So with Professor Corrigan and Professor Metts.
I'll go ahead, Dr. Metts and throw it to you. So the media studies and I thought it might help. Brian, you just gave a little bit of Dr. Heisterkamp can give a gave a little bit of an explanation of you know, how you got into your area that might help also for understanding media studies to for me, so when I was a, I was a graduate student at Florida State University. It was shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and when that unfolded, one of the big revelations in the in the following couple of years was that the news media really got the story wrong, right, that there were not weapons of mass destruction, that there was not a connection between Saddam Hussein and 911. And basically, the the foundational premises for one of the most consequential things that a country can do, which is to go to war, just the the argument didn't hold water. And additionally, the news media didn't hold people in power accountable for getting their facts straight. Right. And so, for me, it was just a really foundational moment for, you know, focusing my interest in communication studies and a critical take on on Communication and Media Studies. And so, you know, I think when, when we think about what media studies is, that's a somewhat help helpful, you know, entry point, because Media Studies is concerned with the media, right. And oftentimes, we hear this term, the media, and we use it interchangeably with something like the press, right? And, or it might, you know, refer to television and radio and film and newspapers and those sorts of things. And absolutely, that, you know, those institutions are foundational to what we pay attention to in Media Studies, and how we understand the construction of meaning socially, right among cultures and societies through these technologies. Dr. Metts was talking earlier, though, earlier, though, about how there is this communication revolution unfolding, this this technological revolution, that has, you know, we haven't abandoned focus and attention on news and entertainment, by any means, right? But there's also this development of what some folks refer to as participatory culture, right, the crew creation and consumption of, of podcasts, right? Like we're on have of, of tweets, right of blog posts of Facebook status updates, and, you know, thumbs up replies to them, right. And, you know, sometimes it can be sort of, you know, slept off as is as frivolous sort of things that people do with their free time. But but it is an extraordinary amount of time and a stroke, extraordinary amount of attention. Right. And it is one of the most, it's becoming one of the most important ways in which we understand ourselves and the world around us. Right. And so in media studies, we're interested in how people in organizations, some of which are referred to as the media, right, but not exclusively, use these communication technologies, right, to share information and ideas with each other, and in doing so construct their understandings of themselves and the world around. And so it's a rapidly, you know, transforming area, though, and I think, you know, if there's, there's something that might be a challenge for some of the faculty members teaching in areas like this, it's that your course almost transformed on a on a term by term basis. So I am teaching a digital media and society course this term, which was one of our core courses in the media studies concentration. And just a few weeks ago, this company called Open AI, which is funded, not exclusively, but heavily by Microsoft released this new technology called the chat GPT. And it's a it's a chatbot, where you can ask questions and receive very human like, answers. And I say human like, because it is convincing, but not necessarily accurate, in somebody's sometimes quite biased and even toxic, but it's certainly an incredible new technology for communication. And it's, it's, you know, technologies like it and others are going to have really profound implications for how we communicate and use media to communicate. And so, you know, the that example, I think gets at just how quickly things are transforming, and it makes our classes just really fun and exciting and interesting. And so that's, that's sort of my my take on, on media studies. The one thing to note though, is that mediate media studies, we don't just study media, but we also make it and there are several tracks of courses in media production, that play a really important role. And Dr. Metts can speak to this better, but my sense is that you can't really understand how media work unless you make it. And so that's, that's why having production components built into our media studies, concentration is really important to us.
Wow, that's such a beautiful way to segue into my portion. But and actually, that's absolutely true. Because doing medium, actually demystifies the medium. And so you understand, you begin to learn and you acquire an aesthetic language, and a critical language, critical media literacy is language. Because you quickly understand that the form to is a kind of content. That's communicating something, the lens focal length, choice, the composition, the color palette choices, the sound design, the editing, the pacing, the rhythm, all those things, communicate something to it's not just the content. And so one of the big things we do one of the great, almost default, things that happens when you're teaching production is that you demystify the medium. You You allow students to become experts in manipulating those, all of those parts of the form that also communicate things right. It is a manipulation is all a manipulation when it comes to film and television, but the in that manipulation is ideological, in part because it's so invisible. You're not aware that the color palettes are affecting how you're responding to something you're unaware of that the lens lens choices of this director or cinematographer is shaping how you are responding to that image. And so that is a key key moment. For, for anybody learning, learning to demystify the media practice. So absolutely. So it's like a critic, it becomes automatically an aesthetic, you learn to articulate that aesthetic language and you learn to also become a kind of critical viewer and maker of meanings and media. I wanted to I wanted to hang around a little bit in the I don't want to take too long, but I want to hang around a little bit in the media studies part too, because there's a famous line I'm surprised we've gotten this far without saying it. Marshall McLuhan is famously said, or in this infamously said, you know, the medium is the message. And, and so that's one of those things, we, you know, we all are all driving home. And I see, I see also a critical thread running through all of these concentrations, you hear you hear this critical thread running through all the things we're talking about? Well, if we just say the medium is the message, and we say television as a medium, what's the medium? What's the message of television? Well, the message of television, there's a lot of things right now, fewer people are going to the movie theater, fewer people are now going to the theater theater. Fewer people are going to their Wednesday night church, things are staying there staying home and watching television. So they're isolated, blah, blah, blah, if we say the medium is the message, and what's the social media message, well, it's distraction is surveillance, it's exploitation is depression, of teens, who are depressed because of their, you know, they can't get enough hits on their social media, whatever. So that's the message forget content, the message is the very what the medium is doing to you and doing to us. And those are precisely the kinds of things that we that we that we talk about. Now, if I can quickly go into just, you know, just quickly into television production, you know, like, like Dr. Mazumdar, or, you know, you know, also students are trained with specific skills in production, so they could get a job in television, they could get a job and film, they could get a job in radio, and they can, you know, so they have the skills. Absolutely. But I think one of the most important things about that is that we're always have an eye towards the critical, the critical side, as well, even when we're producing things, and we're also very much aware of the medium as the message and, and then we'll get to what the content means a little bit later. But, um, so anyway, so I teach traditional television production classes, and video production classes. So I teach students, multi camera control room directing live television, how to how to be a control room director for live television, that includes switching audio, camera operator, floor manager, assistant director, graphics people, so students learn all of those positions. And then when we go to electronic field production, or teach students how to how to shoot single camera film style, for post production, and for editing and post production, so we teach, how to shoot for continuity editing, and how to shoot for complex the editing and montage editing and all those different kinds of montages. So, so we have a very traditional way. So in essence, we're very traditional. At the same time, they always have that critical, aesthetic language that goes along. Along with that. So I'll stop there, maybe come back later.
I was just gonna ask Matt, if it's right, just, we also have, you know, production oriented classes in journalism and multimedia journalism two, which are really great. So there's news writing and reporting. There's multimedia production, social media, content production, and so on, and so on. And that's a really fantastic growing area as well.
And, you know, the students get jobs in traditional TV, TV Land, or traditional film land, but guess what, oh, can you be the social media person for you know, oh, you're doing social media and TV? Oh, okay. I can do that. So it's just, you know, as we've said earlier, it's a continually evolving thing. But our students keep pace, keep pace with it. And the other thing, the other thing I want to talk about is, you know, I said earlier, everybody's a photographer, everyone has a big heart for everybody's a filmmaker. But But what we do is like, we provide you with the, the, the, the wider context, the critical skills and the aesthetic, the aesthetic language in order to articulate what it is you're doing when you're doing those things, even though a lot of that you're just doing intuitively Well, hey, that's rule of thirds stuff. That's, that's the golden section. You know, let's go back and talk about, you know, some of this stuff coming out of the Renaissance and one point linear perspective. So, so, if you don't know that, if you know that why you're doing what you're doing. That's great. You are an informed. You are an informed educated maker of media. If you don't know that you're just do it yourself stuff. And that's fun, and we liked that we liked Freedom and all that stuff. But I think what one of the things we do is just provide a language with which to articulate what it is you're doing, I can tell you what I'm doing my color palettes, I can tell you what I'm doing with this lens choice. Those those things,
like many of you have already said, you know, the communication studies very broad. They're learning a lot of different skills, but then also a lot of it overlaps as well. And one of the questions we get from a lot of students is, well, you know, what areas can I go on with with this particular major within this particular concentration? Many of you have kind of alluded to in some of your answers. So if you want to expand upon that, or what areas you've seen some of your students or students graduated in, where they've gone on to anything you want to add to that?
yes, please, I'd like to talk a little bit more about strategic communication. So I just want to give students or potential students an understanding of what the courses would look like, in the concentration. And so we have five core courses within the Strategic Communication concentration. And these are both broadly situated to think about different fields within Strat Comm, whether that be public relations, marketing, advertising, social media strategy, but also geared more towards public relations than some of the other fields due to our departmental history and some of the expertise of our faculty. And so our core courses are, excuse me, Introduction to strategic communication, news, writing and reporting, writing for public relations, strategic communication campaigns, and crisis communication. And one of the really cool things that students can do, as part of our departmental requirement for six units of experiential learning is that they get course credit for and also work in Coyote PR, which is our student run public relations agency. And Coyote PR works with real organizations to help them develop campaigns to develop reputations, their reputation, to enhance their reputation, and also to build mutually beneficial relationships with various entities. And so excuse me that ability to gain course credit and also work at a real PR agency is a real benefit to many of our students. I also want to mention that we have a campus chapter of the PRSSA here at CSUSB, which is the Public Relations Student Society, a student association, excuse me, and that is our campus affiliation of the PRSSA SSA, whose faculty, excuse me advisor is Dr. Jetson Aaron. And that club meets once weekly, and works on real world issues and does things like goes to nationwide and even international conferences, to share their work and their findings. And so as you can see, we have a very practically oriented and yet conceptually theoretically interesting concentration. I'll just give one more example of that. And it is from my own introduction to strategic communication course. And in that course, the final assignment that I give is that students can select an organization of their choice, whether that is in hotel and Hospitality Management, whether that is in a movie studio or entertainment type of company, whether that is a governmental organization or a Fashion Organization, and create a proposal for a strategic communication campaign that they create. And so we do a lot of applying strategies, concepts, theories to real world practical workplace pursuits and problems like creating communication campaigns. And so our graduates, our students go on to do a range of things. Some go on to work in social media strategy for private sector companies. Some go to work in entertainment organizations in the LA area. A really interesting position that a student of ours got recently was to be a public affairs officer for the San Bernardino Police Department, which of course also has a great importance placed on public relations and strategic communication. More of our connections work for NASA, as press officers and public affairs officers communicating about the importance of NASA's work. So a whole range of entities organizations, even individual brands, like celebrities, whether they are in the private sector or the public sector are types of careers and jobs, which we equip our students for.
So I'm also the internship coordinator for the double apartment and internships is another opportunity that students can earn units for towards that six units of experiential learning requirement. And so just to give you an idea of some of the things that students have done, I've had a student work at his church to help develop the youth program and other students connected with a family owned upholstery business. And the owner wanted to develop his social media presence. So that student helped that owner, you know, get on Yelp, to help him with his business, or another student who's working with a nonprofit who is helping unaccompanied minors who are coming across the border. And so she's helping that organization in their placement of of youth who are coming across the border without family members, or parents, and other students working with a company in their sales and marketing teams. So it just gives you an idea of the depth and breadth of the types of careers that students can go into in any of the concentrations. You know, whether it's relational organization or media studies,
May I since we're on this track, May I follow up with that a little bit. I do want to mention that. There's a system wide CSU media arts festival that is held every year by the CSU, the powers that be in the CSU. And every year, we encourage our students to submit their their projects to to the CSU of meat Arts Festival, it's a great experience just to get have the ability to the experience of submitting your work to a festival like that. So that's a that in and of itself is a value. But I in 2019, we had three students who won an award. And in 2020, we had three, three additional students who won an award and it's highly competitive, because we're competing with all these big time, you know, film and TV programs in the CSU system. And there are some they're much bigger programs than ours were competing against. So it's always a great thing when our students are involved in that. So I do want to mention that. Along those lines, some students go to graduate programs. I'm sure some of the other faculty would talk about this as well, both as scholars, but sometimes we send students to MFA programs and filmmaking. Several students have done that. One of my one of my our graduates who went to get an MFA from Chapman and producing, actually was a associate producer and field producer for the new Showtime documentary, boys in blue. I had a student who was a post production supervisor for the TV, CBS TV series mom, one of our former students, was for a long time, the producer of Jay Leno's Garage. So, so we so there are a lot of places where students go for terminal degrees in in film production or television production, or and or graduate school for MA's are PhDs and in communication studies. So Oh, and we have students I mean, I have students like they're not even into rate car racing, but they hired by Lucas Oil, and they do they do camera work and stuff for for race car stuff. And they travel across the country. They do live television, for race, race cars, I have students who go over and we do the internal video production work in the Dodger Stadium. And you know, so there's just a range of things that students can do once they learn some of those those skills.
Hey Rod, thanks for mentioning the Lucas Oil Pipeline, I always forget about that one. But it's, it's no, it's, it has been a really interesting and valuable route for students. And so some things that I'm thinking about so you know, in, in media studies, and media production, obviously, we've got students who are going into the, the professions that you might expect, right journalism, film, broadcasting, and, you know, the proximity to, to to the Los Angeles media market, and not by any means not to poopoo the the Inland Empire media market itself. We've got student, former student of mine who's an on air personality at K-Frog radio, just, you know, there there are, you know, students who are doing awesome, you know, high profile, but and also behind the scenes stuff in media all over the area that are that we're certainly very proud of. One thing I think is interesting, though, when it comes to because I know that you know, when students talk to their parents, right, parents are oftentimes they want to know, what's the specific job that you get with this specific thing. All right. And one thing that I always like to highlight is that when employers are serving across all industries, okay? It we're not just talking about, you know, public relations and, or HR or, you know, work on media journalism, etc. We're talking stuff as you know, technical, sometimes it's petroleum engineering, right? When they, when, when, when employers are surveyed about what they're looking for, in prospective job candidates across the economy. Number one, and number two answers consistently, our communication and critical thinking, right. And those are the things we do here. Right? You know, that, that that's at the heart of every course that you take. And so, I know that sometimes that can be hard to get to say, look, I promise, the things you're learning here are going to be valuable, which, wherever, wherever you going, whatever you do, but it's absolutely true, right, I had a student who reached out to me the other day, and he's he's working in a law firm, and was talking was talking to me off about some of the things that he was doing in one of our research methods, classes, that was communication focused, and he said, I'm so glad I had that from, you know, for, for what I was doing in law, but you know, other areas, politics, technical fields, and the like. And so, I wouldn't, you know, don't, if you're interested in communication, it can be a major that's for you, even if you're not necessarily interested in going into media, or public relations, or HR, or training and development, or whatever it happens to be right. If it's, if it's just a topic that you're fascinated about, you're still going to get useful skills for the fields that you want to go into. I want to before I go on to other topics, I just want to briefly underscore Dr. Meadows mentioned, students going on from undergraduate degrees to graduate programs. And there are, there are great graduate programs in communication studies across the country, we have an MA in communication studies here in, in our departments that, that I'm, I'm the coordinator for and the that is a route that students who once they get done with their, their BA, you know, they, they, they they have more that they want to explore, they want to explore it at at a at the next level of depth and understanding. And that's the sort of thing you can do at a in a master's degree. And those students then go on to careers, you sort of three main trajectories, at least out of our program, some students go into public or private sector communications and same at the undergraduate level, right. But we have MA students who go on to public and private sector communication at Microsoft, Pepsi, I was talking to a recent graduate who is in media relations for Inland Empire Health Plan. And she was doing that during the pandemic, right. And you can imagine what an interesting job, you know that that would be when you're managing a health plans public communication amid a global pandemic. You got other MA students who go on to, to teach at the community college level. So teaching obviously, is is communication centric, right? And so they're teaching courses in public speaking, teaching courses in news writing, teaching courses and intercultural communication. And then we've also got some students who they started in our BA program, they do our MA program, and then they go to top doctoral programs if they want to keep studying on just over the past three years, we have had MA students who have gotten funded positions, and funded doctoral positions at University of Oregon, University of New Mexico, University of California, Irvine, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana, I'm going to leave somebody out, sorry, University of Colorado Boulder, you know, there if you want to, you know, if if a life of you know, academic research and practice is something that you're interested in, you know, you can, from our BA program, go on to get an MA and add on to doctoral studies. So that's, that's undoubtedly a route.
I was just going to add a couple of things. Yeah, I totally agree with Dr. Corrigan. And that's a great explanation that he gave of all these different opportunities. But you know, that the affinities between communication studies, you know, the kind of similarities and overlaps with other majors or other areas of study on campus is really wide. You know, the The affinities with some of the majors in the business school in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, you know, are rarely rarely obvious and clear. And even, you know, over to the art department where I work more, mostly, you know, there's such a lot of overlap that if there are any students who are undeclared, you know, they could come and talk to, you know, if they're interested in art, or if they're interested in marketing or public administration, you know, come and talk to us about maybe doing a minor, maybe doing a double major, because the, what's taught in Communication Studies is, it is specific, but it has these capacities to inform and develop and improve student's chances in drug markets, and further study, and so on, and so on. Really broadly,
I feel like I would be remiss in my duties, if I did not mention, we do have one of our graduate, one of our graduates who won a David Lynch contest award, and got a scholarship to continue as MA degree at David Lynch's school filmmaking program. But I bring this up because this student won a student Academy Award. And that is a profound thing to win. And I actually had the experience of going to the event with him when he got when he received the award. And there were over 17,000 submissions that year, internationally. And of those 17,017 people were selected as finalists, and he was one of the finalists. It was an amazing accomplishment. And he's one of our former students. And he also teaches part time for us. So that's, that's good news. The other thing I want to say about that is like, when I went to the ceremony, I didn't realize it, that they had been the winners, the 17 winners of the 17,000 submissions had all been together in Hollywood, because they came from all over the world, for the present for the event. So they all got to do Hollywood stuff. And they all got to do all this stuff. So it was just an amazing event. So it's pretty rare. I think that any program has a student Academy Award winner who is a graduate of that program. So I have to say that out loud.
I'm glad that you did mention that. And if like let's say students listen to this, and they're like, this all sounds fascinating. But now I really don't know which area I want to go into, because I want to do all of it. Is there an intro course a student could do that you would suggest like the common 2101? And if so, what would a student be learning in that class?
Thanks for the question that so comm 2101 Intro to communication studies, it's a course where you've got a chance to explore the different concentrations that we offer in the in the department, strategic communication, media studies, relation and organizational communication. And also think about the important theories that we use across communication studies to make sense of the meaning making processes in each of those distinct areas, right? In the course, students also learn about the different career pathways into the that they can enter into after they get done with their BA, you've got a really good chance after taking that course to to understand where you might have within the major between these three different concentrations. Or if you might take a mix of coursework between between two or three of them.
And yeah, I think that's actually an excellent answer. So anything you want to highlight regarding your department in terms of resources, like clubs, or if they had questions, what's the best way to get in touch with the comp department,
students can go to the combat sites, www.csusb.edu/communication studies or just Google CSUSB Communication Studies. And there's a page dedicated to all the clubs. There's the PRSSA their public relations students site over America. There's local matters, television station Broadcasting Club, there's the forensic team, which is the debating team, although during COVID that that necessarily had to go a bit quiet, but we're hoping to revive that soon. There's coyote radio, we have many students know about, you know, it's the campus radio station, and there's a Visual Media Club and also Dr. Mazumdar mentioned Coyote PR.
Can I like to follow up because there, I think that was the initial spirit of what we used to call practicum credit. I think we now call experiential learning, but there's like 336 units, two units each of practicum credit. And so you can go and see if you like radio, and you can go and see if you'd like television Local matters where you can go and see if you'd like print journalism or multimedia journalism in, in, you know, working for the campus newspaper or PR or any of those other areas. So you get a chance to, you know, ideally you would take, you know, spread those out. And then some people, we allow students to repeat. So if you'd like to radio station, oh, I want to do radio again, you could do it for another four, total four units or something like that. But, but that's, that's another way to explore your interests. Right. And I think that's the spirit of the practicum or experiential learning thing is like, Okay, let me try PR. Let me try television. Let me try radio. Let me try print journalism, that I think that's what we want students to, to experience or the part of the reason we have that laid out in that way. So that there's another answer to that to that interesting.
And I think that's, that's it. So thank you so much, everyone for being on and joining us for this podcast episode. A lot of great information. It's a lot to share with students. But thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules for this. Thank you so much.
Such a pleasure. Thanks, man. Thanks a million.
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