Monday, April 9, 2012

Artifact 2 - Communication Day Address

Trey Styons
Com 340
December 4, 2011
Communication Day Address
            Good evening students, alumni, faculty, and invited guests!  Welcome to this wonderful occasion that is Communication Studies day.  Today is a special event that celebrates the work that all of us in the Communication Studies department have accomplished over the past year.  We are also here to enlighten others around us who share our interest and passion in the higher learning of communication study.  We can all thank the alumni chapter for hosting this event, so how about a round of applause for the alumni chapter here at UNCW.  I am Doctor Richard K. Olsen; I am a professor and department chair of the communication studies department here at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  I am very much appreciative to have the opportunity and privilege of addressing you today.  I have been working at UNCW since 1997, when I came in as an eager professor ready to change lives.  Since then I have taught nineteen different communication classes and helped publish over fifteen publications on the subject of communication.  I consider myself lucky to have had the resources and the help of everyone here at the University, specifically the Communication Studies department.  I cannot thank you enough. 
            The Communication Studies department’s mission statement says, “Above all, our primary purpose is to provide our majors with a degree in which the philosophy, practice, criticism, and study of communication are emphasized and balanced. Specifically, we seek to integrate application with theory.”  This mission statement is the foundation for how we shape our department, and the education we provide to you as students.  The communication studies department appreciates the fact that it is an essential part of the liberal arts curriculum. Housed primarily in the social sciences; the department also recognizes, embraces, and represents the humanities and liberal arts roots and foundations of its discipline.  
            Liberal arts are defined as the academic course of instruction at a college, intended to provide general knowledge and comprising the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, as opposed to professional or technical subjects.  Communication is a very broad discipline in itself and can be seen as a very hard major to comprehend.  A lot of you students are asked the question by your peers, “What subject are you majoring in?”  We simply respond by saying, “I am a communication studies major.”  Now this usually triggers one or two questions, “So what exactly is that?” or my favorite, “So what job can you exactly get with that?”  The answer to this question can be very different for certain people, and that is what makes this department special. 
            Students in our department have become successful in many different occupations.  We have provided newscasters, public relations people, story tellers, advertisers, and several successful entrepreneurs and business professionals.  Our major provides several general knowledge courses providing education of the arts, social sciences, and rhetoric of communication.  We as a department promote the teaching of the liberal arts in a broad spectrum while also giving students the opportunity to take specific courses geared towards their focus.  There are many specialty and sub-specialty areas of communication studies represented in our curriculum.  Primary areas of our study include: Advertising, Digital Media and Video Production, Interracial/Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communications, Media Studies, Organizational and Group Communication, Performance Studies, Public Relations, Public Speaking, Rhetoric and Communication Theory. All these selected areas of focus give our majors the education they need to become successful business men and woman.  A recent graduate, Lindsay Styons, of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in Communication Studies, is now a successful insurance agent in Winterville, North Carolina.  She had the pleasure of giving the commencement speech at the Communication Studies graduation ceremony.  Lindsay graduated magna cum-laude and was on full scholarship as a softball player at the university as well.  I asked her to briefly describe her experience as a communication major here at the University, and how it directly applies to her in the work field.  “My job as an insurance agent consists of a constant need to communicate with people and to know how to communicate with different people all the time.  Every career choice that works with the public requires strong communication skills.  The ability to effectively communicate with others is a requirement.  For obvious reasons, both oral and written skills are necessary to be considered a successful insurance agent.  Time is becoming a more valuable commodity all of the time, and well-crafted effective communication is a way of saving time.  On the other hand, agents who are rushed and appear overly busy and detached appeared offensive to clients who expect their agent’s undivided attention and consideration.  Top agents have developed the skill of conveying total attention and focus on the individual, without being overbearing, appearing caring or viewed as oblivious to any time constraint.  Also, poor or miscommunication leads to misunderstanding, confusion, wasted energy or costly legal issues when it comes to insurance.
        Excellent communication skills are also related to my office manager job as well.  I have to be able to get along with the people that work under me.  UNCW has given me the ability to communicate effectively and given me the ability to address sensitive issues in delicate situations without damaging individual egos, or appearing to challenge others in an offensive manner.  Individuals who have strong communication skills are in demand everywhere, not just in insurance.”  We thank Lindsay for her kind words and hope that all of you can heed to her advice since she has experienced it firsthand. 
            The Communication Studies department is also a very fun and rewarding major.  We are very involved in campus life and give more than enough opportunities for students to network socially and engage in events.  There are different clubs that are available to certain students within the major which include the following: the Communication Studies Society, Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, Storytelling in the Community, UNCW Advertising Chapter, and UNCW Student Media club.  Each of these clubs is prestigious in their own ways.  The Communication Studies Society hosts a handful of events including Rock for the Cure, which is a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The event includes a breast cancer benefit concert. In addition to live music at a local venue, there is a silent auction and raffle in which all the proceeds go to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Pink Ribbon Project.  They also host Make the Most of Your Major, and the Dress for Success Fashion Show, which will be taking place today. 
            This fashion show consists of modeling the appropriate business attire for ladies and gentleman alike.  At the end of this catwalk, there will be a reception and social gathering for everyone.  These are all major events that are free for everyone in the department and a fun time for all to enjoy.  For Storytelling in the Community club, students go out into the community and perform stories to kids in elementary and middle schools around Wilmington.  This is a very rewarding experience that benefits you, as well as these kids whose imagination you capture.  Project Protégé is a mentor program coordinated by the UNCW Communication Studies Society to help students learn more about careers in communication-related fields. Through the program, students get the opportunity to meet and network with local professionals in the fields of public relations, marketing, sales, broadcast and print journalism, and human relations. Any student interested in a career in communication is welcome to apply.
  There is also a department showcase for the Communication Studies department.  This is one good reason to be a Communication Studies major, because you will become a part of a proud and involved department which honors those who do well. We like to give credit where credit is due, and this allows us to acknowledge those that have excelled in Communication Studies.  At this showcase, the department gives out awards such as Academic Achievement Award, Departmental Service Award, Distinguished Alumnus, Outstanding Leadership Award, Perseverance Award, Undergraduate Research Award, and Video Student of the Year.  They also recognize the winners of the five scholarships that the major offers to students including: The Dr. Betty Jo Welch Communication Studies Alumni Scholarship, The Justin Thompson Communication Studies Scholarship for Enacting Social Change, The Brian Pearson King Scholarship, The George Diab Scholarship in Communication Studies, and The Craven Scholarship in Communication Studies.  Each scholarship is made up of different requirements; therefore, giving every student an opportunity to be eligible. 
The Communication Studies program also offers the chance for students to do an internship while earning course hours towards graduation.  Through enrollment in COM 498 Internship in Communication Studies, Communication Studies majors may earn a total of twelve semester credit hours.  This program gives our students an opportunity to give credible work experience.  This is reflected on their resumes, while also allowing them to gain hours towards their graduation.  It is a viable resource and can allow the student to test the waters of what they could potentially do in their career.  Like most majors here on campus, Communication Studies is also not exempt from offering study abroad opportunities for their students.  We offer over three hundred study abroad and exchange options in over fifty countries around the world.  You are encouraged to take advantage of this incredible opportunity and search out the possibilities.  This directly applies to the liberal arts we promote and becoming more knowledgeable through worldly experiences. April Patterson, who study abroad in Florence, Italy, had this to say, “There will most likely never be another time in your life where you can pack up and go see the world while learning so much as the same time. Not to mention you are receiving college credits too. It is a wonderful opportunity that everyone should take advantage of”.
All these different clubs, projects, and events are to help you.  We want to benefit you, the student, in any way possible.  This department never wavers in its commitment to you as a student, and most importantly, a person.  We want to help you shape yourself into the person you strive to be each day in and day out.  Continuing to grow more and more each day in your goal of being a successful and well-rounded individual is the Communication Studies department’s main focus.  The professors that teach in this department are all very qualified academically, but these are not their limitations.  Being an expert in the communication field gives them the benefit of being able to communicate appropriately with their students.  This helps them connect more to their students on an academic and personal level.  They are equipped with the tools to help you, and solve any problems that may arise in your classes, whether this is about a classroom issue or a problem that you are having in your personal life.  We are here for YOU. 
You will form lasting relationships with professors while here in the Communication Studies department.  There are numerous alumni who continually come back to UNCW and tell us about their success.  They become Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and even pen pals for the more aged crowd that is left behind in the 21st century that we live in.  I still remain in contact with an abundant past students of mine who keep me weekly updated and check in from time to time.  I have received Christmas cards, birthday wishes, and even a wedding invitation.  I personally love sports, particularly basketball.  I can be spotted most days during my lunch break at the recreation center here on campus.  I, along with fellow students of mine, play pick-up games where we form our relationship on a more personal level.  Many of the professors here are the same way, and we even promote the use of forming relationships with our students.  It strengthens the bond and commitment to this department.  They always know there is a home back at UNCW, specifically the Communication Studies Department.
I hope that today, whether this is the start of your journey into communication study or you’re an experienced veteran, we all can share in its excitement.  There are going to be so many opportunities that you won’t even know what to do with yourself.  I am truly pleased that I could provide everyone here with more knowledge about what exactly the Communication Studies department is all about.  That you are able to see how this department represents a CRUCIAL and important role in the liberal arts curriculum.  That those majoring in this field of study are receiving a meaningful education that not only prepares them for a career but also to participate as a citizen in our society.  That is what this program wants to represent and stress to all of you.  Together with each other’s help we can strive for success in the liberal arts and all become humanitarians that better the world. 
Today I can certainly say that it is a privilege to look out and see all these wonderful people with such budding potential.  Again, I am honored that I was selected to speak among the prestigious alumni chapter.  I want today to be a day of great fun for all of you.  I hope you enjoy the fashion show that is about to take place.  I hope you all go out of your way to meet as many people as you can possibly meet today.  Don’t be shy.  Again, do not hesitate to ask any questions you feel the need to ask.  We are all here to provide you with as much information as you would like and to make sure you have a great time.  I want to leave you with a quote that I hold near and dear to my heart.  It is by Nicolaus Copernicus, and he says, “Although all the good arts serve to draw man's mind away from vices and lead it toward better things, this function can be more fully performed by this art, which also provides extraordinary intellectual pleasure.”  Dare to gain extraordinary intellectual pleasure.  Thank you again.  God Bless.

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