Instructor, Communications; Division of Arts & Behavioral Sciences
A Natural Fit
I myself started my career as a William Woods Communication student, where I became particularly involved with the campus radio station while also studying film.
I was drawn to communication while I was an undergrad, as I have always loved writing and creating different types of content, imagery, short films, and short audio segments. For me, Communication was a natural fit, a place where I could flex my artistic skills in a practical way – applying my creative processes to my work creating messages and stories that were both dynamic and interesting while still being applicable in the professional world. It was my involvement with the radio station that solidified my decision to pursue Communication, as creating interesting content and developing an ongoing dialog with a mass audience was a powerful experience and one I have continued to pursue.
Upon graduation, I worked for a production studio in Kansas City producing music videos and advertisements. After some time in the professional world I applied for my MBA through William Woods and worked as a graduate assistant running the day-to-day operations of the radio station and assisting with the filmmaking courses. Upon completing my degree, I began teaching Communication courses full-time while completing my MFA in Motion Pictures and Television, and have been here ever since. I have always been thankful for my professors during my undergrad years at William Woods that took an interest in me and pushed me to continue pursuing my passions and challenging my along the way.
It’s All About Versatility
What really makes the Communication focus at William Woods stand out is the versatility of the program and the agency that our students have to shape their education to best suit their needs and individual passions. We offer a range of concentrations that students can focus their academic career around to reach their future goals. These include digital production, leadership, media journalism, public relations and sports communication. In each of these areas students are given the flexibility to gear their projects toward their own interests. Our students have also interned across a variety of fields, with several going on to work with news agencies and marketing/advertising firms. Several of our students have interned with Learfield Sports (headquartered in nearby Jefferson City, Mo.) in its media division. Zimmer Radio Group here in mid-Missouri has taken on a few of our students, giving them on-air opportunities and work in their marketing department. Other students have interned at consulting firms and local businesses working in public relations and social media management.
Our broad area of study ultimately allows our students to apply the skills they learn in a large variety of fields. Our alumni can be found in a wide range of industries, including news rooms, production studios, working in advertising and marketing, social media management, consulting and a variety of leadership roles. This multitude of career options and the broad nature of communications degree also allows us to partner up with other majors and areas of study on campus. Film students may work with the theatre department; journalism students will work with students in graphic design and photography courses, and PR/leadership students often find themselves working with members of the business department working with advertising and marketing students.
And in this ever-evolving media climate, we are always making sure that we are up to date on the latest methodologies and technologies so that students are best prepared for the world that they are going to enter after graduation, and not focusing on the landscape as it was only a few short years ago.
A Tight-Knit Community
What really makes William Woods and Communication program stand out, for me, is the community. Our students are able to enjoy small classrooms where they can receive one-on-one time with their professors and gain hands-on experience with the material immediately upon entering the program. An additional benefit to the program size is that students can gear their projects and course materials toward their interests. For example, students enrolled in our Sports Communication concentration can use their sports background to write articles featuring athletics in the journalism focused courses, and journalism students can create documentary-style short features in our digital filmmaking courses. The flexibility provided gives students ownership of their coursework, instead of just churning out assignments as instructed.
These benefits also extend to faculty, as we can adjust our coursework to ensure that students are receiving the most current and relevant information, which is especially important in this ever growing and evolving field. Changes in technology or mediums can quickly be implemented into the curriculum so our students are always on the leading edge. For example, our journalism concentration has evolved from strictly looking at print and broadcast for direction but now also includes digital platforms. Students learn how to create their own blogs, podcasts and web videos, along with managing a social media campaign utilizing the most current platforms while also looking at the current trends to predict where the technology will take them in the near future, so we are never left behind.
Students are provided with a variety of learning tools and projects that they can use to their advantage to hone their skills as professionals. We have an on-campus FM radio station that is largely student operated. In our senior seminar course students select a social issue and use that platform to publish their own magazine, host campus and community events, create a web campaign from the ground up, fundraise, and create a documentary along with other visual content.
Experiences Abound For Communication Students At The Woods
An example of a unique, hands-on experience for Communication students is the William Woods First Flight Film Festival. The First Flight Film Festival is an annual event that takes place at the end of spring semester (typically in early April) at B&B Theatres here in Fulton, organized by the WWU Film Club that goes by the name “Reel Fanatics.” The event features short films and productions that our student body has created over the past year. It is an excellent opportunity for our students to showcase their best work on the big screen in front of their friends, family and community members. The film festival is free to enter and to attend and is hosted by a WWU alum who is currently working in the industry, helping students network with professionals in the field. Awards and cash prizes are presented for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Short, and Up-and-Coming Filmmaker.
The First Flight Film Festival is a great example of the kind of practical experience our students benefit from in the Communication program, and is another illustration of what William Woods can offer to aspiring communications professionals.
|Learn more about the William Woods Communications program|