Saturday, January 31, 2009

Real World Speakers Make a Difference

This semester I have had the opportunity to teach a course I call Crisis Communication and Media Relations. This is a course that explains some of the very real-world problems that arise when communication is not handled well in crisis situations. It is also a course that discusses the very specific public relations skill of working with and establishing relationships with the media. This is a course that includes many communication majors though it is being taught in the evening schedule as a way to provide a different elective for other majors.

The past two Thursdays the class has had the opportunity to hear from speakers who are working daily with the concepts of both media relations and crisis communication. Before the end of the term, we will have two additional speakers from this "real world." From the response papers the students have submitted, there is no question that the anecdotes, examples and lessons offered by these speakers is both making an impression and giving them a firm grasp of the concepts, theories and actions we are discussing in the class. Lynwood Eppes was our first outside speaker. He happens to be a Coker graduate, and he works with Darlington County Emergency Medical Services and is also the Public Information Officer for the Emergency Preparedness operation for the county. He provided a variety of ideas and the students were very interested in the concept of an Emergency Operations Center, something they really have not thought of in previous discussions. Then, this past Thursday Audrey Childers, the chief communication person for the Darlington County School District, talked with the class both about the importance of media in telling the stories of heroes in the school district and the intricacies of of managing communications when something bad happens with schools. Both speakers had the full attention of the students and both provided those real-world examples that help make the book-learning relevant.

As an instructor, I really appreciate the willingness of outside speakers to share their time, talent and experience with our Coker students. I remember when I was on the outside it was something I enjoyed doing. It may have even been the spark that made me want to become a college professor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow delays classes adds some fun

Coker is in South Carolina. We don't get much snow, plagued as we are by weeks upon weeks of blue sky in just about every season of the year. But today there is a dusting of snow on the ground with some more coming -- giving us the illusion of winter. In South Carolina it only takes the allusion of winter for things to shutter. Classes so far have been delayed until 12:30, when the college offices will open. That is not such a drastic reaction, the other schools around are off for the day. So, a few students were out this morning, finding their classes canceled, and decided some fun in the snow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coker students participate in Dr. King celebration

This link takes you to my Community Thinking blog that discusses the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration that was held in Hartsville today. Phillip Woo, a sophomore, gave the keynote and he was introduced by Blake Terrell, a senior. They both had to live quickly because there is a basketball game in Anderson today and the buses were waiting for them to finish. It was really good to see others from the basketball team there to support their teammate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday afternoon -- what is all the noise?

Sunday afternoon -- good time to get caught up on some grading. In the Performing Arts building today (January 18) there are at least three other faculty members doing the same thing.

And, coming through the walls of this office is some rhythmic pounding and periodic shouts along with sounds of energetic exertion. This time of year the dancers are getting ready for the February concert. One group is going to be performing a piece by choreographer Amy Marshall that is exciting to watch and a test of endurance for the performers. The dancers break from rehearsal working hard to catch their breath and standing in line for some water. The dance is strenuous and requires being in shape so Sunday afternoons aren't for lying around for this group of students. If this video works, you can see small piece of the rehearsal.

Also on this Sunday afternoon there was a rehearsal for Monday evening's "Faces of Love" vocal recital that will feature mezzo-soprano Britnee Siemon and pianist Lucinda Shields. This recital will be January 19 in the Hannah Lide Coker Recital Hall in the Music Building on campus.

As I sit here going over stories from the Writing for the Media class I am wondering what else might be happening on this campus. Seems that when I came in there were sounds from the gym that sounded like basketball might also be happening.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Two round-ball wins on Saturday

The Coker Lady Cobras have opened the conference season with three wins -- has been awhile since that happened.

Coker Men Cobras have two conference wins in a row.

Go Cobras...

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 in full swing

It is a new year and a new semester as Coker College classes are underway for the Spring 2009 Academic Term. They began at 8 a.m. this morning. It is good to see the campus again alive with students. There has, as usual, been a lot of last minute adding and dropping of courses and some new people looking for the right classrooms but it is smoothly flowing. This term I have the Communication Senior Seminar, a course in Writing for the Media (used to be journalism), a course in public speaking and a course we call Media Relations and Crisis Communication, which is being offered in the night hours in case some night students want a different kind of elective.