Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tweet - World of communication changing daily

Twitter is a piece of software that allows for quick communication to those who might be "following" the message sender. The quick communication is limited in length to 140 characters and those who use Twitter have to have access to some type of internet platform.

The message that people who use Twitter send is called a Tweet. In today's world of organizational communication, marketing communication, social-media communication, heck, communication in general, the concept of communication channels is taking on whole new look that is quite literally changing the entire concept of what we have called Mass Communication. As I write, we are reading, writing and creating new words -- like tweet and twitter -- to discuss this new world of communication. The stage we are in is the creation and thought workshops are held on many of these new channels, there is still not enough general agreement on the meaning of some of the words being used to help create understanding of what is being said. That is one reason being in the field of communication today is probably more exciting than ever.

So, next semester when my Coker College Marketing Communication class takes on the concept of Marketing Communication it is going to be quite a different class than it was two semesters when Tweeting was something that birds did -- and no one in marketing had used it to push products, ideas of services. And, today, lots of people in the field of corporate communication (and all the subgroups within that concept)are trying to figure out if something like Twitter can give them a competitive advantage. This morning I read about a conference at Internet World that supposedly gave the answers. My guess is that it just raised more questions.

So, next semester in MarCom we are going to be looking to see if there are tactics that can put Twitter or Facebook or Television Advertising or Newspaper Advertising or Direct Mail to work giving marketers a competitive advantage for what they are developing and selling. And, one of the areas we will spend some time studying is the strategy incorporated this past year by the team that helped the President win the White House.

It is an exciting time to be working in and studying communication.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Frances Williams Graduating Saturday

Coker College will be holding its 101st graduation on Saturday, May 2 and Frances Williams will be among the graduates. She is a typical graduate of Coker's Evening Extended Studies program and she is a special graduate of that program. Most of the students in the Evening Program are what we call "non-traditional students." In that way, Frances is pretty typical. But there are some unique aspects to the Coker college career that Frances has forged.

Frances had already had a career before she opted for the Coker education. She spent a full 20 years in the United States Army and retired from the Army as an E-7. In the Marines we called them Gunny and I am not sure what the rank equivalent is for the Army. I do know that E-7s are the supervisory giants who carry a lot of responsibility for the effective operations of their units. That is one reason I was a little surprised when Frances and I were talking the other night at a Roast in honor and I suggested she apply for a supervisory position I heard was open. She said something like, 'I'm not a supervisor.' A 20-year military career and retiring as an E-7 -- that woman is a leader. But, Frances took a unique approach to getting her college education. Coker employees have the benefit of being able to pursue their education at Coker without major tuition expense. So, Frances has been a member of the Coker housekeeping staff for the last several years. Working by day - and sometimes by night -- helping to keep Coker looking like one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Mondays and Thursdays she was in night class, pursing a degree in Criminology. Her determination, work ethic, intelligence and persistence will pay off in the degree on Saturday.

We are saying goodbye to Frances this week. She is actively seeking to put that degree to use as she looks for jobs in fields like police work and other related fields where she can "help people." When Frances and I have talked about what she is going to be doing next, after she jokes about "get a job," she quickly gets serious with the added phrase, "I want to help people."

As I noted in a letter of recommendation that I wrote for her, whatever organization ends up hiring Frances is going to get far more than they will be paying for because she is now a retired E-7 and a college graduate.

That is a quick story of Frances, and one of the great things about the Coker graduation is how many other stories could be told of typical Evening School students who are also unique and different and who will also be giving whatever organization hires them more than they will ever get back in salaries.

One photo shows Frances putting up with a little roasting from Russ and the other is Frances, right, with a friend and coworker.

Some Good Byes

The semester is quickly coming to a close. James Dawson, president of the college is in his final weeks on the job as he retires at the end of the fiscal year. We had a Coker Community barbecue for him and Karen at Kalmia Gardens on Sunday.

I didn't get a photo but we also had a luncheon last week for Dr. Lois Gibson, who has been an English professor at Coker for the past 31 years. She said that while she is going to miss Coker, she is ready to retire. Not many days after graduation she is heading to Europe for a trip to Poland. Through the years, one of her missions has been to strengthen the children's literature section of the Coker library for students heading into the teaching field. Many people will be sending honorariums to the the endowment fund in her name to continue strengthening that collection.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coker College Honors Athletes

Senior Shelly Catlett is the Coker Athlete of the Year
Brin Griffin and Alyssa are the First-year Athletes of the Year

(this blog post comes from Christian Stryker's news release about the Athletic Awards that were given out on Tuesday, April 21.)

Coker Honors 2009 Athletic Acheivements
by Christian Stryker, SID Coker College

Hartsville, S.C. - For the second year in a row, senior Shelly Catlett took home the biggest award of the night, while freshmen Brinley Griffin and Alyssa Blanchard received the second highest honors at the 2009 Coker College Athletic Awards Ceremony held Tuesday night in Coker's Watson Theater. Catlett was once again named the C.G. Timberlake Athlete of the Year Award, while Griffin and Blanchard each received Freshman of the Year honors.
Shelly Catlett is a native of Orangeburg, S.C., and has been a four year starting pitcher for the Lady Cobras Softball team. She was named the First Team All-Conference in 2009 and was named the Heritage Community Financial Services Athlete of the Month for April 2009. In 2008, she was named Conference Carolinas Softball Player of the Year, was First Team All-Conference selection and was named Second Team All-Region; while in 2007 she was named Second Team All-Conference, was an All-Region Selection and was named the MVP of the conference tournament. This season Catlett has a record of 15-11, with a 2.05 ERA and 164 strikeouts.
Off the field, Shelly is a Biology Major, a three-time Academic All-American, President of the Senior Class for 2008-09, President of the Coker College Science Club, a four-time member of the Dean's List and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. After graduation she plans to attend the Medical University of South Carolina to study dentistry.
Brinley Griffin is a native of Port St. John, Fla., and he is the first baseball player to ever receive the Male Freshman of the Year award at Coker. Griffin was an All-Conference nominee, playing in all 42 games this season, a first for a true freshman at Coker since 1993. Griffin was a team leader in almost every offensive category this season including being fourth on the team in batting average (.335), first in doubles (9), second in hits (55), third in RBIs (22) and tied for the team lead in stolen bases (12).
Alyssa Blanchard is a native of Columbia, S.C. and a member of the Lady Cobras tennis team. She was named First Team All-Conference, the first ever such selection for a player under Coach Alvin Cheng, and was named the March 2009 Heritage Community Financial Services Athlete of the Month. Blanchard played No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles, posting a record of 10-2 in doubles and 9-3 in singles. She helped lead the Lady Cobras to their best finish under Coach Cheng, in the Conference Carolinas Regular Season (4th) and in the Conference Carolinas Tournament (5th).
In addition to the Athlete of the Year and the Freshmen of the Year awards, Coker also recognized award winners from each team, along with the Finalists for the C.G. Timberlake Athlete of the Year. Team MVP's from each team included Dennis Gonzalez for men's soccer, Kathryn Friedmann for women's soccer, Kelsey Carlson for volleyball, Michael Murphy for men's cross country, Kendyl Seawright for women's cross country, Nequita Bracey for cheerleading, Mason Ambler for men's basketball, Henna Koponen for women's basketball, Blanchard for women's tennis, Mark Vial for men's tennis, Kyle Walker for baseball, Catlett for softball and Chris Marsh for golf. Finalists for the Athlete of the Year were Jesse Hatchell (baseball), Ambler (men's basketball), Koponen (women's basketball), Carlson (volleyball), Lindsey Crighton (women's tennis), Shannon Townley (women's cross country) and Marsh (golf).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coker Choirs Outstanding on Sunday (softball team came close)

Dr. Will Carswell and the Coker College Singers and Chamber Singers gave another beautiful, exciting, musically challenging concert this afternoon. (April 19) The two choirs sang many of the songs they did on their recent Spring Break trip through North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D. C. They certainly provided the Sunday afternoon audience in Hartsville a great musical experience. You all know the video is never that good but it will give you a little flavor of the experience.

And, as time flies so quickly, this comment is about the outstanding performance put in by the Coker Softball team at the Conference Championship this weekend. They fought back from the losers bracket and put up a tremendous fight before losing by a run in the bottom of the seventh of the championship game. I think it was the fourth game they played on Sunday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some photos from Friday afternoon 4-17-09

There is a lot going on in Hartsville this weekend and there is a great deal going on at Coker College this Friday afternoon.
** Conference Carolinas Softball Tourney (Coker won two today)
** Crew races and dinner at the boathouse
** Academic Karaoke with Dr. Wood talking about musical theater and the three iterations of Cinderella.
** At 6 is Bandfest, the social activity that students look forward to all year long.

Some photos from the afternoon:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Senior Seminar in closing days

When the presentations are done we get to go out to Griggs to lunch. There were many interesting research questions and research projects in the 2009 class. They continue to give a lot to think about -- and, I still have to read most of the projects. Mentioned some of the titles in an earlier post and two that are currently in front of me give an idea of the types of projects explored -- "Effective Advertising or Soft Port? Do Men and Women Ages 18-24 have different attitudes about the use of Sexual Appeals in Advertising?" A second is, "Do male and female employers have different things they look for when hiring employees?"

One student, who currently has a one-act play in production, was unable to attend but this was a pretty good turn out for lunch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some nighttime observations

The Library/Information Center is getting a good bit of use as the semester quickly winds down. I have not spent as much time there this year but it really is a great place to study and check over news writing portfolios, which is what I was doing. My observations, however, come from going upstairs in the LIT building tonight and seeing all the research posters ready for the undergraduate research symposium that will be going on all day tomorrow. Another observation was a colleague, Dr. Mac Williams, a Spanish instructor, who was with a group of students in the faculty research room going over Spanish 102. This was not a night class. This was a professor who said to his students if you will come I give you some more of my time so you can learn this language. Above and beyond but not atypical for this campus. Then, as I walked back to my office I saw our Provost, who lives about 60 miles away from Hartsville, coming into the library. She had just been to student-directed one act plays and was heading in the check out the research displays -- then she is heading home to Columbia. And the list grows as two or three other faculty members were heading in different directions across campus talking and working with students. My observation -- this does not happen everywhere.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Author, Producer, Singer Todd Johnson Talks at Coker College

Burry Bookstore of Hartsville, SC, hosted Todd Johnson, author of the new novel, THE SWEET BYE AND BYE, at several events in Hartsville on Thursday, April 9. One of those events was a question and answer session with students and community members on the Coker College campus.

When James Jolly, director of marketing and communication at Coker, mentioned this opportunity, I thought it would make a good "simulated" news conference for my Writing for the Media class. There had been no other news conferences in the Hartsville area during the semester. So, I assigned the event as a story and asked students to be prepared with questions so they could write an inverted pyramid news story of the author's visit. This is one event that exceeded my expectations. Several of the students were able to be part of the event and they came ready with some good questions. Other students and even some community members were in the audience, which included about 40 people.

The questions were on target. The author is comfortable with the Q&A set up but most importantly he provides some really meaty answers. Johnson was a history major at the University of North Carolina -- a basic liberal arts focus. That was the connection with which we opened the discussion. As he related how important it is to know how to know he gave a major boost to the entire question of "Why the liberal arts." He also pushed, totally unprodded, the importance of knowing how to write. You will hear some of that in the video.

It seemed like the students who were there really got a lot from listening to this multi-talented author. Even after the session, he helped one student who was searching to find out how to get her writing noticed understand some of the resources available for authors. And, there were several people who purchased the book and got their copies signed.

Coker Students honored at Academic Awards Banquet

One of the highlights of the Coker College Academic year is the Academic Awards Banquet. Actually, we have almost a month of Wednesdays of Award Banquets for athletic academics, academics, leadership and others. The ACADEMIC AWARDS last night were great!

The Top 10 of this year's senior class were recognized and I got to sit with a couple of them. One, Paul Smith, is a member of the night class and he actually finished in December and just got a promotion in his job with the Department of Social Services. The other top 10 include: Shelly Catlett, Lindsay Crighton, Julie Hanlin, Aaron Huntley, Shivas Vadakumpuram Jayaram, Lynn Rawls, Paul Smith, Laura South, Cassidy Spencer and Shannon Townley. In addition, the individual departments also honored their number one students.

Our communication department had four people involved in the Awards and we were quite proud of that representation. Cassidy and Lindsay are both communication majors and Stacie Fields, a dance and communication major won the Department of Dance, Music and Musical Theater award and Jessica Barnes was named a Junior Marshall. They are in the photo on this page with Dr. Lellis.

This is Dr. Dawson's last Academic Awards Banquet and I am hopin the video of his closing remarks works for this blog post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Coker College Play Day a Hit

Dr. Darlene Maxwell of the Coker College Education Department is an expert in early childhood education. A few years ago she came up with the idea of having a Play Day for pre-school children from Hartsville area pre schools. While it was breezy in Hartsville and on the Coker Campus this morning (April 7) the children turned out as did the Coker students who had come up with a variety of activities for the children to play. Fact is, for many of the activities, the college students had at least as much fun as the younger students. Faculty even got into the event. Provost Dr. Pat Lincoln had a large group of faculty, staff and little ones going on an elephant walk that was a hit. Dr. Joe Rubinstein, who teaches math education courses, engaged in the magic of numbers with some of the children. You will see an example in one of the videos. Dr. Maxwell has several objectives for this event with one being a chance for college students to get into the spirit of engaging with children and volunteering their time. The Play Day gave me the opportunity to provide some "feet on the ground" reporting experience for my writing for the media class. While everyone might still be experiencing some shivering, hearts are still warm from the sounds of happy children.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Coker College Senior Art Exhibit for Abby McLaurin

...opened on Monday evening in the Art Gallery inside the Coker Art Building. Abby's show is called "slightly less than life size" though the name belies the work. This was a busy night for Senior projects and I happened to be carrying the video camera when I went to the opening. One of the annual events for seniors is their own show in the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery. It is one of their capstone experiences. The seniors spend a great deal of time thinking about the work, long before they start creating. So, I asked Abby if she would describe one of the pieces. Her short video will give you an idea of the thinking that she brought to this exhibit. While it does not have anything to do with the Show Opening, Abby is also into the second round of the Fulbright Scholarship judging for this year. If it works out, she will be doing her Fulbright in South Korea.

Coker College Senior Communication Seminar Students Have some interesting topics

We are in the midst of the Research Projects for the Senior Seminar in Communication and there have been interesting presentations on interesting topics. The Seminar is what we call the Capstone Course for the Communication major and the research project is a stretch project for all the students. They feel really relieved when they turn in that 30-page paper, which is usually when they complete the presentation to the class on their project.

Some of the topics being investigated this term include:

Gender Codes in Prime Time Television
"Is Obama Your Facebook Friend?" The use of social media in the 2008 presidential election
Leadership training at Coker
An analysis of how college students perceive Boondocks and its social commentary
Does Sex Sell -- Male and Female attitudes toward sexual appeals in advertising
Uses and Gratification theory and reality television using a comparison between male and female viewers

We have some more coming today as one student is investigating the question of ethics in sports journalism using in-depth interviewing and another student is investigating the public's appetite for celebrity journalism. In addition, one student is studying the workplace, trying to discover if employers seek different traits when hiring male and female employees. Another student has investigated the question of photography and its impact on viewers' support for war policies. Another student is investigating marketing of luxury items and how that marketing uses product placement in "Sex in the City."

This is a challenging class and most of the students are doing a good job meeting the challenge and providing interesting research that can be a springboard to either graduate school research or the variety of research needed in the working world.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Make A Wish Fund Raiser and Academic All Stars At Coker College in Hartsville, SC

For 20 years the Athletic Department at Coker has been honoring Student Athletes for their Academic Performance. This blog is mostly the news release prepared by the Sports Information Department following the awards banquet last Wednesday. And, it was a busy week for athletes, and the Athletic Department as on Thursday they held the fund raising Auction for the Make A Wish Foundation. Have not yet heard to total raised but it had to be right at $1600. The video is a small snippet of that event.

Hartsville, S.C. - The Coker College Athletic Department honored more than 80 student-athletes on Wednesday night at the Hartsville Country Club for their academic achievements over the last year. The annual Coker Athletics Academic Banquet was held in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day, honoring those students who received 3.25 grade point averages or better in the fall or spring semesters of 2008.
The major award of the evening, Coker's Academic Athlete of the Year Award, was awarded to junior women's basketball player, Lotta Aaltonen. Lotta is a business major at Coker, achieving a 4.0 GPA in all five semesters. She is the co-captain of the women's basketball team, a member of PBL Business Organization, a member of the International Student Organization and was inducted into the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society and Chi Alpha Sigma, National College Athlete Honor Society. A native of Rauma, Finland, Aaltonen was named All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2009, while averaging 14.6 points per game with 958 career points.
Other special honorees included, Shannon Townley, Academic All-American for Women's Cross Country and Shelly Catlett, Whitney Wallett, Sydney Greenwalt and Julia Nelson-Abbott, Academic All-Americans for Softball.
Coker also recognized the induction of eight new members to the National Collegiate Athletic Honor Society. The honor society is for those junior and senior student-athletes with a 3.4 GPA or higher for five semesters.
Of the more than 80 student-athletes honored 21 received 4.0 GPAs for the semester. Thirty-eight were named to the Dean's List, having a 3.75 or better semester GPA, and 25 were named to the Conference Carolinas Academic All-Conference Team.
The Women's Tennis Team received the Team GPA award for the fall and spring semesters of 2008, with a fall semester GPA was 3.18 and a spring semester GPA of 3.21.
The Academic Honors Banquet was created 20 years ago and designed to honor student-athletes of all ages who achieved excellence in academics and athletics.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coker Grad voted into S.C. Coaches Hall of Fame

did something I don't usually do and borrowed from my "Community Thinking" blog for this posting but alumni are crucial to a college and Coach Hewitt continues to bring honors to Coker with her accolades....

Pat Hewitt, Excellence in our midst in Hartsville, S. C.
Coach Pat Hewitt of the Hartsville High Red Foxes is going to become part of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame this July, according to a story in today's MORNING NEWS of Florence.

Coach Hewett, a graduate of Coker College, has been deeply involved with girl athletes at Hartsville High since the early 1970s. On a personal note, I covered many of Coach Hewett's first teams as a reporter for the MESSENGER in Hartsville. She was one of the sources I would go to when writing stories about the Title IX legislation that attempted to get a more level playing field for women athletes in this country. Coach Hewett is extremely deserving of the honor her fellow coaches are bestowing and Hartsville has been fortunate to have her excellent talent and values influencing so many of our children for several decades. Coach Hewitt is just one example of people in our community who go about their every day lives making heroic differences for the quality of life we enjoy in Hartsville.

Congratulations, Coach Hewitt.