Friday, July 23, 2010

College degrees and the job market

We find from a recent article that hit both CNN and Yahoo that Engineers, particular engineers in the petroleum industry are among the highest paid people out of college. Coker does not have petroleum engineering degree, so we probably are not going to fare well in a comparison with petroleum engineering majors. But, when we look at the same article, we see that Coker is being compared with Ivy League schools and some of the other top universities in the nation. I wonder if maybe we should not feel pretty good about being thought of in the same article as these major universities. For a great part of Coker's history the college was a top educational choice for women in South Carolina. Since about 1969 Coker has been graduating men and women -- many of the traditional college graduation age of 21 and 22 and many graduates entering new phases of their lives with college degrees at the ages of 38 and beyond. This small liberal arts college in the northeast section of South Carolina has been doing some amazing things in higher education for more than 100 years. So far, we have not focused on graduating those who would be joining the ranks of millionaires and more as some IVY League colleges do, but just ask anyone who has been at Coker for any length of time and they will tell you story after story after story of people with Coker College degrees making significant impacts on the communities in which they live. As a faculty member at Coker, I am glad to see people talking about Coker in the same article as they are talking about an IVY league college such as Dartmouth.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crisis Communication remains an important subject

One of the courses that I particularly enjoy teaching at Coker is the course in media relations and crisis communication. That is two big subjects lumped into one but as we try to cover some ground in the professional side of our major, we incorporate those two major areas.

One of the people I quote in that course in Jonathan Bernstein, who writes a regular Crisis Communication blog and has an interesting, useful booklet on the subject called "Keeping the Wolves at Bay."

This month's newsletter talks about using the codes of ethics of reporters to help the reporters keep in touch with how they should ethnically be covering a story. And, I make the case in class that a crisis is an event that is going to be covered; it is by its nature - News. The Crisis Manager helps me stay abreast of what is being discussed in this particular specialty of the communication profession.

Article on Coker Athletic Director sets out vision

The great tool of Google alerts let me know about an interesting, in-depth article in a recent MORNING NEWS of Florence, SC. This article is an interview with Lynn Griffin, the new Athletic Director at Coker.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interesting Summer Experiences

Dr. Cathy Cuppett, Spanish professor, is involved in an interesting Summer experience this week. This is the news release that annnounced the week-long seminar that she is attending:

Coker College Office of Marketing and Communications
Christian Stryker- Director of Media Relations and Sports Information

For Immediate Release-July 15, 2010

Coker’s Cuppett to Participate in Wye Faculty Seminar

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College’s Dr. Cathleen Cuppett has been selected to participate in the prestigious Wye Faculty Seminar July 17-23 at the Aspen Institute on the Aspen Institute-Wye River Campus in Queenstown, Maryland.

Cuppett, an Associate Professor of Spanish at Coker, will join 19 other professors from other liberal arts colleges and universities from across the country at the seminar for a week of intellectual dialogue. The seminar allows these faculty members the opportunity to exchange ideas and values that underlie their teaching and their lives as liberally educated people.

Founded in 1983 by Douglass Cater, then president of Washington College, and Josiah Bunting III, then president of Hampden-Sydney College, the Wye Faculty Seminar is unmatched in its power to provide professors teaching in the nation's liberal arts colleges and universities the opportunity to come together to learn from each other.


Founded in 1908, Coker College is an independent, comprehensive college with a liberal arts core required of all students. Coker provides quality educational experiences in and out of the classroom that prepare graduates for professional and personal success. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Coker one of America’s Best Colleges. The Princeton Review rates Coker a Best Southeastern College based on academic reputation and student satisfaction.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Going the Distance with Kendyl Seawright ::

Going the Distance with Kendyl Seawright ::

Hoo RAH!! Even since Kendyl has told me of meeting up with the Marines I have been talking with her about thinking of Quantico. I am not sure she wants the military but I can see Marine Officer potential in her. Marine officers train at Quantico for Officer Candidate School and then the Basic School. It certainly is not easy to be a Marine officer but then she doesn't often take the easy way out. I think you will enjoy this blog post as she really does a good job of pulling together the importance of team work, especially to Marines. Semper Fi!

Summer not restful for Coker Sports Information

Christian Stryker, Coker College Sports Information Director (SID) was moving rapidly across campus late Thursday afternoon. He had just been in Florence with Lynn Griffin, Coker's new Athletic Director, doing interviews with the MORNING NEWS and WBTW. The previous week he has been at a conference in San Francisco with other collegiate sports information people discussing the newest trends in getting the word out for college athletic programs. One of the classes I am teaching this coming semester is ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION so it was interesting for me to hear from Christian some of the strategies that the SIDs were sharing with each other. The social media revolution is certainly becoming a central focus in Sports Communication as it is in so many other areas. And, as he looks toward the remainder of the summer he has assigned himself the challenge of getting his arms around how to best use social media to make a positive impact for Coker.

Melinda Norris is the 2009/2010 Coker College Master Professor

Melinda Norris is a business professor at Coker College who teaches extensively in both the traditional day and the evening program. She brings a great deal of excitement, energy and engagement to her classes and last May's graduating class honored her efforts with the Master Professor award. This summer she has been meeting with downtown merchants in Hartsville, S.C. to see if there are ways of engaging her students marketing efforts that might help strengthen these downtown businesses.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Enrolling new students is fun

I am often in my Coker College office during the summer so I get some opportunities to help new students enroll in classes for the coming year. To Krista was in with his sister and parents from Georgetown. Krista is going to be a communication major so it ws particularly enjoyable being able to put her into classes. I noticed that our Introduction to Mass Communication class is already at the 20 max. Dr. Mark Glantz, our new addition to the Coker Communication program is going to be teaching that course this fall.

Intro to Mass Comm is our introductory course for majors and we like seeing it reach its max. I also had the opportunity of putting Jessie into classes today as she transfers from a nearby college. She is coming in as a Sophomore with many of her liberal arts core courses on the transcript. She is thinking that she may want to be an FBI agent and she's going to be majoring in psychology and criminology to pave the way for this plan.

We are closing in on the new academic year, which begins about the second week of August and the plans are that we will have another record first-year class. Our baseball coaches have continued to recruit and I had the opportunity to talk with one of those recruits today about how academics blends with athletics. This student was here with his parents who had a concern about how the he would get along in an environment that would be so much different than his high school. Coker's size makes this college a true learning community and it is easy to calm the fears of parents that if a student will do what she or he should do they are going to be able to do well in the Coker environment.

Combine those meetings with a an after-action get together of professors who were teaching our first online courses this summer and you have a interesting day on the Coker College campus.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spain wins world cup

Coker College Men's Soccer Coach, Paul Leese, told me at the beginning of the World Cup that Spain was probably his 2010 favorite as he grew up for many years in Spain. It was a bit difficult for him to take that stand since he was born in England and also grew up there. But, it is safe to say he is happy with the Espana victory.

World Cup fever hit some former Coker students, one of whom was also a communication major in addition to being a member of the Coker College soccer team. You will enjoy this story about the four alums who made it to South Africa to enjoy the world's single biggest sporting event. Coker Alums Experience World Cup First Hand

Former Coker Student-Athletes Travel to South Africa for 2010 World Cup

Read this article on the web at

HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Every four years the world turns its attention to soccer for the entire month of June as countries from across the globe meet in the FIFA World Cup. In 2010, the World Cup was held in South Afr ica and four Coker College Alumni got the experience of a lifetime, by being there in person.

Henna Koponen, Rachel Lemar and Prashant Bhenswala all from the class of 2010, along with Derek Whitmire, class of 2004, traveled to South Africa to see one of the biggest sporting events in the world live and in person.

Melinda Deyasi makes a difference for Coker Students

Melinda Deyasi is a Research Librarian at Coker. That is an important job all by itself on the campus of a small, private liberals arts college and Melinda will be missed by both students and faculty when it comes to her primary job as a Librarian. She is a creative research librarian, she was instrumental in a variety of changes at the Coker Library and Information Center during her time with Coker.

And, in her eight years at Coker College, Melinda has been involved in a number of student-related activities that have really broadened the definition of librarian. One area I know students will miss her is in the graduate school application process. Melinda had a way of helping students get involved with their grad school applications that helped several of them achieve schools they never expected to enter. She was able to introduce these students to the process of graduation school applications and once she introduced them, she stayed with them and on them to get all the pieces completed and sent off. Melinda has a no excuses policy and those with serious grad school intentions learned quickly that asking Melinda for assistance meant they would have a task master who would ensure they completed their end of the process. There are many students with Masters and about-to-be masters who benefited from Melinda's ideas, and disciplined-process approach.

A few years ago, when Dean Doubles fully retired, she also took on the job of helping students with the dream of becoming Fulbright scholars upon their graduation from Coker. Now, there are not many small liberal arts colleges with lots of Fulbright Scholars but Coker has had four Fulbright Schools since 2001. And, Melinda has proven over the last few years to be a strong champion for the Fulbright and for those students with the Fulbright dream. This year Anna Lippard is the Coker Fulbright Fellow. Last Spring, two students made it past the Fulbright committee with Anna also getting approved by the Country committee. Melinda's process of working with students, demonstrating a strategy that helps them accomplish all of the work involved in the application process and her continued cajoling, editing, commending and pushing have helped Coker students compete very favorably in this difficult, competitive academic fellowship competition.

This week I stopped over to see how Melinda's plans are coming for a major move in her life. Her husband Marco has been hired as a Humanities professor at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. She is moving to join him in that bustling college town. Coker is going to miss her contributions at all levels and students particularly will miss the on-target graduate school and Fulbright guidance that she has been giving. In fact, on this July afternoon she was still in the middle of the Fulbright process. She was getting out emails to students helping them keep their focus on the things that need doing in the Fulbright process now, because once school begins, it gets really difficult. (You will hear a little about this process in the video clip.)

In Hartsville, Melinda has been one of those people whose life is entwined with her work. Coker has been a better college because she has shared these last eight years with us on campus.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Field Research Photos show engaged students

Dr. Jen Borgo had some field research going on this summer and just posted a couple of photos on FACEBOOK. I particularly liked the little snake, which looked more like a big worm, but even though this is someone else's Coker College Experience, I thought some people would like to see this. It looks like some fun going along with the learning.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ALPHA is new name for Coker Evening Program

Just happened to see this as my Google alert led me to the Coker College story. This is an interesting idea. Using a power name like ALPHA for the evening program makes it less of a mouthful and it does portray the values inherent in earning a college degree. (The photo is of some students who were getting ready for finals during the summer term of this ALPHA program.)

Coker College Evening Program renamed ALPHA
From local reports
Published: July 7, 2010
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HARTSVILLE — Coker College’s Evening and Extended Studies Program has been renamed ALPHA, Adult Learners Program for High Achievement.

With almost 40 years of experience and locations in Hartsville, Cheraw, Lake City, and Mullins, ALPHA gives adults the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at night.

“We wanted a name that is more representative of the students and outcomes of Coker’s evening program,” Dr. Barbara Jackowski, Coker College associate dean, said in a press release. “Our students are adult learners who work hard and aim high. They are earning a college degree to get more out of life, personally and professionally.”

Coker College ALPHA offers bachelor’s degree in business administration, criminology, early childhood education, elementary education, psychology, social work and sociology. The program is open to adults age 23 and older. Classes are offered two nights a week and on Saturday in some locations. Terms are eight weeks long and full-time ALPHA students can earn a degree in four years.

More than 450 adults in the Pee Dee are enrolled in ALPHA. The program has bridge agreements with Florence-Darlington Technical College and Northeastern Technical College, which eases the process of transferring to Coker.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dan Edelman’s 10 Principles for Success

Dan Edelman’s 10 Principles for Success

One of the courses I really enjoy teaching is Public Relations and we have a couple of ways we teach that. One of the significant portions of the Marketing Communication course that I teach includes public relations. And, occasionally I get to teach the Principles of Public Relations Course and regularly we teach Public Relations Writing.

Dan Edelman is one of the PR professionals I looked up to in my formative public relations years. His agency was once one of the most resptected independent Public Relations firms in the business. I believe we should learn from some of these guiding lights and the 10 success principles that were released as part of the celebration of his 90th birthday are, I believe, valuable ideas for thinking about key behaviors in business and life. Were I teaching the class now, I would be sharing this article with students. Since we are on the summer break it is nice to be able to share via the blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Night Term Finals have the study guides out

Bicycled down to the office on Thursday night and there was a crowd of students sitting outside the door, all of them engaged in some last-minute studying for a final exam that began in about ten minutes. Professor David Dawson also came out to join the group as they were trying to deposit last-second facts into the memory bank. It was an interesting scene for the end of the Coker College Summer Night Term. The Night Terms are part of the College's program for non-traditional age college students who are striving to get their college degree. Occasionally, some day students will take a night class or two.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pianist to Presidents Presents Performance

Coker College was host to an encore performance of David Osbourne and the David Osbourne Trio on June 30. The show was about three hours and was a totally delightful night of piano. His permanent job is at the Bellagio in Las Vegas but he is on a mini tour in the South and the previous night he played in Banner Elk, NC. The Coker audience gave the trio a well-deserved standing ovation.