Convocation highlights success

Posted 4-30-2014 by Barrie Hill

The 2013-2014 academic year has been a rewarding and busy one for The Department of Communication. Departmental highlights were the focus at this year's Spring Convocation Ceremony.

The Department started the year with the introduction of the department's new Emerging Media Certificate for all Communication majors.

"Students across the department have enthusiastically engaged in certificate courses and broadened their understanding and skills in communication," offered Department Chair Dr. Charla Markham Shaw.

"We also were honored to be designated an Engaged Department by national service learning experts in the fall."  Markham Shaw noted. "Our department’s dedication to community engagement and service is deeply engrained in the culture of classes across all sequences."

Faculty members were recognized at the event. including Dr. Tom Christie and Dr. Charla Markham Shaw  who were honored for Outstanding Teaching by a tenured faculty member. Mr. Julian Rodriguez  was named Outstanding Lecturer and received the Dean’s Accolade Award, inspiring students to create work of exceptional merit beyond the classroom.

The event also detailed achievements in the department's six disciplines.


A team of advertising students and members of American Advertising Federation, under the mentorship of Jeff Williams, created an advertising campaign for the Movin’ Mavs and the National Wheelchair Basketball Championships held on campus. The students created video, posters, social media, events, and press releases for the group. Coach Doug Garner credited the ADVT students with the record attendance of 2,000 at games and for assisting in recruiting the top recruits in girl's basketball. The recruits were impressed by the student-created posters and banner.

Students in Dr. Tom Ingram and George Weems’ ADVT campaigns classes are developing an integrated marketing communication plan for the UT System Board of Regents Taskforce on Hazing at the request of the UTA Chancellor.


BCMN students in Julian Rodriguez and Dr. Andrew Clark’s TV Reporting I and II classes produce a weekly UTA News broadcast available on both Channel 99 and via and are producing a segment “UTA Spotlight” aired on The City of Arlington’s channel. UTA News en Español continues to garner national attention as it develops and produces unique stories in Spanish that address issues relevant to this growing audience.

UTA Radio, part of the iHeart network, provides play-by-play for UT Arlington sports teams, hosting Rocktober and other events across campus. UTA Radio students garnered awards in the regional competition for the National Broadcasting Society.

Eight BCMN students (under the direct supervision of Lance Liguez, with oversight from Dr. Clark) spent their winter breaks producing content for the AT&T Cotton Bowl’s You Tube page and website, including covering media day and team visits to local children’s hospitals. Charlie Fiss, VP of Communications for the Cotton Bowl, commented: “Your students are running rings around the other videographers that we have hired to provide us content."

Communication Studies:

Communication Studies students in Suzy Nead and April Blount’s Group Communication classes continue the tradition of working with a variety of organizations and programs to meet needs across the community. They students offer assistance to a variety of groups each semester including Safe Haven, Mission Arlington, Boy's and Girl's Club, Wounded Warriors and The Salvation Army.

This semester, Ms. Nead received an email of thanks from the Resident Services Director of the Arbrook Retirement Community where one of her groups held an event for the center's seniors.  Center Director Rebecca Coffman noted that not only were the students patient, “but they also took the time to establish relationships, listen to stories and memories, and offer kindness and compassion.”

Dr. Karishma Chatterjee’s Human Relations class is working with the national Helping Restore Ability organization.  Dr. Chatterjee will also be mentoring Lawanda McKelvey this summer as she creates original research as a part of the McNair Scholars program.

COMS major Gemme Campbell recently completed her honor’s thesis and has accepted one of the rare offers of MA to Phd from Texas A&M.  The university has committed to funding to Campbell for five years should she choose to stay at A&M to pursue her PhD in organizational and health communication following completion of her Master's degree.

Communication Technology:

Students in Chyng-yang Jang's CTEC Web Communication Design and Development III class develop prototype web sites for community organizations. In fall and spring, these students have created web sites for 20 community organizations.

Dr. Brian Horton’s CTEC User Experience Design and Research students have been working in groups to develop mobile apps, including database development, visual design, research/planning, and social media strategy. All apps will officially launch during finals week.

Dr. Chunke Su’s Communication Technology course engages approximately 140 students in service learning each semester. Students work with more than 65 organizations and conduct research on the client’s previous, current, and potential use of communication technologies. The students then provide recommendations to the clients, including hardware, software, and strategies to improve internal and external communication practices.

CTEC major Daniel Puente received a Citizen Certificate of Merit for his redesign of the volunteer pages for the Arlington Police Department’s website.


As part of a service learning project, students in Dr. Erika Pribanic-Smith's Digital Storytelling course put online journalism skills to use in providing blogs covering small businesses and non-profits in Downtown Arlington for the Downtown Arlington Management Association.

Public Relations:

Dr. Tom Christie’s fall PR Campaigns class developed a PR/Marketing campaign for the Youth Education Town, a nonprofit after-school center supported by the National Football League and the Salvation Army.  As a result of the student's work, Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith sent a letter of thanks to the students and indicated that the advisory board was impressed and planning to implement the student's strategies.

Students in Dr. Shelley Wigley’s spring PR Campaigns class are working with ARISE! International, a non-profit organization that assists women who have been sexually abused. Students hosted a fashion show and raised $800 for the organization. The executive director of ARISE! said it would have been worth it even if not a penny had been raised because it boosted the women’s self-esteem as they participated as models at the event.

Evann Crawford, a double major in PREL and COMS, is working with Dr. Wigley as part of the UTA Team partnering with Mission Arlington as they develop materials to support Diabetes awareness and intervention in the Hispanic community. The work is supported by a Ford Grant.

Department of Communication students also land coveted internships each semester. More than 60 students participated in internships this year, gaining valuable experience.


UTA students interned with a variety of local companies and non-profits this year including Children’s Medical Center's Red Balloon Network, NBC 5, WFAA 8 ,CBS 11, Univision, Telemundo, CBS Radio, The Eagle, The Ticket, K104, Clear Channel, Disney Worldwide, Strauss Marketing, UTA Athletics, The Fort Worth Independent School District, The Arlington Police Department, The Modern Art Museum, The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and The Dallas Observer.