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Friday, August 24, 2012


The Department of Communication Studies received a $2,000 gift from Kendall Hunt Publishing Company for program development and enhancement.  Paul Carty, Director of Publishing Partnerships for Kendall Hunt Publishing said “we believe in supporting forward thinking and innovative program development and see what the Department of Communication Studies at Ashland University is planning for the future as the very types of programming that will lead the field into the next decade.”  Professor Theodore Avtgis, Chair of the department said “we are very thankful to Kendall Hunt Publishing as this generous gift can be utilized to enhance our students’ experiences and serve as a way to move us forward in the creation of our Health and Risk Communication major that we are hoping to launch in the fall of 2013.”  Carty further commented that "when coupled with the innovative Sport Communication Program that they currently have, their development of the Health and Risk Communication Major will clearly make them a leader in terms of being innovative and at the fore front of what will surely be a highly successful program.  We are pleased to support the Department of Communication Studies in this building effort."

Monday, August 13, 2012


According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2011 survey, communication is the highest-ranking skill that employers look for in new recruits. According to the list, employers also seek recruits with interpersonal and teamwork skills, ethical integrity, and analytical skills—all of which can be improved in the context of a communication course or mastered by someone who is majoring in one of our majors (i.e., Strategic Communication, Public Relations, Sport Communication). While many employers provide training in company-specific skills which need to be continually updated as technology changes, they are more concerned with an employee’s broader skills such as written and verbal communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and interpersonal skills which are consider vital and will never go out of vogue.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Dr. Rodrigues traveled to Toronto, Canada, to present research at the international conference titled, “Comics & Medicine: Navigating the margins.” The paper was co-authored with Dr. O’Rourke, our department’s primary scholar of comic book studies. Their paper was titled, “A Symbolic Bridge of Words and Images: The “Silver Scorpion” and Medical Communication” and focused on the specific context of intercultural understanding within the health care setting. The paper drew from theories of storytelling, visual literacy, narrative analysis and popular culture to emphasize the potential of comics to help overcome some of the barriers presented by an intercultural situation within the health care setting. Comic books are appropriately equipped to overcome these barriers since comic books bring together the benefits of multiple components such as sequential art (complex combination of visual and text), storytelling, and an overall familiarity across the world with the genre of comic books. 

The comic book “The Silver Scorpion” has an interesting back story since it was created by 13 Syrian students with disabilities and 10 American counterparts who came together at an international disability summit in 2010, learned about each other and discussed strategies for improving the rights and freedoms of the disabled. Dr. O’Rourke became aware of the comic, was fascinated by its origins, and saw its relevance to intercultural communication and the graphic medicine conference. He then collaborated with Dr. Rodrigues, our resident intercultural communication scholar, to develop the paper that was presented at the conference.

The conference drew presentations from medical practitioners and scholars from multiple disciplines including biomedicine, psychology, nursing, and counseling. Dr. Rodrigues found it particularly reaffirming to mark that the one recurring theme across all the presentations was the critical role communication played in the effective delivery of health services. Scholars in the discipline of communication studies have long been aware of this truth. It was gratifying to witness communication receiving its due significance at a conference that has been established by medical professionals.