Dear Department of Communication Alumni, Students and Friends:
As the new chairperson of the Department of Communication, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how honored I am to return to MSU, leading one of the top communication programs in the country.
Like many Spartans, I credit the experiences and training I received at MSU with many of my personal and professional accomplishments. As a first-generation college student raised in the small farming town of Kingsley, Michigan, I saw a college degree as an opportunity to earn a decent living and possibly contribute to society, but what I gained at MSU was far more valuable. From the day I joined the Department, there was an enduring sense that I was part of something bigger than the typical college experience. I graduated with an M.A. in Communication in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Communication in 1999. By the time I graduated, it was clear that I had joined a community. As I settle into my new role as chairperson, I do so with a strong commitment to ensuring that every student has the kind of memorable educational experience that prepares them for successful futures and makes them proud to be MSU Communication Department Alums.
Part of creating that experience includes building on our reputation as rigorous researchers that value a multitude of diverse ideas and perspectives. In addition to wanting our students to be equipped for their future careers, I want them to know they have a voice here. That means every student and alum, regardless of race or religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, or political beliefs, is welcome in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University.
At this time in our history, when information and messages are increasingly used as tools of divisiveness, the study of the processes and effects of communication is critical to understanding the dynamics at play within societies. Every day, we see more evidence that individuals and organizations with a wide range of motivations have awakened to the power of communication. As scholars and practitioners, we have a duty to understand how messages are developed, interpreted, spread, and most importantly, how they impact behavior and decision making. Our department continues to be home to some of the leading scholars in the world for the study of these issues. We are focused on exploring innovative new approaches to research and committed to increasing our contribution to a common understanding of the role of communication in the human experience.
I want to reassure you that as students and alumni, you are a key part of my vision for the future of this department. Your support, your engagement, and your voices matter.
Our department will be rolling out a new Department of Communication newsletter this year. I will use this forum (along with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to keep all of our friends up to date with our teaching and research. I will also be forming a Department of Communication Alumni Advisory Board. If this interests you, please let me know. Please keep in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.