Archive for May 2010

In the Library of Congress

May 28, 2010

When the School of Communications formally created the Imagining the Internet Center in 2007, we could not have imagined the center’s impact in just a few years.

And now we’ve learned that the U.S. Library of Congress has selected the Imagining the Internet website for inclusion in its historic collections of internet materials. The Library of Congress will collect content from the website at regular intervals and make the content available to researchers both onsite at library facilities and though the library’s public website.

Associate professor Janna Quitney Anderson is the brainchild and outstanding director of Elon’s Imagining the Internet Center.

Its website ( now consists of more than 6,000 pages of predictions, insights, videos and news coverage. In addition, the center partners with the Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington, D.C., on books and projects about the future of the internet.


Filmmaker on the Stage

May 24, 2010

This is Laith al-Majali on this year’s Commencement stage, camera in hand.

Elon invited Laith to be the 2010 Commencement speaker — quite an honor considering that he earned his bachelor’s degree from Elon only five years ago.

Laith already has established himself as a premier photojournalist and filmmaker. He produced the Jordanian film “Captain Abu Raed,” which received the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Laith and I came to Elon at the same time, just weeks before 9/11, 2001. He came to Elon as the university’s first King Hussein of Jordan Scholar, and I came as founding dean of the School of Communications.

Laith quickly distinguished himself as a campus leader, and in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he served as a unifying voice during campus gatherings as the only Arab on campus. He was active in campus media and began producing film projects that led to his rapid ascent as a photojournalist and filmmaker.

In the School of Communications, we’re proud of the fact that Elon has selected a Cinema alum twice in the past three years as the undergraduate Commencement speaker. Doug Finberg, a 1994 Elon graduate who became senior vice president of international marketing for Paramount Pictures, spoke to 10,000 students, family members and faculty at the 2008 Commencement.

The iMedia Success Story

May 21, 2010

Commencement speaker Tony Quin

I'm hooding graduate Kathryn Williams

Ten months ago, we welcomed the inaugural class of our new M.A. in Interactive Media program.

The 36 graduate students were bold explorers in a new field, and the School of Communications itself displayed entrepreneurial spirit by devising an innovative curriculum, building modern facilities for the program in the heart of campus, and adding six new faculty and staff with expertise in interactive media.

The ambitious endeavor had a glorious conclusion last night — the graduation of 36 successful students.

The ceremony was dignified and deeply moving, with robed M.A. students entering Whitley Auditorium to organ music followed by the university president, provost and other program participants.

Tony Quin, founder and CEO of IQ Interactive in Atlanta and New York, delivered an incredibly meaningful Commencement address, focusing on how interactive media is at the heart of consumer-driven communications.

Jaqueta Abbey receives diploma

“It’s an industry immersed in constant, unrelenting change,” Quin said. “Just since you put on your cap this morning and zipped up your gown, something important has happened in the interactive world. It’s a frightening and thrilling thought.”

That phrase captures my own views of creating the iMedia graduate program. It was both a frightening and a thrilling thought, and it certainly was enjoyable to see the happy faces cross the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas, knowing that they will be in the transformative wave sweeping across communications.

Celebrating Student Research

May 20, 2010

We are pleased to have created the nation’s first undergraduate research journal in communications.

In fact, I chuckle every time I see the title of the first student work in the journal: “Mom Just Facebooked Me and Dad Knows How to Text: Influences of Computer-Mediated Communication Through Generations.”

This first issue contains 12 research articles written by students in Elon’s School of Communications. The articles were selected for publication through anonymous peer review by the school’s faculty.


The Council on Undergraduate Research lists the 60 or so undergraduate research journals nationwide (, and the Elon Journal is the first to focus on journalism, media and communications.

As I write in my preface, this journal reflects what we enjoy seeing in our students — intellectual maturing. As 18 year olds, some students enter college wanting to earn a degree, but unsure if they want an education. This journal represents the intellectual maturing that occurs by the senior year. The published works make us aware of the solitary hours that students spend in research and the untold hours in which student and teacher-mentor work together to revise a paper for public consumption.

By focusing attention on undergraduate research, this journal helps reinforce all that we think a university should be.

A Soccer Ball and a Rhino

May 12, 2010

It’s unusual for the cover of a conference program to feature a soccer ball next to a rhinoceros. That’s South Africa for you.

The World Journalism Education Congress takes place this summer at Rhodes University in historic Grahamstown. Delegates from all continents will come together to explore our commonalities, differences and challenges.

Singapore hosted the first Congress in 2007, and South Africa campaigned hard to host the second Congress right in the midst of the World Cup. The Europeans, Asians, South Americans and Aussies all thought this was a brilliant idea. The Americans were skeptical, questioning the wisdom of having the Congress at the same time the country would be hosting hundreds of thousands of crazed soccer fans.

In the end, the Americans went along with the plan, and I’m glad we did. Who knows, I might even become a soccer aficionado.

Taking Census of Student Success

May 2, 2010

Our team and adviser: Ben Kauffman, Professor Frances Ward-Johnson,
Kaitlin Carlin, Craig Orsi, Molly Calpin and Claire Derreberry

Bravo to Elon’s 2010 student Bateman team! For the fourth consecutive year, Elon’s team finished in the Top 20 in the nation in the prestigious student showcase of public relations campaigns.

The U.S. Census Bureau was the client in this year’s case study competition, established by the Public Relations Society of America to give university students an opportunity to exercise analytical and problem-solving skills.

Elon students competed for the first time in 2005, gaining valuable experience that led to third-place nationally in 2007 and two Top 10 finishes before this year’s Top 20. Congratulations to 2010 national winner University of Georgia.

The Bateman competition is a project of the Public Relations Student Society of America, founded by PRSA in 1968. The student organization has grown to more than 9,600 members and 280 chapters at colleges and universities in 43 states. Elon has one of the 10 largest PRSSA chapters in the nation.

The Importance of Creativity

May 1, 2010

Imagine asking the world’s leading thinkers and doers to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. That’s what happens at TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences.

This talk, by Sir Ken Robinson, came four years ago and has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube. With humor and storytelling, he makes the case that, educationally, creativity is just as important as literacy.

At Elon, we frequently describe the student-oriented mission of the School of Communications as “launching creative and meaningful careers.”