Hello! My name is Matt Kushin. I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Communication here at Shepherd University. I teach the courses in, and am the coordinator for, the strategic communication concentration. This concentration is currently in its third year. So it is fairly new to our department! What is the strategic communication concentration?
A concentration is a series of classes that communication majors take along with a set of core classes that all comm majors take. We have four concentrations. The strategic concentration focuses on combining our department’s emphasis on new media with preparing students for careers as strategically-minded communicators utilizing social media and digital tools to build positive relationships between organizations and their audiences – fields like public relations and social media. In fact, with the rapidly changing media landscape, social media has become a primary way that people engage with brands and causes they care about. Think of a brand or a cause that you care deeply about and connect with via social media. Did you know there is a team of people helping foster your relationship with that brand or cause? They are there to help an organization do a number of important things like understand their audience and its needs, help the organization adapt to those needs and communicate with the public in a way that strengthens the relationship between the organization and the target audience, build awareness of the organization, and tell the organization’s story in a compelling way. Those are the skills the strategic communication concentration aims to teach you.
Currently, there are 4 classes in the concentration. They are:
- COMM 321 Public Relations Principles
- COMM 322 Social Media
- COMM 435 Communication Research
- COMM 470 Strategic Campaigns
There is also a writing class that covers both traditional and web and social media writing I teach designed to fit the concentration:
- COMM 335 Writing Across Platform
If you have questions about the concentration, feel free to contact me or stop by my office!
What makes Shepherd Communication the best kept secret? That’s right, it’s our students! Shepherd Comm students are some of the best and brightest around and they are guaranteed to make a big mark in the world today. It’s for that reason we are sharing some of their stories through our #MakeYourMark campaign.
Whether it’s in the classroom, workplace, or in extra curricular activities, our Comm students are shining through! Don’t believe us? Check out some of our Alumni Posts to see the great things that have been happening since graduation.
Still don’t believe us? Meet Billy! He answered a few questions for our Instagram team to show you how you can #MakeYourMark in our department.
Billy got to participate in an internship on a film set this past summer. It was for a movie called “Days of Power” and it was shot in his hometown. He got to meet Eric Roberts
which was pretty insane! Billy was a production assistant and helped out with a little bit of everything. However, he primarily helped designed sets. He has been interested in film his whole life. He loved making home videos as a young kid, and spent his time making goofy videos with his friends. Through those early experiences he developed a real passion for working with video. This internship really gave him a look into the industry.
Billy is in the digital filmmaking concentration so he just finished up his capstone which was an experimental film called “Through Different Eyes.”
He was really happy with how it turned out and felt that it is definitely his strongest piece to date. It was an idea that he really developed in his head and it turned out to be this really weird and fun finished product. It was truly an experimental film.
Plans for Post Shepherd Graduation?
Billy said he will try to find a job working for a production studio. He hopes to be able to work with video, whether shooting or editing. Those are his two favorite areas of the film industry. He may also do freelance stuff on the side for extra experience and income.
Advice for new students? Don’t be afraid to be creative. Be confident and stay true to yourself.
No matter what area of communication you are interested in, the Shepherd University Communication Department wants to help you #MakeYourMark. Check out @sucomm on instagram to see more of Billy’s story and start working on your own! Shepherd Comm may be one of Shepherd University’s best kept secrets, but with students like these it won’t stay that way for long!
Sound design was an interesting class. We went on a journey through the history of sound in media and created our own audio projects. The class furthered my knowledge of programs such as garage band as well as adobe audition and sound booth. We worked with music both in ,wav and in MIDI form as well as editing voice and sound effects.
The projects we worked on covered a vast expanse of sound. Our first project involved editing MIDI files to get comfortable with editing music and adding effects. Then we moved on to editing voice and integrating sound. Our final project brought every thing together and added sound effects to make a theatre of the mind project. Essentially it was a radio drama.
Comm 352 Computer Mediated Communication is a great way to learn the basics of web design. You will learn how to create websites using HTML and CSS coding techniques that control functionality and design. You will also learn how to upload websites to the internet, manage blogs and online content, and link them all together.
Looking back to Spring Semester last year, I couldn’t have been any more excited for COMM 406 Advertising and Imagery. Usually, I’d read the course description for a class and think it would be boring. My reaction to reading this course’s description was the complete opposite and held up to my high expectations.
I loved Comm 343 Graphic Novel. You will create a graphic novel from the ground up, to include writing an original story and dialogue, drawing or gathering images and editing them in photoshop, as well as presenting them in a clear and creative way. You will also combine literary devices with visual elements and learn about other common techniques to make your message more effective.
This is the graphic novel that I created for this course called “The Hunter and The Hunted.”
Check out other student work at the Shepherd University Graphic Novel Wiki.
Game Design, or COMM 344, was a great experience of working with others by imitating a design process, and collaborating thoughts and ideas. It was both enjoyable and challenging trying to find a middle ground between each student and ultimately have a finished product by the required due date. Which can be quite difficult if you’re having conflicting ideas or someone had trouble keeping on track.
After completing our initial design project we moved on to more personal and individual assignments. Taking the game that we had developed through our group, and porting it to a mobile application format. The examples here are some of the screens from my mobile port.
All in all, it’s a very good class and provides you with studio and workshop concepts that most people don’t take into consideration with the career field.