About Matthew J. Kushin

Dr. Kushin is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Shepherd University where he teaches strategic social media. His research focuses on the relationship between social media, online media, and civic and political participation. He blogs about social media education at MattKushin.com

The SU Comm #PumpkinCarvingContest Results

Who at Shepherd University can carve the best jack-o’-lantern?

That’s a question the Instagram team in Dr. Kushin’s Social Media class set out to find out. And, so the students launched a #pumpkincarvingcontest.

We had a ton of fun watching the entries come in. The winner will be announced today around lunchtime. To find out who wins, follow the Shepherd University Communication Department’s Instagram account. Thanks to everyone who submitted a pumpkin! They were all awesome. And it was no easy task for the class to pick a winner!

In the meantime, you can check out all 14 entries below! Which would you have picked?

bekahnipepumpkin bekahnipepumpkin2 ciarahallpumpkin emilyhooperpumpkin kaitlynsimmonspumpkin1 kaitlynsimmonspumpkin2 kushinpumpkin1 kushinpumpkin2 kushinpumpkin3 lauraknockpumpkin lauraknockpumpkin2 laurenbarberpumpkin pumpkin3 sethwilsonpumpkin

Was the campaign a success? Definitely! The students surpassed their goal of 10 entries with a total of 14 entries in under 3 days. Their contest received 44 likes and 7 comments. The Program Board and Shepherd University also shared the posts, earning an additional 67 likes. Our Instagram account picked up 10 new followers as a result of this fun contest!

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About the Strategic Communication Concentration

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:

  1. COMM 321 Public Relations Principles
  2. COMM 322 Social Media
  3. COMM 435 Communication Research
  4. 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:

  1. COMM 335 Writing Across Platform

If you have questions about the concentration, feel free to contact me or stop by my office!

Introducing Professor Kushin

- Matt Kushin

Matt Kushin

Hi there! My name is Matt Kushin. I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Communication here at Shepherd University. I teach a variety of courses, most of which fit in the strategic communication concentration. I also teach COMM 203 Communication & New Media, a course that introduces students to our major. And I teach COMM 335 Writing Across Platforms.

Currently, I am in my third year at Shepherd University. I’m the concentration coordinator for the strategic communication concentration, which is a fairly new concentration in our department. It teaches students how to use social media and other digital tools to build relationships between organizations and their target publics. In fact, my fall 2014 COMM 322 Social Media class created some of the content on this blog (see the highlight about me in last fall’s “#MakeYourMark” series). Continue reading

Unmasking Shepherd University’s Best Kept Secret

Welcome to the brand new blog and web space for the Department of Communication at Shepherd University!

My name is Dr. Kushin, and I’m a professor in the department. I’d like to take a minute to introduce you to our new project.

Students working in the Shepherd University Department of Communication Mac Lab

Students working in the Shepherd University Department of Communication Mac Lab

From a state-of-the-art TV studio and iMac classroom and lab with a robust array of multimedia production software, our classes are bursting with hands-on activity and our students are bright, creative, and engaged.

Just how active are our classes? Well, my Comm 322 Social Media class this semester will be helping showcase who we are by creating content for this blog and our Twitter and Instagram.

There is so much we do from our newly renovated space in the lower level of Knutti Hall on the Shepherd campus, that we just can’t keep it a secret any longer. So join us as we start our adventure to showcase our classes, our students, our professors, and our alumni.

We’re just getting started. As we grow, here are a few things we are planning:

  • Hear from our professors
  • Stories from department alumni
  • Sneak peaks into our classes
  • Meet our diverse community of talented students and see their work
  • We hope to eventually move over entirely to this new space (see our current homepage).

We have so much to offer our students, our university, and our community. So check out our posts below, follow us, explore this site, grow with us, and if you want to know more, check out or current homepage or contact us!

We are Shepherd University’s best kept secret. But we won’t stay a secret for long!

– Dr. Kushin