COMM notes

Keeping up with Drury's Department of Communication

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The Mirror staff win 2017 MCMA Awards

Several students were recognized for their work at the 2017 Missouri College Media Association (MCMA) Conference on April 9 held in St. Joseph, MO. Continue reading


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Crowd funding at its finest

Thanks to the generosity of nearly 100 donors, our CauseMomentum fundraising campaign was a success. We raised $5,105 to update a classroom in the Shewmaker Communication Center. We are grateful for the support of our students, alumni, colleagues, and Friends of COMM. A special thank you to senior Kari Hanson who took the lead in organizing and promoting this project. Kari’s enthusiasm and hard work ensured the success of this campaign.  Our goal is to unveil the new improvements by the end of the Spring 2015 semester. Stay tuned for celebration details!
*Names are listed in alphabetical order.

Carolyn Adams

Tiffany Allen

Samantha Behen

Jackie Brandhorst

Whitney Brown

Sheila Haskins and Dwight Buzzell

Bruce Callen

Caleb Cohoon

Dave Corner

Kaitlyn Den Beste


Ed Derr

Staci Dreyer

Nicole Dunning – Weaverling

Molly Erickson

Sonja Garrett

Abby Glenn

Erin Gollhofer

Andrea Graddy

Casey Grismer

Dr. Jonathan Groves


Sara Hammond

Paul and Paige Hanson

Cassie Hanson Riewer

Andrea Harp

Jen Hellmich


In Memory of Libby Hill

Rebecca Hodous

Luke Hofmann

Krista Hood

Amanda Hornick


Mykesha Jackson

Molly Katharine Riddle

Adam Kilker

Benjamin Lamb

Reid Larson


Matthew Lemmon

 Brian Leonhardt

 Danielle Lindermann

 Jann Loeb Holland

 Liz Mabe


Staci Malikowski

Susan Malikowski Hanson

Lindsay Martin

Amy Maas

Rick Maxson


Jackie Meyle

Ricardo Moreno

Brenda Noland

Brie Ott

Aimee Peterson


James Pikul

Beth Pile

Mallory Price

Maria Reardon

Dionne Reese

Christa Rieger

Jeff Riggins

Aaron Robinson

Cathy Robinson

Jacquelyn Schoppa


Kaitlyn Schwers

Kristina Seel

Millie Sharp

Brian Shipman

Emily Shook


Jason and Cyndi Skinner

Jessica Snider

Chase Snider

Julie Sonnenberg Baumgart

Robin Sronce


Sam Stoll

Allyson Strickland

Charles and Jan Taylor

Janet Vigen Levy

Taylor Wagner


Samuel Warne

Regina Waters

Caitlin Weiler

Caitlin Weins

Johanna Westall


Kristen Westerman

Logan Whittmore

Danielle Wise

Jon Woodson

Dani York-Maag

Jani Zatezalo Rogers

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Senior Kari Hanson uses crowd funding to improve a classroom

So Uncomfortable

Kari Hanson (on floor) is joined by #ShewCrew pals Taylor Curtis (left) and Whitney Brown to request your project support.

As senior Kari Hanson was selecting her focus for a Signature Project, she was fairly certain that new media would play a role in her efforts. She soon selected an opportunity to learn about crowd funding and set the goal of transforming a ordinary Shewmaker classroom into a modern, student-friendly environment.

This fall Kari began working with Drury’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations to develop a fundraising project on Cause Momentum, a project funding site coordinated by The Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Kari aims to raise $4,000 by late December to buy new desks and chairs for Shewmaker 219, a classroom that features the latest instructional technology but outdated seating. In the first seven days of project launch, Kari raised $2,600 — enough to buy 20 new adjustable height student desks.

How did she do it? She took to social media to spread the word about the need to update a classroom.

The desk-chair combinations currently in use were purchased in 1988. They were not designed to hold laptops nor do they facilitate collaborate learning. For Phase II of the funding project, we would like raise an additional $1,400 to buy new chairs to accompany the new desks.

Dr. Waters with a Shewmaker desk and chair combo.

Dr. Waters with a Shewmaker desk and chair combo.

As of Nov. 17, we have about $1,000 more to go; however, we only have 29 days remaining in the project window to raise the money.

So far, 53 donors have given anywhere between $1 and $500 each to support our initiative. We are grateful for the vote of confidence from our alumni, parents, students, and friends of COMM.

Please help by sharing our Cause Momentum project through your social media and please consider making a donation. Every dollar puts us closer to full project funding.

Like Drury Communication Department on Facebook to follow our project updates.

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Dr. Jonathan Groves named Missouri Sunshine Coalition president

004 JGrovesDr. Jonathan Groves has been tapped as president of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition, a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting government transparency and educating the public about the Missouri Sunshine Law.

Groves, a former journalist who teaches media classes in Drury’s Communication Department, has been part of the group’s board since its founding in late 2008.

“All citizens should be concerned about government accountability,” says Groves, who has also served as media coordinator for Greene County’s courts. “The Sunshine Law ensures that Missouri’s government institutions conduct their business in the light of day.”

Over the years, the coalition has hosted seminars about the Sunshine Law throughout the state, and it has recognized residents who promote openness in government with its Sunshine Hero Award. Last year, the award was given to State Auditor Tom Schweich for his efforts related to the Sunshine Law.

As a primary contact for the coalition, he hopes to help people understand and use the law to ensure access to government records and meetings. Recently, Groves was interviewed by the Associated Press regarding access to information in the case of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

The law ensures individuals to have access to a variety of public proceedings and records, such as police incident reports, court hearings, and city council sessions.

He notes that those who passed the law crafted a specific section (610.011) to promote an ethic of openness among Missouri’s government bodies:

It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public government bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law. Section 610.010 to 610.200 [the Sunshine Law] shall be liberally construed and their exceptions strictly construed to promote this public policy.

In his new role, he hopes to focus the volunteer coalition’s efforts online and expand its efforts through virtual means.

“We hope to connect people who are passionate about open-government initiatives,” he says. “If citizens don’t keep up with what their governments are doing, democracy cannot succeed.”

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Communication Faculty and Graduate Students to Present at National Conference

Drury Communications Dept 19This November, communication faculty and graduate students will present peer-selected research at the 100th annual National Communication Association (NCA) convention in Chicago. Dr. Cristina Gilstrap will present a co-authored paper examining the uncertainties experienced by parents of premature babies in neonatal intensive care units. Drs. Curt and Cristina Gilstrap will present a co-authored paper with graduate students examining nonprofit leaders’ construction of effective crisis leadership.

  •  Dr. Cristina Gilstrap, associate professor of communication: “A Weird Purgatory You Get Stuck In: Parental Uncertainty Management in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit” (Health Communication Division)
  • Dr. Curt Gilstrap, director of graduate studies, Dr. Cristina Gilstrap, associate professor of communication, Nigel Holderby, M.A. ‘14, Katrina Valera, graduate student, Megan West, M.A. ‘14: “Communication and Crisis Leadership: How Nonprofit Leaders Understand Effectiveness in Response to Organizational Crises” (Applied Communication Division)

For more information about the conference visit:

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What’s new in the SHEW?

IMG_3577We have launched another academic year in the Shewmaker Communication Center and the student energy is fantastic. Our entry-level classes are filled with new faces and our upper-level students are ready to tackle in-depth and challenging projects. It’s going to be an exciting and productive year.

Students, we encourage you to read about the accomplishments and adventures of our impressive alumni. Our graduates are pursuing advanced degrees in such areas as communication, law and theology. They have discovered career paths that were once unimaginable when they sat in our Shewmaker classrooms. Reach out to them. They have stories to share and I know they can be an invaluable resource to students seeking career advice.

Alumni, please stay in touch with us! Send us your updates and let us celebrate your successes with a profile in our newsletter.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter. Give us your feedback and let us know what information and stories are of interest to you.

Dr. Waters
Fall 2014