COMM notes

Keeping up with Drury's Department of Communication

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Groves voted Person of the Year by Mirror staff

Every year, The Mirror chooses to honor one person on Drury’s campus who the staff feels is impactful and whose presence at Drury is irreplaceable. This year, Shewmaker’s own Dr. Jonathan Groves, Department Chair, was selected as the honoree for his dedication to students. Continue reading


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Annual Drury Awards showcase Communication students, faculty

In addition to the Shewmaker Awards, every year, Drury hands out awards to outstanding students, faculty, and organizations on campus that represent the best and brightest of all of Drury. There are many awards to be given out, some of which are department- or program- specific, but Communications students and faculty rolled in a variety of the awards this year. Continue reading

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Faculty Spotlight: Q & A with Dr. Charles Taylor

Communication faculty and students welcome Dr. Taylor back to The Shew

charles_t670Dr. Charles Taylor, professor of communication, is transitioning back into life at Shewmaker after serving 14 years as the vice president of academic affairs at Drury. While technically on sabbatical during the Spring 2015, we tracked him down to discuss his return to the department. Effective Fall 2015, he will step up to serve as director of the M.A. in Communication program and will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the Drury CORE and communication department.

Who are you?

“Wow, that’s a tough question. Boy one of these days when I grow up, maybe I will figure that out. Well, I am a teacher at heart, a scholar in the sense that I am really committed to research that advances my ability to be a better teacher, former vice president of academic affairs (10 years), and somebody who is immensely happy to be back in Shewmaker. I left Shewmaker and moved over to Burnham around 2001. I feel very much at home in  Shewmaker. I’m also a husband, father, cardinals fan, and caffeine addict.”

You were talking about scholarship and being committed to growing as a teacher. What are your plans for getting back into writing? 

“I try to subscribe to the advice that is attributed to a lot people, but I believe it was Karl Marx who said that you have to write something every day. You can’t set it aside and figure that you will come back to it at some point. I suspect it’s like swimming or running or anything, if you get out of it, you will become soft. I have written a fair amount. While I was in my administrative position, most of my scholarship focused on broader higher education kinds of things. In order to jump back into my scholarship, I spent a little over a week at the British Library in London before the spring semester started where I spent a lot of time in the archives and working on rhetoric of science material. So if it all goes well, I should have a few articles to submit by the end of the spring semester.”

This is your first semester back in The Shew. What are you teaching?

“Technically, I am on sabbatical, but I am teaching CORE 103. This past fall I taught CORE 101 and I didn’t want to leave those students hanging because I have a really good group of CORE students. An unexpected vacancy occurred in the leadership of the communication master’s program, so I have agreed to step into that role. So, you could say I’m enjoying a semi- sabbatical. But in the fall, I am scheduled to teach Senior Seminar, COMM 211, CORE 101, and the first course in the graduate sequence.”

You have taught CORE  101 from its beginning. Is that true?

“The first class I ever taught at Drury was Alpha Seminar, which is sort of the forerunner for the CORE 101. I have been here 18 years and I think have taught Alpha or Core for 15 of those years.”

B2k7P8IIMAAIL2bYou took your CORE group on a trip last year? What was the point of the trip?

“Yeah, Dr. Maxson and I took our CORE 101 classes to Memphis. His class addressed social protests and music, and mine focused on politics and rock ‘n roll. Memphis is sort of one of those points of intersection, where race, politics and music all come together. It was great. Terrible weather, it rained the whole time. But it was good.”

Do you think your role as Vice President of Academic Affairs has influenced the way you approach teaching?

“Usually, that question comes in reverse. Does your role as a teacher affect your role as VPAA. But I think probably so. In that kind of institutional position, I have had the opportunity to see the remarkable variety of talented teachers we have on this campus and can borrow best teaching practices from all kinds of people. Another thing that I think is important about being over in Burnham is I got to see the department evolve over time. The field of communication has evolved significantly in the 14 years that I have been out of here. If nothing else, the explosion of media has changed the way we communicate and with whom we communicate. This whole thing with 140 characters, and tweeting, is not my forte. But I think integration into new media will make me better. I’m just feeling really excited about making the transition back to full time faculty status.”

You mentioned the whole 140 characters thing, but you do have a Twitter account?

“I do! I think it has probably helped me in being more succinct and cutting to the chase. If we as faculty want to connect with students, we have to meet them where they are — and that’s the digital world in which they live. I credit Regina Waters and Jonathan Groves for queueing me in to the meaningful aspects of Twitter and making it more than just 140 characters of whatever happens to cross your mind. Additionally, these new media can help me get important information in front of my students in a way that email cannot.”

Final thoughts?

“One other thing I should have said when you asked who I am. I am also an email addict. Caffeine and email are my two fixes. I tend to respond to emails anytime night or day.”

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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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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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Interpersonal Communication students conduct research that matters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat communication processes do women experience when deciding to reveal or conceal a miscarriage? What communication strategies do elderly couples, firefighters, and overseas missionaries use to maintain relationships when separated by distance? Earlier this year, students in Dr. Cristina Gilstrap’s Interpersonal Communication Theory course conducted research to examine these relational and societal issues.

In small teams, students conducted interviews, analyzed data, and presented their findings to community members. Students hope to revise their final papers for submission to the Central States Communication Association Undergraduate Honors Conference and publication in the Qualitative Research Reports in Communication journal.

The studies included:

Sharing with a Purpose: An Examination of the Communication Rules-Based Process of Revealing/Concealing a Miscarriage

Erin Crunkilton, Mykesha Jackson, & Liz Parsons

Not Always ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Examining Romantic Partners’ Communication Rituals When Separated By a Nursing Home

Hadeil Abdelraouf, Jacy Shaw, Kate Elam, & Taylor Curtis

Burning Love: An Examination of Relational Maintenance Behaviors Utilized in the Firefighter-Spouse Relationship

Caitlin Lauer, Ghada ElHaffar, Megan Goosey, & Emily Titus

International Intentionality: Relationship Maintenance of Christian Missionaries and Overseas Converts

Laney Gipson, Brennan Weekley, & Hannah Heinzler

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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


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KDRU says goodbye to Aaron Campbell

For the past two years, Aaron Campbell — who double-majored in theater and multimedia production and journalism — has hosted KDRU’s “The Weekly Buzz,” a roundup of news and tidbits about Drury University.

This year, we lose him to graduation and the world.

But we rounded up a few highlights of Aaron’s time on the air for one last buzz: