COMM notes

Keeping up with Drury's Department of Communication

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2015 Drury AD Team

Ad Team lives on as these students prepare for this year’s competition creating a campaign for Pizza Hut. Continue reading


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Web Communication student creates movie review website for fans of horror flicks

maggieJunior Maggie Sholes, a student in Dr. Groves’ Web Communication course (COMM 386), decided to use her web development skills to help out fellow horror flick fans by creating a new movie review website Quick and Painless. Continue reading

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Student news: Desirae Fowler and Chloe Foster put web design skills to work

Web Communication: Two success stories from the Fall 2014 semester

Web Communication (COMM 386) is one part web design, one part writing, and a whole lot of creative problem solving. Each semester, students work with Dr. Jonathan Groves, associate professor of communication, to create or redesign a website. It’s a challenging course, but students Desirae Fowler and Chloe Foster prove the outcomes are worth the effort.

desRedesigning for the greater good.

Desirae Fowler, a senior marketing and management major, accepted the challenge of redesigning a website for Stand Against Trafficking, a local coalition established in Springfield, Missouri, that strives to raise awareness of human trafficking in the U.S. Since the group had a working website, Desirae had to make sure it remained usable while updating its design and content.

An additional challenge was finding the best way to present the topic and relevant content without exploiting the issue.

” I am not an expert on human trafficking, so it was difficult to decide what content should be on the website and how it should be displayed due to sensitive nature of the issue. You want to pull the audience in with emotional appeals, but you don’t with to exploit anyone or the issue. It was hard finding the perfect balance.”

Desirae is proud of the site she created. The homepage features statistics that make readers think and she developed a variety of pages — “Get educated” “Take a stand” and “Make a difference” — that allow visitors to access the information they need in just a few clicks.

“My hard work paid off and I’m pleased with my website, though there is always room for improvements. It’s gratifying helping others and I’m happy I could help the Stand Against Trafficking coalition redesign its website.”

Now that she has completed Web Communication, Desirae is certain her experience in this area will be useful in her professional career.  

“Not only have I experimented with programs that many businesses utilize, but I worked closely with a client and built a website around their mission and needs. Being able to maintain professionalism is important in my job.”

C_FosterBuilding one for the team  

Student-athlete Chloe Foster, an advertising and public relations major who plays on Drury’s volleyball team, came up with the idea for the Drury Volleyball “Go Behind the Scenes” website after a conversation with her coach.

“My coaches mentioned that they wanted a way for recruits to get to know the team when we aren’t available to meet with them. I wanted to create a site that recruits could visit to learn what it is like to be a college athlete, and where they could get to know the players on more personal level.”

Chloe’s website features profiles of  team members, a Q/A page where recruits can learn more about Drury volleyball, and a behind the scenes look at the team. She’s pleased that the website can be an important asset to the team during the recruitment process.

In addition to helping the team, she also gained a personal benefit.

“I can take the skills I learned in class and use them in a future job. Knowing how to build a website and create a web presence is important because the internet is how people get their information now, and many businesses need people that can help  them do this.”

Download an informative handout on the Web Communication and Design minor.



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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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In their words: What is means to experience AD Team

It’s not easy to create an integrated communications plan for a national brand, but that’s exactly what AD Team did during the spring 2014 semester. Mary Kay was the sponsor for this year’s AAF National Student Advertising Competition.

The 27-member team traveled to Kansas City on April 10-11 to pitch its 26-page plans book to a panel judges at the District 9 event. While Drury did not win the district title, the team was recognized with the Best Business Ingenuity Award for its recommendations on how to improve the starter kit for new independent beauty consultants.

AD Team is demanding. It involves in-depth collaboration with peers, late nights pouring over research insights, and endless revisions to copy and creative ideas.  So what do students gain from the experience?

AD Team is important because it gets you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you to never settle for a ‘ok’ idea or even a ‘good’ idea, and it teaches you how to work on a team with people you have probably never had the chance to work with.  This is one of the best experiences I have had at Drury and I would urge any student that is even a remotely interested in AD Team to seek out a current member and hear what it’s all about. Carolyn Adams, Marketing and Management 

It was an incredible experience that allowed me to pull together and apply all of the skills my professors have sought so hard to teach and develop within me. In the end I made great friends and memories, all while gaining hands on experience applicable to the real world.  Sara Hammond, Advertising and Public Relations

ricardo on floor

AD Team was the defining experience of my collegiate years. Not only was it a blast, it was the thing that made me pick Ad/PR as a major.  Evan Melgren, Advertising and Public Relations

AD Team is a phenomenal time of growth! I learned so much about everything related to creating and being confident in your ad campaign. And it’s a bonding experience like no other. If you’re considering adding Ad Team to your schedule, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Emelia Enquist, Advertising and Public Relations

ad group

The wonderful thing about AD Team is that students from many different disciplines have the opportunity to work together, much like in an actual agency. My experience with AD Team was both professionally and personally beneficial.  Sheila Haskins, Advertising and Public Relations

I learned so much over the past 2 years doing ad team, not only the ins and outs of how to create a great campaign from start to finish, but also the amazing people I’ve gotten to work with. It’s been an amazing learning experience both working with and helping to lead such a multidisciplinary group.  Ricardo Moreno, Visual Communication

Perhaps Nick McCarthy sums it up best:
“AD Team is good

Want to learn more about AD Team, AAF and AD/PR Club? Check out these short videos by senior videographer Cameron Boushehri:
Drury AD Team – Here’s what it’s all about

Drury AD Team – Preparing for the NSAC

Contact Dr. Regina Waters, faculty advisor,

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Drury Communication students chosen to present papers at annual convention

CSCA Students 2014Six students from the Department of Communication have been selected to present their scholarship at the Central States Communication Association Convention in Minneapolis on April 4 and 5.

Working under the guidance of Dr. Cristina Gilstrap in the COMM 215 Foundations of Communication Theory course, the students applied communication theory to the analysis of significant news events.

Papers accepted for presentation include:

  • “From Hero to Zero: Media Framing of Mohamed Morsi’s Overthrow in Egypt” by Ghada Elhaffar, Colombe Iyeza, and Hadeil Ali
  • “Taking A Gulp Out of The Big Apple: Examining How U. S. Newspapers Framed the New York City Soda Ban” by Haley Baker and Mykeska Jackson
  • “Analyzing the Angles of Tragedy: Media Framing of the Sandy Hook Shooting” by Cathy Robinson and Jacy Shaw

In an open call for submissions, CSCA Primary Program Planner Leah Bryant explained this year’s conference theme, “Elevate”.

“I invite submissions that address the many ways that we can elevate our research, teaching, and fellowship.  By pushing the boundaries of traditional inquiry, we can elevate our understanding of communication. By pushing the boundaries of traditional instruction, we can elevate our ability to educate others about communication.”

As a professional and academic organization, CSCA strives to “promote the  communication discipline in educational, scholarly, and professional endeavors.” Since CSCA is comprised of professors and teachers from university and high schools, students, and communication professors, attending a convention of this nature is extremely beneficial.

Students meet students from schools all over the country while intermingling with professors and professionals in the field. With  a mix of short informative courses and paper presentations with topics all across the board, the student attendees from Drury will be exposed to amazing pieces of research writing while learning how to become better writers and better professionals. 

Students will travel to the conference with Lambda Pi Eta advisor Dr. Rick Maxson. The group received an allocation from SGA to fund travel costs to the conference. Congratulations to our student-scholars and many thanks to SGA for supporting the academic achievements of these students.

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Organizational Communication students provide consulting services to Mercy

In the fall 2013 semester, Dr. Cristina Gilstrap’s Organizational Communication class gained valuable consulting experience when they partnered with Mercy in  Springfield, Mo.

The class broke into two research teams to work with the ICU unit nurses and the Mercy Leadership Team. Both groups conducted one-on-one interviews to examine organizational culture, workplace stress, and work/life balance issues associated with working in a hospital.  Each team analyzed its data and produced a consulting report featuring recommendations for Mercy leaders.  The experience culminated in formal presentations to the Mercy Leadership Team in December.

This is just another great example of hands-on learning and student involvement in the Springfield community.


All smiles after presenting their findings to the Mercy Leadership Team!

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Student News: Agencies tackle NSAC case study

True to tradition in the fall COMM 441 AD/PR Campaigns class, students formed small advertising agencies to tackle the AAF National Student Advertising Competition case study. Mary Kay cosmetics is the 2014 sponsor of the NSAC, allowing students to develop an in-depth understanding of a direct sales retail model. mk plans

Mary Kay has asked AAF student chapters across the nation to develop a plan that connects the brand with female Millennials. Drury students majoring in AD/PR, visual communication, and marketing worked together in the fall semester to gather industry and consumer insights.

Students hosted a focus group interview with Mary Kay beauty consultants to learn more about the brand and the benefits of selling Mary Kay. The class also surveyed members of the target audience across the U.S. to learn about their perceptions of Mary Kay as well as their shopping behaviors. Armed with primary and secondary research, four agencies developed 20-page plans books to showcase their solutions to the Mary Kay challenge. The agencies pitched their ideas to their peers on Dec. 4.

Nearly 25 students have joined Drury’s 2014 AD Team. Students will spend winter break reviewing the books generated by the agencies in the fall AD/PR Campaigns class and will meet in January to determine which ideas should drive the work of the team during the spring semester. Drury will compete in the District 9 NSAC on Friday, April 11 in Kansas City. class

The four agencies have put several great ideas on the table. Wish the team luck in pulling together the final campaign proposal!

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Dr. Curt Gilstrap launches Speech Videos website

The always industrious Dr. Curt Gilstrap has launched yet another new project. Speech Videos is a Video Learning Management System (VLMS) that hosts videos of speeches from numerous sites across the Internet.

Speech Videos allows students to easily search for videos by type and content which allows them to supplement the content of textbooks they already own. It is an open databases that allows professors and student to upload and save their own videos to the site which can be analyzed and archived in a protected environment. Additionally, each video has assessment forms which makes it possible for students to critique a speech while watching it.


Speech Videos can be used by instructors to create lecture and class exercises. An education wall allows only students, professors and collegiate speech lab mentors to view and evaluate videos. This fee-based service is nearly half the cost of other VLMS sites. All functions on the website are accessible on mobile devices and tablets.

Dr. Gilstrap hopes to double the number of videos with assessment forms by January 2014 and welcomes feedback for improving the site. He is both pleased and proud to provide an affordable educational resource that gives students, teachers, and curious individuals access to an expansive database of speeches.

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Alumna Abby Glenn presents research findings at state conference

abby newsAbby Glenn, a 2013 graduate of Drury’ s M.A. in Communication program, used her time in graduate school to sharpen her knowledge of nonprofit communication. Her efforts paid off with an invitation to present the results of her graduate research at the 2013 Missouri CASA Conference on Nov. 8-9.

Abby’s project, “Being a Child’s Voice: Emotion Management of CASA Volunteers,” explores the expectations and challenges of Court Appointed Special Advocates. She is particularly interested in how CASA volunteers manage their emotions while performing their volunteer duties.

Interviews of 15 CASA volunteers revealed two key insights.  First, the challenges CASA volunteers experience are attributed to a strong sense of attachment the volunteer experiences with his or her CASA child.  The challenges focused on impartiality, emotional exhaustion, and the anticipation of emotions.  Second, the majority of research participants cope with the emotional challenges of their volunteer duty by communicating with three specific groups: the CASA supervisor, other CASA volunteers, and family.

Abby would like to use her research to develop training materials that will aid in the development and retention of CASA volunteers.  She is exploring the opportunity of presenting this research at the national CASA conference in July 2014.

After earning her master’s degree, Abby became the Community Recreation Specialist – Special Events Coordinator at Springfield-Greene County Park Board in Springfield. One of her key responsibilities is to plan the annual 5k Turkey Trot.

The way I was introduced to my current job was through connections I had made as a volunteer and as an intern.  Building connections is the biggest resource you have, and Drury University does a great job at providing a platform for you to build connections.