2014-2015 — A Year In Review…

19 08 2015

By: Dr. Timothy R. Gleason

2014-2015 was an exciting academic year to kick off my term as department chair. As one administrator kept telling me, it has been an awful year to become chair. My favorite piece of advice is one I learned from the biography of Urban Meyer, the football coach of The Ohio State University Buckeyes, “Don’t tell me the problem. Tell me the solution.”

The biggest news in Wisconsin higher education has been Governor Scott Walker’s $250 million cut to the UW System. The rationale for such a devastating cut is that the University of Wisconsin System is flush with waste. I wish I knew where the budget fat was hidden. Journalism has been running one course short of its usual offerings because of a previous budget cut. For 2015-2016, Journalism has already canceled three course offerings as departments are expected to run leaner. That’s one of the tactics undertaken by the department and college to achieve a solution. Additionally, tenure protections and shared governance have been removed from state statute. In brief, faculty are no longer protected to seek the truth and make recommendations for the betterment of students and even society. Tenure is not about guaranteed lifelong employment. It is earned after years of rigorous effort, and it enables faculty to report data and findings on controversial topics and to protect students from the fly-by-night trends and profiteering at their expense.

Fortunately, there is also good news. One effort the department is excited about is the implementation of a Public Relations major in Fall 2015. After a two-year development and review process led by Dr. Julie Henderson, the UW Board of Regents approved our new major in April 2015. We expect increased enrollment because majors are more appealing to students than emphases, and a major is easier to find in UW’s areas of study listing than an emphasis. This is the only PR major in the UW System, so we expect to see enrollment growth.

Journalism’s enrollment also benefit from continued participation in the Interactive Web Management (IWM) major, which offers B.A., B.S. and B.B.A. degrees through the interdisciplinary program run by Journalism, Computer Science, Information Systems and Marketing. IWM students take at least three Journalism courses, and many are minoring in Journalism.

A number of curricular changes were approved this year. Writing for the Media became a prerequisite for the New and Emerging Media course. Introduction to Journalism and Mass Communication has been changed to Introduction to Media: News, Public Relations and Advertising. This course will become part of UW Oshkosh’s University Studies Program. Two new math and statistics courses are available to meet our requirement in this area, while the College of Business’ economics and accounting courses no longer count. This change will make it easier for students to enroll and complete the quantitative literacy requirement, and quite possibly, lead to dancing in the streets.

On the personnel front, Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen earned tenure. She has been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor after completing the six-year tenure process. As some of you know, Dr. Hansen originally joined Journalism as a part-time lecturer, earned a doctorate at UW Madison, and returned to UW Oshkosh as a tenure-track faculty member.

Dr. Julie Henderson retired after more than two decades of service to the university. She has left the department with the creation of a public relations major, CEPR certification, and a successful PRSSA chapter that students renamed after her. She has repeatedly told us she is moving out of Oshkosh because it is too warm down here. Her colleagues and students wish her well as she returns to Minnesota.

Journalism unsuccessfully conducted a faculty search to replace Dr. Jin Kyun Lee, who returned to South Korea in January 2014 for family reasons. The university is considering Journalism’s request to seek Dr. Henderson’s replacement during 2015-2016 with the goal of a new hire starting in Fall 2016.

Faculty and staff continue creating the reaccreditation report in advance of a site team visit by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in October 2015. Journalism is also using this process for its program review, which is required of every university department on a rotating basis. This is an opportunity for the department to receive productive feedback. Journalism faculty and staff have begun a SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats analysis) as part of the review of its strategic plan. While we have already revised our vision statement, mission statement, and core values, Journalism remains committed to providing a liberal arts education along with professional values and competencies. The foundation of this education remains the teaching of writing, despite the many inside jokes I’ve heard that I would try to convert us to the church of photojournalism.

If you haven’t returned to campus and Oshkosh for many years, swing by to see how we have changed. The department moved into Sage Hall in 2011. UW Oshkosh built an Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on Pearl Avenue, the street that leads you to Sage. A few minutes away is Oshkosh’s summer farmers’ market on Main Street, which was named one of the 101 best in 2014. You can extend your stay overnight by checking into the downtown Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and receive an alumni discount. The hotel’s ownership includes the UW Oshkosh Foundation. UW Oshkosh’s new chancellor, Dr. Andrew Leavitt, is a frequent visitor to university sporting and cultural events, so you never know when you will get the chance to meet our new campus leader. If you can’t visit this upcoming academic year, you will be pleased to know we are planning our 50th anniversary party during the 2018 Homecoming. Make sure you Save the Date: Oct. 26 & Oct. 27, 2018.

Did you you have an internship this summer?

5 08 2015

By: Cindy Schultz (@SindeeLouHu)


If you held an internship this summer, we would love to hear about it.

Take a moment to fill out this survey letting us know where your internship was held this summer.

This data is collected and highlighted on maps within the Reading Room and in the hallway of the Department of Journalism.

This is a great opportunity to showcase the awesome companies/organizations where our students gain valuable job skills and wonderful networking opportunities for future employment.

If you have any questions, please direct them to journalism@uwosh.edu.

Do it now, before you forget!

Landing a Big City Job/Internship

4 08 2015

By Isaac Haight

IsaacHaight-150Whether you want to work in advertising, public relations or for a news outlet, journalism offers a wide variety of opportunities. However, many prospective professionals will find that the pinnacle of their career will lead them to a big city.

Big cities are typically home to the nation’s best agencies, largest corporations and world-renowned news outlets. But how do you land a job or internship in a larger city if you’re from a smaller city like Oshkosh?

Fortunately, UW Oshkosh has numerous alumni and current students who have made it in a big city. Hilary Stoeberl, who graduated from UW Oshkosh in May 2014, is working in downtown Chicago for a public relations agency named Zeno Group. She credits her networking ability for landing the job.

“Networking is the key to getting yourself into a big city,” Stoeberl said. “There are a number of ways it can benefit you. In some cases it might not lead directly to a job, but that person might be able to give you a referral or know of an opening you don’t.”

Being involved in various clubs or events is a good way to get your foot in the door for a networking opportunity. Stoeberl was the 2013-2014 PRSSA chapter president at UW Oshkosh and she credits the organization with being able to make professional contacts.

“Traveling to Chicago for regional conferences (helped) me build some of my relationships here,” Stoeberl said. “I also attended other national events and learned a lot from my peers within PRSSA.”

Networking may be essential to landing a job in a big city, but according to Ashley Whaples, who graduated in December 2014 and who works for FleishmanHillard in New York City, not selling yourself short is vital for a chance at a job.

“I didn’t have any contacts in New York when I applied for the job,” Whaples said. “I really had to sell myself to FleishmanHillard. Some of the best advice I got in school was to be OK with bragging about yourself in interviews. It can be kind of hard if you’re not used to it, but I think it was a difference maker for me.”

Whaples added that most job openings in big cities also have many more applicants, so standing out from the crowd is important.

“There can be hundreds of applicants for a job or internship, especially in a place like this, Chicago or Los Angeles,” Whaples said. “Getting an interview can be the toughest aspect of applying, but once you do get it, you have to be on top of your game. If you’re not willing to brag about yourself, not too many other people are going to either. The employer wants to see that you’re confident in your abilities.”

One thing that both Stoeberl and Whaples mentioned was being able to show a potential employer work samples. Bringing a portfolio to an in-person interview or providing a link to an online portfolio is a way to showcase an individual’s skills.

“I was surprised at an interview when the interviewer told me a lot of applicants don’t bring a portfolio or work samples to interviews,” Stoeberl said. “I think they were impressed that I brought it, even though I looked at it as an essential thing to do anyways. I think it helped me set myself apart.”

The Five Most Difficult Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

21 07 2015

By Grace Wardin


If you are interviewing with different businesspeople, chances are that they will ask you different questions based on the business or personalities of the staff members.

Some employers, especially those who focus on hiring creative and unique employees, may ask you uncommon or unusual questions, such as “Describe the color yellow to someone who is blind.” For those types of organizations you need to be prepared for anything.

But there are some questions that many, if not most, employers ask. Here’s how to answer those common questions:

  1.  “Tell me about yourself.”

Ah, yes. This question is often asked right off the bat and must be expected by all interviewees. Have a rehearsed (but not overly simulated) response. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Focus on the last point the most. Oh, and keep it clean! Don’t include what you do on the weekends if your main hobby is binge drinking.

  1. “Tell me about a time when a solution didn’t work.”

Employers want to know if you’ve learned from your mistakes. Answering a question that has a negative aspect to it is difficult, so have a few examples in mind of a time when your work could have been improved. Explain what you did to fix the situation (if anything), and why. Explain what you would do differently in the future. Also, be sure to have the opposite of this question in mind too, such as situations where you delivered superb work to a previous employer and why you were proud of it.

  1. “Why did you leave your previous employer, or why are you leaving your present job?”

Employers understand that the economy has caused some employers to downsize, so don’t be ashamed if this was the case with your last job. If you were fired for performance issues, it’s best to merely say you “parted ways” and re-focus the discussion on how your skill set matches the position you are applying for. If you currently have a job, focus on why you’re seeking greater opportunity, challenges and responsibility.

  1. “What can you tell me about this company?”

Do your homework and research the background and mission/vision statements of the company you’re interviewing for. This question usually catches people off guard since many don’t think to look up the overall goals of the company. People typically just know the job description inside and out, which is excellent, but not the only knowledge they need going into the interview. Know the names of the president and CEO, along with achievements and milestones of the company. Employers want to know that you’re interested in more than just the job.

  1. “Why should I hire you?”

Finish strong! This question is almost always asked in interviews, and many are unprepared to answer it, causing their answer to be vague and predictable. Before the interview, closely review the job description and qualifications to identify the skills and knowledge that are critical to the position. Illustrate why you are the most qualified candidate for this job by identifying experiences from your past that demonstrate those skills and knowledge.

Stressing The Little Things

7 07 2015

By Stephen Knoll

Stephen Knoll-150When preparing for a job interview, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to nail down your interviewing skills. Shoring up your resume and practicing your answers ahead of time are great strategies and will certainly help you, but there are smaller things that need to be taken care of as well.

Interpersonal communication is a bigger factor than many interviewees realize. It is important to remember that almost everything you do in an interview is being reviewed and judged by the interviewer. “Non-verbal cues definitely play into my impression of a candidate’s overall communication skills,” says Karl Hughes, director of technology at Packback, which specializes in e-textbook rentals. Handshakes, eye contact, verbal responses, facial expressions, body language, manners, etiquette — all of these little things are pieces of yourself that you need to be aware of when interviewing.

Body language is very important, since no one wants to hire a person who is visibly disinterested. That means no slouching or other lazy positions. However, having a perfect, upright posture isn’t always necessary either; it depends on the situation and type of interview. The best advice is to take a relaxed, but attentive posture. You can lean against a desk, or rest your forearms against a table and face your interviewer. Leaning forward makes you appear more eager and interested. Depending on the interviewing environment, you need to strike a balance between appearing relaxed and attentive while not seeming too rigid.

The same rules apply for your facial expressions. If an interviewer provides you with a situation or tough question and you look distressed or look down, your negative response reflects poorly on you. It’s never wise to look down or away from an interviewer because eye contact is so important. Even if you don’t know how to answer right away, it’s important to appear confident, and maintaining eye contact is an easy way to do that.

Beyond facial expressions, it’s also good to note how expressive you are with hands. Many people ‘talk with their hands’ and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as it’s not over-the-top. While over-exaggerated or flailing motions are unlikely to help in an interview, mild or subtle hand motions won’t hurt. Just make sure to research who you’re interviewing with and where you’re interviewing, especially for international jobs, since different cultures have different standards on hand gestures.

Besides non-verbal cues, it is equally important how you interact with others during the interview process. Whether it is the receptionist or the CEO, basic manners will go a long way. Sometimes these small interactions in the waiting room can be used as mini tests by employers to see how you treat others as well as interact with them. No one likes a rude person and employers are less likely to hire someone others view as being rude or abrasive.

“Any new hire has to come into our team and be able to communicate with the rest of our engineers as well as our non-technical people, so I pay attention to the person’s ability to look me in the eye, be honest when they don’t know the answer to a question, and seem like they’re listening,” Hughes says. These small interactions may seem insignificant in whether or not you will be hired, but it’s important to remember that everything you do is always being judged by others, especially when applying for a job.

The Value of Nonprofit Internships

23 06 2015

By Rebekah Ehlert

RebekahEhlert-150Finding an internship, easy. Just click a button to submit your resume onto Titan Jobs. In a week you get called by a nonprofit organization that wants you to intern. You’re so excited to have a real internship that you immediately accept their offer. And then later you realize you just accepted an unpaid internship. How are you going to pay your bills?

While money is great, unpaid internships can offer great experiences. Nonprofit organizations are less structured, simply because they can’t afford lots of employees. This could look scary for someone without innovation, but this is what separates “the men from the boys.”

To the successful intern, this means you can leave your own mark on the nonprofit group. You have the freedom to create a new program, do work the way you want to do it and stand out from the crowd compared to previous interns. The other employees basically treat you as an equal, which gives you full-time career freedoms.

The second best thing about nonprofit internships is the networking opportunities. You are constantly raising support and meeting with sponsors and volunteers to make your event happen. This is where you can make your impression. Who knows what connections can land you a full-time career?

And finally, the best thing about nonprofits is that many are known internationally. Special Olympics and World Relief are just a couple of the major nonprofits with internships in the Oshkosh area. Because you have experience with an international organization, you can easily share and form connections with employers. International companies carry a well-known name and common ground.

So rock that freedom, embrace the connections and showcase your experience with an internationally trusted nonprofit organization.

Internship Coordinator Barb Benish Helps Oshkosh Girl Scout Troop Achieve Gold Award

18 06 2015
From left: Cera Cadena, Destiny Stoeckert, Theresa Richard, Benish, Laura Benish, Delaney Diamond and Kendall Prehn

From left: Cera Cadena, Destiny Stoeckert, Theresa Richard, Barb Benish, Laura Benish, Delaney Diamond and Kendall Prehn

Receiving the Gold Award in Girl Scouts is a rare achievement that few Girl Scouts reach. Not only did one girl in an Oshkosh troop receive the Gold Award, but all six achieved the massive accomplishment. This is a big deal, especially when considering the fact that less than 5 percent of Girl Scouts earn the award nationally.

Journalism Internship Coordinator Barb Benish is the leader of Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 2092. Since the start of the troop when the girls were only in elementary school, Benish has helped the girls achieve their goals every step of the way. She also received the Girl Scout Volunteer Excellence Award for her dedication and service to Girl Scouts at their May 9 ceremony.

In order for scouts to receive the Gold Award, they must complete a seven-step project that makes a difference in the community. After choosing and researching an issue, Benish helped the girls create a plan.

The various projects took months and sometimes more than a year to complete. The girls chose projects that interested them, such as creating a prom dress closet that offers free dresses to Oshkosh and area teens for homecoming and prom, to encouraging children to exercise through a 6-week summer dance program, to creating 500 toys for cats at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society so they are happy and occupied until they are adopted. The three other projects focused on revitalizing sites at Terrell’s Island, the Wild Ones WILD Center and the Waukau Creek Nature Preserve.

The six girls worked a total of 523 hours finishing their projects, but family and friends put in an additional 570 hours to see those projects to fruition, for a total of 1,094 hours.

Along the way, Benish helped them find projects and provided encouragement and general support. The girls said that she is like a second mother to them. She did all this while teaching at UW Oshkosh and organizing the yearly NEWSPA event held on campus.

Even though the troop will disband next year, they will always carry the experiences they shared and the friendships they created. It just goes to show all the amazing things our professors do in and out of the classroom. Congratulations to Barb Benish and the girls of Troop 2092!


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