Journalism Department Chair Welcomes Students to Sage Hall

Welcome to our new home

The chair of the Department of Journalism, Professor Mike Cowling, would like to welcome all students to our wonderful new classrooms and offices in Sage Hall.

“I hope that students are adjusting well to the new building and are able to find their way around here, because it’s sort of like a maze until you get used to it,” he said.

As students explore the new journalism facilities, they will see that the department still has three fully equipped computer labs dedicated to journalism classes, a scanning room, a newly furnished reading room, and a new digital photo lab.

“The photo lab is a great addition to the program,” Cowling said. “It includes a new digital camera for use in the studio, new lighting and a new display table, among other features. The lab should greatly enhance our visual media courses.”

Sage Hall is a green building with the latest technology. Cowling said the faculty will work hard to ensure that as the technology continues to evolve the department will be able to keep up with the latest developments.

For now, here are some things to look forward to as we settle into our new academic home.

Alumni and student Homecoming events

During Homecoming weekend, the journalism department will host an alumni reunion, its first in several years. On Friday, Oct. 21, the department will host a social media event in the afternoon. That will be followed by a panel discussion featuring two of the three journalism alumni who will receive awards at a dinner that evening.

Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editor in chief of, will be honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and Michael Fredrick, creative director at the public relations firm Bader Rutter in Milwaukee, will receive an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Lori Kraus, who handles on-air promotions at CNN in Atlanta, also will receive an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. The panel session will focus of how the department’s award-winning alumni have achieved their prominent positions.

The next day, Saturday, Oct. 22, will be the department open house from 9 a.m. to noon in the journalism facilities in Sage. Alumni, students, current faculty and former faculty will be among the guests. Activities will include the formal recognition of two new journalism scholarships awarded last spring, and the announcement of a fund-raising initiative. Special displays by student organizations, a photo slide show of the department past and present, and food and refreshments will be available during the open house.

“We hope to get students excited about the reunion and to come and network with alumni who have done very well in their professions,” Cowling said. “I know that current students will benefit from having the alumni here.”

Accreditation revisit

In November, a site team from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications will be reviewing the journalism program. Two representatives of ACEJMC will meet with students and faculty, with a focus on curriculum.

This fall, the department has implemented a revised curriculum for new journalism majors. These changes, among others, should help the department earn full re-accreditation from ACEJMC. Accreditation is important for the program because it helps to keep classroom sizes small, establishes important professional standards, and adds credibility to the program.

New and Emerging Media classes

Another exciting addition to the program is the New and Emerging Media trial class being taught by Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen, and the Application of New and Emerging Media trial class that will be taught by Dr. Julie Henderson. The department is completing the paperwork necessary to make these two classes permanent courses in the program. The addition of these classes will help students better prepare for using social media and emerging technology in the workplace.


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