Communication faculty and programs to change next year

By Montgomery Sparrow

Two faculty members in the Department of Communication Studies will not be returning next year, though no programs will be cut.

Mark Bishop, associate professor of communication, notified the university in January that he is returning to Olivet Nazarene University where he taught for 12 years before coming to Trevecca.

Bishop said he is going back to Olivet to be near family.

“I have been invited back, “ he said.  “After being here, it was clear that we need to be near our family.”

Jamey Durham, associate professor of communication, also confirmed he is not returning to Trevecca next year.

“I was given no reason on why I’m not returning,” he said.  “They let me go and said they were under no legal obligation to tell me why. It was strictly business and it was nothing personal.”

No programs will be cut, and communication students can expect to continue courses as planned.

Lena Welch, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said it was a “perfect storm” that led to a decision to seek more of a video generalist for the department and find one person to fill both mass media positions.

“Honestly, our media program has not grown as much as we had hoped. Going forward, at least for this coming year, we would just have one media position and we need more of a generalist,” she said.

The department recently developed two new curriculums: a B.S. in Multimedia Journalism and a B.S. in Media Arts and Studies. The department’s plan is to staff three classes next year with adjuncts while it does a search for someone who can teach in both programs.

“It’s just that looking at the size of the program, we really need the one position and we need someone who is able to teach more of the multi-media, journalism, broadcasting—more of the news and multi-media,” Welch said.

For next year, the department is in conversation with local media professionals who would join half-time instructor Jo Ellen Werking Weedman in teaching in the multi-media journalism program and also teach video courses in the Media Arts and Studies program while the department searches for a full-time faculty member.

“Professor Weedman is helping us make some contacts and we’d like to be able to make some in roads into the media outlets around town,” Welch said.  “It would be great if we could find some people who are reporting for local media.”

Some students said they worry that adjuncts will not aspire to the care that Durham gave to his students.

Carmel Johnson, a junior majoring in dramatic arts and minoring in film studies, believes that he would not have done certain film projects if it wasn’t for Durham pushing him towards those endeavors.

“I’m worried because I don’t think there will be any student-teacher relationships with an adjunct who comes every now and then, someone who is not on campus all the time,” Johnson said.

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