Lambda Pi Eta Inducts New Members for 2017 and Cords Graduating Seniors

April 14, 2017

At the CMN Department’s Scholarship and Awards Ceremony on April 9th, 2017, Lambda Pi Eta, the national honorary society for Communication Studies, inducted new members and presented cords for seniors to wear at graduation.

Lambda Pi Eta represents what Aristotle described in The Rhetoric as three ingredients of persuasion. The L is for logos, meaning logic; the P is for pathos, relating to emotion; and the E is for ethos, defined as character credibility and ethics.

Goals of Lambda Pi Eta

  • Recognize, foster, and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies
  • Stimulate interest in the field of communication
  • Promote and encourage professional development among communication majors
  • Provide an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas in the field of communication
  • Establish and maintain closer relationships between faculty and students
  • Explore options for graduate education in communication studies

To be eligible for membership, students must have completed 60 semester hours in undergraduate courses; have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; and have a GPA of at least 3.25 in the Communication major.

The new members inducted were: 

  • Maria Baldwin
  • Rachel Crutcher
  • Maria DeVito
  • Brianna Welk

The members that were presented with cords were: 

  • Jamie Baumgartner
  • Alex (AJ) Seidler
  • Colleen Danaher
  • McKenna Smith
  • Rachelle Krausen
  • Robyn McKeown

CMN Department Awards and Scholarship Ceremony 2017

April 14, 2017

On Sunday April 9th, about 30 students were honored with scholarships and awards totaling over $15,000.

Undergraduate Award Winners: 

  • Catie Witt, Outstanding Senior
  • Derek Wunder, Outstanding Junior
  • James Bateman, Outstanding Lab Asst
  • Dalano Martin, Inspired Achievement
Graduate Award Winners: 
  • Kelli Halfman, Outstanding Graduate Student
  • Olubusola Akinpelu, Distinguished International Student
  • Brandon Goodman, Research/Creative Activity Grant
  • Alli Grussing, Research/Creative Activity Grant
Scholarship Winners: 
  • Natalie Standley, Kenneth E. Hadwiger PhD Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Emannuel Ayiku, Jack L. Payan Scholarship
  • Chloe Gottschalk, Betty Lou Balasi Scholarship
  • Payton Blakney, Dr. J. Glenn Ross Scholarship
  • Lacey Jenkins, Carol Manhart Scholarship
  • Kayla Quick, Kenneth E. Hadwiger PhD Graduate Scholarship
  • Makenzie Hayden, Jon J. Hopkins Memorial Speech Education Scholarship
  • Kaitlyn Ebert, Ralph Y. McGinnis Scholarship
Bock Undergraduate Research Award Winners: 
  • Lauren Eberle, First Place, Bock Undergraduate Research Paper Competition
  • Makenzie Hayden, Second Place, Bock Undergraduate Research Paper Competition
  • Rachelle Krausen, Third Place, Bock Undergraduate Research Paper Competition

Communication Day, 2017

April 14, 2017

Faculty, staff, and students came together to celebrate Communication Day which included music, performances, and practical and applied panels.

EIU CMN/Broadcasting Students Win Awards!

October 19, 2016


(Pictured: Katlyn Quill and Jesse Guinn)

Two EIU Communication Studies students were recognized Friday in a statewide contest for student broadcasters.  The Illinois Broadcasters Association held the awards ceremony for its Student Silver Dome Awards.  EIU students recognized include:

  • Katlyn Quill (2016 graduate) – 2nd place for Best Radio Longform Programming for her news report on the Fund EIU Rally in February
  • Lacey Clifton – 2nd place for Best TV Weathercast
  • Jesse Guinn – 3rd place for Best TV Weathercast
  • WEIU News Watch – 3rd place for Best TV Newscast

The awards were presented at the annual IBA-U Student Broadcasting Conference at Illinois State University in Normal.  Nine students from Eastern attended the conference.

CMN Student Wins Regional Student Emmy Award

October 5, 2016


Jesse Guinn has been awarded a Regional Student Emmy Award for his work as an on-air talent in Weather Forecasting and News Anchoring at WEIU-TV.

Jesse received the award last Saturday at the Mid-America Emmy Awards in Branson, Missouri.

Jesse is a senior from New Castle, Indiana and is a double major in Communication Studies and Geography, with a minor in Broadcast Meteorology.

Also, the WEIU-TV student produced nightly newscast News Watch received an Honorable Mention for Best Student Newscast in the Mid-America Region.

CMN Faculty and Alumni Attend State Conference

October 4, 2016

On September 22, 23, and 24, EIU Faculty member Dr. Rich Jones, current MA candidate Jamie Alexander, and several EIU alumni (Clinton Brown, Emily Vajjala, and Alyssa Obradovich) presented at the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association’s annual convention in Lisle, IL.

Jones, Brown, and Obradovich also serve on the Board of Directors for ICTA. Dr. Jones is in his fourth year as the Higher Education Chair. Clinton Brown (BA 2013, MA 2015) is the Student Representative. Alyssa Obradovich (BA 2008, MA 2011) is the Higher Education PR/Membership Representative.


Emily Vajjala (BA 2010, MA 2014) received the L.E. Norton Outstanding Higher Education Speech Student Award. Her MA advisor, Rich Jones, nominated her for the award and presented it to her.



Jones, Clinton, Obradovich, and Vajjala presented on the panel titled: Mentor/Mentee Fresh! Establishing and Evolving Mentor Relationships in Higher Education.

Obradovich presented on a panel titled: The First Day of Class: Creating a Climate for Community Learning.

Jones presented on a panel titled: Teaching Critical Thinking Across the Discipline.


CMN Hosts Debate Watch 2016

September 26, 2016

debate-watch-2016-email-jpgCMN hosted a “Debate Watch” event for the first presidential debate.

Lumpkin Hall Auditorium was filled and overflow classrooms were used to accommodate extra students.



Dr. Marita Gronnvoll, Dr. Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, and Sara Gronstal (all CMN faculty) organized the event.

Student groups were also present to help register attendees to vote.


The Department of Communication Studies Launches New Public Relations Major

September 21, 2016


The Department of Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University is launching a new Public Relations new major starting in the fall of 2016. Information about the new major can be found here:

Conversations over the new major began in the spring of 2012 because of duplicate PR programs in both journalism and communication studies. The new PR major adopts a student-centered approach based on the national recommendations and considerations of the Commission on Public Relations Education, which includes members from professional organizations, public relations businesses, and leading public relations scholars. Once the proposal was agreed upon in principal by journalism and communication studies, the approval process moved quite swiftly through the university curriculum committees, the board of trustees, and ultimately the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

There will be high demand for the major in the coming years. Public relations is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that job opportunities as Public Relations Specialists will grow by 12% between 2012-2022. In addition, the Department of Labor indicates there will be significant growth of Public Relations Managers (13%), Event Planners (33%), Promotions Managers (12%), and Market Research Analysts (32%) during the same time period. In 2015 U.S. News and World Report ranked Public Relations Specialist as 75th on its Best Jobs list, ranked it as the Best Creative Job, and boasted about its 0.2% unemployment rate[1].

The new major focuses on teaching students about important trends contemporary public relations. The curriculum is designed to provide a foundational experience in public relations through a balance of theory and practice. It provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the profession and offers significant practical experiences that challenge and engage students in the practice of the profession. The course content focuses heavily on the strategic management of communication and building/maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between organizations/individuals and their stakeholders. For example, the new Public Relations Research, Evaluation, and Measurement course will help students understand the role of data in public relations today, how to collect it, and then what to do with it.

According to the PR faculty member Dr. Matt Gill, “Even though media has changed over the last twenty years, good writing is still at the heart of the public relations.” Instead of offering one writing class, the major offers a   new course titled Advanced Public Relations Writing. The new curriculum gives us the flexibility to teach advanced public relations writing techniques and provides space to focus more coursework on writing in specific contexts, such as social media or web content. Students also receive the added benefit of more time to improve and practice their writing.

Other exciting new courses include Public Relations Campaigns, which allows students to put together different aspects of public relations and experience what it is like to create and execute a coherent and cohesive campaign. The major also offers a capstone special topics course for students to explore topic areas and emerging issues in the field with considerably more depth than can be covered in other content courses.

In the fall the Communication Studies department will take control over The Agency, an on-campus, student run public relations firm that had been in the journalism department. Combined with EIU’s PRSSA chapter, The Agency will provide public relations majors another outlet for professional growth and practical experience.


Submitted by Dr. Molly Niesen

Communication Studies goes to Ireland

September 7, 2016

irelandgroup2016The Department of Communication Studies at EIU hosted a study abroad trip to Ireland over the summer of 2016. AJ Walsh, faculty member in Communication Studies at EIU, included International Business Abroad with Jason Kight of the Lumpkin School of Business in her faculty-led Intercultural Communication Study Abroad program.

The group of 7 students and 2 faculty members spent 26 days in Ireland. The students visited Northern Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland.  A major component of the trip was learning about how Irish history has shaped intercultural communication and communication practices in the region. For example, the students took a Bloody Sunday tour led by a former member of the IRA, who is now working to bring peace and reconciliation.  They also visited Corrymeela Reconciliation Center and learned about the negotiations between Northern Ireland and southern Ireland during “The Troubles” and the continuing efforts to improve communication between nations and cultures. A major component of the program involves having students interacting with the Irish and British peoples, exploring contemporary expressions of culture.

A.J. Walsh will lead another study abroad program this coming summer to the same locations.  According to Walsh, the experience of study abroad is indispensable for students because it is a “life-changing perspective-altering experience at a critical time in a college student’s life.”  Further, she notes that spending nearly a month living in another country isn’t something that students will likely be able to do after college.

Study Abroad trips like these offer students cultural awareness they can bring to their future beyond EIU. While the team of faculty members continues to try to make study abroad affordable, many students are only able to attend because of scholarships “Finding funding for students is always a challenge, and we help students turn over every rock” says Walsh.

Submitted by Dr. Molly Niesen

Annual Multimedia Contest Recognizes Excellence in Media Production

June 4, 2016

On May 2, the Department of Communication Studies awarded the winners of its annual multimedia contest.

The competition rewards excellence in the production of a variety of video productions (including documentary, news package, creative, and spot), audio production as well as web design.

Communication studies students submitted productions from coursework, membership in registered student organizations, internships (such as at EIU 360), and independent productions created especially for the event.

The competitive contest had 57 submissions this year and six full-time communication studies faculty judged the categories. The top three in each category were screened for the appreciative audience in the Coleman Auditorium.

The complete list of winners for each category with the top video for each embedded.

Video – Creative:
1. Dakota Pruemer: “James’ Dreams”

2. Dion McNeil – “Spaceship Elevator
3. Kyle Ruckert – “Gettysburg
4. Kris Wilcox – “Shooting on Set

Video – PSA / Commercial:
1. Matt Condon – “Free Education PSA”

2. Melissa Meiselman – “Healthy Lifestyles PSA
3. Blake Warman – “What Gets You Thinking

Tylen Elliot (
2. Dion McNeil (

TV News:
Lacey Clifton – “Firefighter Training”

2. Tori Stoll – “News Watch Promo
3. Jesse Guinn – “ISP Training

Video – Documentary:
Dakota Pruemer – “Grilled Cheese Please”

2. Tyler Yunk – “Cross Country Documentary
3. (tied) Greg Hayes – “A Conscious Art”  &  Kayla Myers – “Beyond the Blog

Radio – PSA / Commercial
Jesse Guinn – “Inyart Tire and Auto”

2. Justin Skare – “Z’s Music
3. James Bateman – “Hit-Mix Promo