Redden Grants Bolster Media Production, Public Relations & Forensics

Three faculty members from the Department of Communication Studies received Redden Grants they will use to acquire television sports production equipment, for building a public relations case studies archive, and for funding the EIU Speech Team’s travel to a national competition.

Established in 1978, communication studies faculty have often applied for Redden Grants to acquire educational materials and to fund travel for undergraduate students. The grants awarded in 2015 will support academic and professional development in the areas of electronic media production, public relations and forensics.

Electronic Media Production

Mike Bradd, an associate professor and associate chair of the department, received a grant to fund equipment for covering sporting events on television.


Mike Bradd (L) calls an EIU men’s basketball game with Jack Ashmore (R).

Bradd described the equipment, “We purchased a shoulder rig  that provides better stability for a camera operator who can’t use a tripod, like the camera under the basket at a basketball game. Also, we purchased remote zoom controls that make it easier for camera operators to zoom their camera in and out when covering a live sports event.”

Bradd emphasized how the equipment will prepare students for future professional environments, “This equipment will help give our students a more realistic professional experience, and help them polish their shooting skills and become more proficient at shooting live sports,” said Bradd.

Public Relations

Dr. Claudia Janssen Danyi, assistant professor in the department, worked with Steve Brantley, Booth Library’s head of references and instructional services, to purchase public relations case studies in order to a build a digital case study platform for CMN 4920.

Claudia Janssen

Claudia Janssen Danyi works on the public relations case studies platform in Coleman Hall.

Janssen Danyi described what she acquired, as well as its future possibilities, “We purchased a variety of additional digital case study books and articles. These resources will become part of a dynamic case study platform, which instructors and students can add to each semester, for instance, by linking to media coverage on recent cases that come up throughout each semester, and by contributing their own case studies produced for the course.”

Similar to Bradd’s production equipment purchase, Janssen Danyi’s new case study platform promotes both academic and professional development. “Studying past and recent cases of public relations problems, challenges and solution is an important way for student to prepare for their PR careers. It allows them to apply and reflect their knowledge, analyze situations, and learn from others’ mistakes as well as from best practices. The platform will also allow students to ‘publish’ their own case analyses and share them with a broader audience,” said Janssen Danyi.

EIU Forensics

Sara Gronstal, head of the EIU speech team and communication studies instructor, secured funds to send the EIU Speech Team to Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament.


EIU Speech Team president Marcus Brown and director of forensics Sara Gonstral

Gronstal discussed the importance of attending the tournament for both the team and individuals alike, “The Redden Grant will allow our students to compete at the national level against students from colleges and  universities across the nation. Our students spend weeks and months honing their performances, and getting to travel to a national tournament and showcase all that hard work is an amazing opportunity. Last year, two of our students, Marques Brown and Austin Mejdrich, brought home some

Attending the national tournament has benefits for students long after the tournament concludes. “Attending a national tournament helps students gain confidence in their own voice and allows our EIU Speech Panthers to not only deliver messages they are passionate about, but to learn from others. Our students bring these messages back to campus and help change our community for the better – from participating in student programs on campus, to speaking up in class, to developing better speaking and writing skills, the students are able to translate these skills into life long lessons,” said Gronstal.

About Redden Grants

According to Eastern Illinois University, Jack Redden endured financial difficulties while a student at EIU from 1923-1926. In 1977, he donated money to create the awards that may be used for anything that improves undergraduate instruction.



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