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Spring 2017


In this issue

The spring 2017 issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter includes a presidential visit, an accreditation visit and a retirement.
  • Barack Obama’s speech at UNF gave communication students a chance to practice their journalism and public relations skills. Story here.
  • The site visit team for the top accreditor of journalism and mass communication programs inspected the Department of Communication’s B.S. in communication and recommended accreditation. Story here.
  • Media Week 2016 battled inclement weather and provided students with access to professionals in advertising, journalism, production and public relations. Story here.
  • The department’s master’s degree in communication management, which is collaborative, customizable and convenient, is taking applications for the fall term. Story here.
  • Amber Batteiger, class of 2012, helps save animals for the American Humane Association. Story here.
  • Derrick Richardson, class of 2014, has kind words for the public relations faculty members who continue to act as his mentors. Story here.
  • Jozsef Szeremi, who kept the department’s TV studio running for two decades, recently retired. Story here.
  • The Tech Tips column highlights the value of Google's mobile webpage testing site and Facebook's Analytics for Apps. Story here.
  • Stay current with faculty members’ most recent research and awards. Story here.
  • If you want to get more involved, there are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication. Story here 


John H. Parmelee, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair




Communication students cover many angles of presidential visit

Students in press pool at Obama speech 

Communication students worked the press area during the presidential campaign event at UNF.


During the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit UNF. His speech in the UNF Arena to a capacity crowd was also a special opportunity for communication majors. Students had a chance to meet with local and national journalists and political operatives. Multimedia journalism and production students received media credentials and covered the event, while public relations students escorted media to the press table, verified media credentials and chaperoned the reporters to the designated press areas.


Obama speaking at UNF

President Obama’s speech at UNF provided a laboratory for students to see the political communication process. 

Faculty members, such as Bobbi Doggett, Dr. Stephynie Perkins and Dr. Nataliya Roman, and about a dozen communication students got an insider’s view of what a presidential visit is like. The Nov. 3 speech was part of a Clinton campaign rally that drew a crowd of nearly 7,000 to the Arena. 


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Department of Communication wins praise during accreditation site visit


The department received a strong recommendation for accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication when members of the organization visited UNF in October 2016.


ACEJMC, which was established in 1945, currently accredits 111 communication programs around the world, including four universities in Florida. Achieving accreditation requires communication programs to meet nine standards, which deal with issues such as assessment of student learning, research productivity, diversity, resources and student services.


Communication programs are visited every six years by a team from ACEJMC to make sure they are meeting the nine standards. The department’s site visit team included Marie Hardin, dean of the College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University; Scott Fiene, director of the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at the University of Mississippi; and Mike Philipps, retired president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation.


Between Oct. 16-19, the team visited with faculty members, students, members of the department’s professional advisory board and those in UNF’s upper administration. The team also inspected the department’s TV studio and other facilities.


The department was found to be in compliance on all nine standards. Some of the “considerable strengths” noted by the site team in their report include:


  • Faculty members who are fully engaged in the life of the Department. Meetings occur regularly and address substantive issues of curriculum, assessment, programming and policy. Faculty members described these meetings as forums where they feel free to engage in robust discussions. “We’re not a rubber-stamp faculty,” noted a faculty member.  
  • A culture among faculty that is collegial and supportive. Senior faculty members mentor junior faculty, and colleagues work together on research and creative projects. New faculty members, including those in tenure- and non-tenure lines, say they feel engaged. “There’s much energy and excitement about the future of this department,” said one. “Everybody is valued.” 
  • A student-centered ethos. Students report that professors are accessible and dedicated to their success. Faculty members talk with pride about their students’ learning and success.  
  • An assessment program that is woven into course and curriculum development. The assessment plan appears to be one that has faculty engagement and provides meaningful results. That has translated into powerful student learning. 


The final vote on ACEJMC accreditation will take place in April. The ACEJMC website has more information about the accreditation process.


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Media Week continues to help students engage with communication professionals

Not even Hurricane Matthew could stop Media Week 2016, though the hurricane forced the first day’s activities to be rescheduled. The fourth annual event, which ran from Oct. 11-14, continued the Department of Communication’s tradition of bringing in professionals from advertising, public relations, journalism and production to interact with students on panels and over lunch.


Media Week 2016 lunch tweet 

Students were appreciative of the participation by media professionals, such as Tessa Duvall, education reporter for The Florida Times-Union (right), and Brian Jackson, sports anchor and reporter for WJXT-TV (center). 


Many departmental alumni contributed to Media Week, including Liz Anderson, PR manager for Firehouse Subs; Guy Barnhart, marketing manager for IceMuleCoolers; Lindsey Kilbride of WJCT Radio; Derrick Richardson, communication coordinator at Wounded Warrior Project; Marcel Robinson, commercial video editor at WCWJ-CW17; Ryan Shelley of Shelley Media Arts; Stacey Steiner, social media strategist at Client Focused Media; Zach Sweat, digital editor at Void Magazine; and Monica Whitsel of WJXT.


Media Week 2016 diversity panel

Chad Dominicis, president of Univision 18 Jacksonville (left), makes a point at the Domestic and Global Diversity Panel, as panelists (left to right) Jerry Smith, CEO and founder of PineRidge Film & Television; Kerry Baldwin, VP International of Web.com; and Fouad Raja Zabeneh, an Egyptian filmmaker, look on.


The keynote speaker was H. Lee Peterson, a veteran animation editor whose films have grossed over $2 billion worldwide. He started his career making music videos (such as Diana Ross, Rick Springfield and The Cars) and worked with Michael Jackson on “Moonwalker.” In addition to working for Pixar Animation, Peterson edited for all the major Hollywood studios, including Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios and DreamWorks. Peterson showed students short clips from some of his films and talked about the choices one makes as an editor. PineRidge Film & Television co-sponsored the event. 


Students, faculty, alumni and media professionals also discussed the event on Twitter using the #UNFMediaWeek hashtag.


Many of the panels can be viewed online. 



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Apply now for the M.S. in Communication Management

Thinking about an advanced degree in communication or management? How about combining the two? The Department of Communication offers a Master in Science in communication management. Collaborating with a variety of other colleges and departments on campus, the M.S. in communication management allows you, the student, to customize your degree to the field you prefer. Plus courses are offered either online or in the evenings for your convenience. 


Master's degree ad


The deadline for admission to fall 2017 classes is Aug. 1. 


Students will demonstrate an understanding of strategy, metrics, economics, ethical and legal issues, and social and cultural issues in communication and media management. In addition, students will conduct research that contributes to what is known about communication and media management.


To apply, click here.


For curriculum and admission requirements, click here.



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Journalism alum volunteers to save animals after flood

By Dr. Paula Horvath

Senior Instructor, Department of Communication


Amber Batteiger
Amber Batteiger’s work with the American Humane Association benefits many. 


Recent floods in Louisiana have devastated more than just human families with their ferocity and deadliness. 


Animals, both domestic and wild, have also become victims as the flood waters tore them from their owners and uprooted them from their homes. 


Emblematic of the devastation were six tiny 3-week-old kittens rescued from the flood waters. Scooped up by a caring passer-by the kittens were taken to one of several groups there to help the nonhuman survivors of the historic floods.


Amber Batteiger is a member of one of those groups. The 26-year-old Jupiter, Florida, resident and a 2012 UNF graduate, was on hand as a member of the American Humane Association’s emergency response team to help in just such situations. 


She and others quickly began bottle feeding the tiny babies as their mother was nowhere to be found when they were rescued. Within days, the kittens recovered enough to be sent elsewhere for safekeeping. 


Batteiger, who is the program and outreach coordinator for the emergency response team, had just arrived in Livingstone Parish, Louisiana, where some 75 percent of the homes had been destroyed. Called in by a local animal shelter, she and other AHA volunteers and employees were concentrating on rescuing, caring for, and searching for lost, wounded and separated animals. 


It’s the second flood Batteiger has responded to since December, when she assumed her current job. She’s also been called in to help on several hoarding cases.


As the first and oldest humane society in the country, the AHA has emergency teams and rescue vehicles scattered around the country in case they’re needed. The group has been responding to animal emergencies ever since World War I when it rescued thousands of war horses on the battlefields of Europe.


In addition to its rescue efforts, AHA is also handing out pet food and drinking water to Louisiana residents who request them. Although most of the animals being rescued are dogs and cats, Batteiger said she’s also dealt with everything from pet pigs and chickens to raccoons.


“It’s complete destruction,” Batteiger said. “You drive down the streets and all you see is debris for miles.”


The animals have been flooding into the overloaded shelters. Batteiger said her team is also there to help the shelters cope.


Batteiger and her team have been able to “save countless animals. It’s long hours but everybody is so dedicated and, at the end of the day, we’re all here to save animals.”



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Public relations alum dedicated to nonprofits

By Derrick Richardson

Class of 2014


 Derrick Richardson

Derrick Richardson’s interest in nonprofits resulted in a job at Wounded Warrior Project. 


While in college my desire was to work for a nonprofit, particularly Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and pursue my master’s degree as well. I started out as a marketing communications coordinator for a local small business, which originally was an internship, but turned out to be an actual position after doing great work in the position. Funds for the company got low. I was released of my duties, and I thought I was going to turn out to be one of the many college graduates who have a hard time trying to secure a stable job in their field.


That changed, because a month later I got hired in my current position as a communications coordinator at WWP. I said while at UNF I would work for WWP, and I accomplished that goal. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from UNF, I started at Purdue University, and I just recently graduated in August with a 3.9 GPA earning my masters in science. I won’t be stopping there as I have big plans for my future.


I’ve been at WWP for about a year and a half now, and I’m looking for more leadership positions now having a certification in strategic communication management and my master’s. Another goal of mine was to have my own nonprofit along with possibly working corporate communications for Coca-Cola. I’ve set goals for that now as well, and I’m taking action to accomplish those things. I’ve recently applied for positions with Coca-Cola, and I will be coming back to UNF to pursue my certification in nonprofit management. My plan is to be on the brink of starting my own nonprofit by the time I’m 30.


Through all my success, I’ll never forget my foundation of what started me on this path, and that’s the great university where I met many great people. I owe so much to UNF and that’s why I’m willing to do whatever I can to equip those who come after me, so they too can have the same story. To this day I still talk with Dr. Stephynie Perkins and professor Stephanie McLain-Araujo. I love them and I learned so much from their expertise, and will I always look to them as mentors. No matter where my career takes me, I will always swoop on!



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Department's senior broadcast engineer retires


Jozsef Szeremi and students in TV studio

 Jozsef Szeremi (center), in his signature flannel plaid, smiles with students on the TV set he helped build. 


Jozsef Szeremi said goodbye to UNF in December 2016 after near 20 years of service to the Department of Communication. Since starting in January 1998, Szeremi has assisted many faculty members and students with classes and broadcasts. Szeremi was also instrumental in helping the department move its TV studio in 2010 from Building 2 to updated facilities in Building 14D.


Dr. David Deeley said Szeremi was selfless during the installation process. “Moving into the new studio Jozsef utilized his prior acrobatic training while starting to position the lights. He began using the department's tallest ladder, which at the time came from the Building 2 studio. It was much shorter than the new studio ceiling height required, but he defied gravity and all of the warning stickers to somehow start installing the lights from the top step on the ladder.” Dr. David Goff, the department chair at the time, quickly purchased a taller ladder. 


Deeley describes Szeremi as “MacGyver-like” in terms of keeping equipment operational and modifying equipment to fit the department’s needs.


Szeremi’s replacement, Ken Thomas, is a graduate of the department and has spent more than 25 years as a photojournalist for local stations, including NBC/ABC affiliate First Coast News.



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Tech tips

By Dr. Chunsik Lee

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication


Introducing Google’s mobile webpage testing site  

Since it was a novice search startup, Google has long made efforts to improve the internet ecosystem, such as online privacy, piracy, security and, most importantly, internet speed. Certainly these activities are directly related to its product performance. Google offers a free mobile webpage testing site as mobile uses have surpassed desktop uses. Users can type in any web address (URL) and it will provide an evaluation report in terms of three categories: mobile friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. For each category, it lists components to be fixed, such as optimizing image, enabling compression and minifying JavaScript. 


Google is beta-testing Android Instant App in Android devices 

Google’s search power has been weakening as mobile search has surpassed desktop search. Google became just another app like any other in the mobile environment because splintered/fragmented mobile apps hindered a seamless mobile search experience. Apps are not as searchable as web pages. The mobile web is still very slow. If an application is found in Google apps, users should download the app. Google is planning to overcome these barriers with Android Instant Apps. This feature lets users use apps without downloading them. The key technology is to quickly download a tiny bit of app parts from highly “modularized” apps and to let users experience the apps. This is beneficial to apps publishers as well as users. Publishers do not need to beg for the app store rankings since their apps are readily searchable in Google. It remains to be seen whether this benefit will sufficiently incentivize app developers to participate in tweaking for Android Instant Apps.


Introducing Facebook Analytics for Apps 

Facebook is finally challenging Google Analytics, which is number one in the website measurement market, by launching Facebook Analytics for Apps. Facebook has only provided analytics for Facebook pages via Facebook Insights. It has many advantages over Google Analytics. Its most compelling feature is that it can provide accurate audience demographics based on Facebook profiles.


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Faculty activity


Dr. David Deeley gave a panel presentation, titled “Challenges and Triumphs of Teaching Television Studio Production,” at the Broadcast Education Association Conference, in Las Vegas.


Dr. Christine Holland presented “Building Effective Assessments for Team-Based Learning” to a workshop at the Florida Communication Association, Orlando.


Dr. Junga Kim and Dr. Chunsik Lee published "Examining the Role of Relationship Factors on eWOM Effectiveness in Social Media" in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising. 


Dr. John H. Parmelee and Dr. David Deeley published “Twitter Interactivity is Low Among Florida Political Reporters” in Newspaper Research Journal.


Dr. Margaret Stewart and Dr. Christa Arnold won 1st place in Professional Communication Scholarship with their paper "Defining Social Listening: Recognizing an Emerging Dimension of Listening" at the Florida Communication Association, Orlando. Drs. Steward and Arnold also published “Social Listening to Improve Customer Relations: A Case Study of an American Academic Library” in International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management.  


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Get involved


There are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication: 


1.     Join the department's Professional Advisory Board. The board helps us make sure we are getting students prepared for the current media environment. If you have risen to a position of leadership at a news organization, PR firm, advertising agency or other media outlet, please contact the department chair, John Parmelee. Even if you don't want to be on the board, feel free to e-mail the chair with any advice on making the curriculum better.  


2.     Join the department's alumni association. This is a great chance to interact with fellow communication alumni and current students. To join, please contact the department's alumni association, mention your interest in joining and please include your name, contact information, year of graduation and track. Also, all communication alumni are invited to be a part of the conversation on Facebook. This is the “go-to” spot for UNF communication alumni. The Facebook group includes information about alumni social events, recently posted communication jobs, tech tips, departmental news and pictures/video from departmental events such as Media Week. In addition, communication faculty members have joined the group, so you can connect with your old professors. Here’s how to join the alumni Facebook group: Search for UNF Communication Alumni and ask to join.  


3.     Let faculty know how you're doing. Below is a link that lists faculty and their e-mail addresses. Faculty love to hear what their former students are up to and are always happy to offer advice.


4.     Participate in the Internship Fair. Every spring, representatives from companies such as WJXT, The Florida Times-Union, United Way and Mayo Clinic meet with communication students to discuss upcoming internships and jobs. If you are a leader at a company that is looking for interns to do advertising, public relations, journalism or production, please contact professor Bobbi Doggett to participate.  


5.     Be a guest speaker. Your expertise in advertising, public relations, journalism or production could be a real benefit to current students. We are always looking for such guest speakers to come to communication classes. A good time to do this comes during the fall semester when the department hosts Media Week, an opportunity for media professionals to speak with students and faculty about the media landscape. Contact John Parmelee for more information.  


6.     Contribute to Alumni Notes. This is your chance to let faculty and fellow alumni know of any big career or personal changes in your life. Also, consider contributing a 300- to 500-word piece on which professors made the biggest impact on your career. Submissions will be published in the alumni newsletter. Contact John Parmelee to submit.  


7.     Donate to the department. Even a small gift can help us enhance our facilities, academics and recruiting of top-quality students and faculty. To contribute, please click here.


8.     Join us on Twitter and Facebook. 



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