Friday, November 16, 2007

Great Alumni bring Knowledge to Current Students

One of the reasons that I love working at IU is that we have great alumni. In fact, the IU Alumni Association boasts of being the largest in the world…

And, luckily, the alumni from the IU Department of Telecommunications are terrific when it comes to giving back to their alma mater. I’m talking about giving of their time and knowledge to students and faculty. I have been on the receiving end of an abundance of such giving over the past couple of weeks. So much so that I’ll need to give it to you in two blog posts. Here’s the first:

It started with a visit from Mark DeBoskey who is the General Manager of Jazz 88.3 in San Diego. Mark has spent most of his career in SoCal working in radio. But, he got his start at student radio WIUS-FM. He came to town two weeks ago for a board of directors meeting for that station (now known as WIUX). Luckily for me he contacted our department’s director of alumni relations, Legene White, and told her he was coming to town. Legene knew that, with my background in radio, I’d enjoy meeting with Mark, and she was right. The three of us spent about an hour in my office listening to his station’s stream, talking about challenges associated with creating a successful (non-NPR) non-commercial station, and how much Bloomington has changed…and how much it has stayed wonderful old Bloomington…in the years he’s been away.

Then, this past Monday, I had a double-dose of alumni relations as two former students from the department were back on campus to visit with my current students. The first was Brad Holtz, the Program Director of WTTS-FM, an Album Adult Alternative station in town broadcasting to the Indianapolis market. Early this semester I had asked him to visit my T344 class and he graciously agreed. It was tremendous. He talked about the role of a radio Program Director being that of brand manager—responsible for not only the music on the air, but also the events, concerts, live broadcasts and web content. He also was able to discuss the role of consultants in radio…which is why I love bringing in alumni to talk to my classes…they talk about stuff I would never have brought up.

The students thought Brad was great, as the line up of students getting his business card afterwards indicates. I’ll certainly ask him to return in future semesters of T344.

Later that day Norbert Mundorf was a guest in the ICR-lab meeting. Norbert received his Ph.D from our department in 1987 and I first met (face-to-face, anyway) at that meeting where he discussed his research on self-efficacy and its impact on tendency in college students to report heavy-drinking behavior. Later, I took him to the ICR in Eigenmann. When he was in the ICR, working with Dolf Zillmann, it was located in a house on Dunn Street. And, interestingly, he lived in Eigenmann! Here's a picture of Mundorf with our department chair Walt Gantz.

Now, my alumni experiences continued this week when, on Wednesday, I took a flight to New York City! I’m actually finishing writing this on Friday…sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting to fly back to Indy. More on my NYC experience next time…

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