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From the Dean

A Political Year

Iowa has already voted, in its quirky caucus way, for the Republican presidential candidates. New Hampshire is on the cusp, as I write this first note of the New Year. Then it’s South Carolina’s turn. We will only be two weeks into our spring semester, and the political circus will have come and gone.

That might be all right with you, but I’m teaching a spring course on Media & Politics. I was counting on having the first half of the course to focus on the primary process. Then Florida Republicans got all antsy and compressed the calendar. As I told my students when I sent them the course syllabus this week, neither politics nor journalism functions well in a rigid environment. My classes have one flexible guideline. If something occurs that’s more compelling than what is on the syllabus, we’ll make the most of it. When I taught a similar course in Washington, we were usefully diverted in successive years by President Clinton’s impeachment, the Bush-Gore court challenges of 2000, and 9/11.

There is academic purpose to the syllabus. It is a road map for where we plan to go over the course of a semester. We also emphasize outcomes that a student will take away from the course. Those side roads are not just whimsical distractions. They don’t just lead to interesting places, they produce understanding, in this case, of the convoluted political process. That’s a good outcome.

As we review and revise our curricula, there is a natural tension between traditional core competencies and the dynamics of our learning and working environment. Reality dictates that we both retain and innovate.

Towards the end of the semester, I’ll ask the class to scrap Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution and design a better way to elect a president. It’s not easy to set aside something that has worked reasonably well since 1787. (Florida was not at the Constitutional Convention.)

Over a span of 20 years covering politics, I spent a lot of time in the snows of Iowa and the cold of New Hampshire. It’s no wonder that the politicians and the press alike begin to look forward to the campaign turning to South Carolina. It’s a great teachable moment to have them here, even if they don’t stick around very long.

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Alumni News

Elizabeth MuthMuth Joins My Carolina Staff

Public relations alumna Elizabeth Muth has been hired by USC’s My Carolina Alumni Association as its director of alumni engagement.

Muth, ’05, joins My Carolina after previously working for three years as the director of development for the university’s athletics department.

Hearne Earns Teacher of the Year Honor

Kristen HearneKristen Hearne, '06 MLIS, was named Anderson School District 1’s Teacher of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year.

Hearne, a library media specialist at Wren Middle School, will represent Anderson District 1 in the competition for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. She will also serve on a state-wide advisory panel to the State Department of Education and will receive $1,000 in recognition of her outstanding achievements.

Nale Joins South Carolina Federal Credit Union

Rebekah Nale, '09 public relations, was hired as the Public Relations Coordinator by the South Carolina Federal Credit Union in Charleston. Nale previously worked with Savannah, Ga., organizations Abshire Public Relations and United Way of the Coastal Empire.

Holder’s Company Named one of the country’s Fastest Growing Print Firms

Advertising and public relations alumnus Jeff Holder’s company PrintTek, Inc., was named one of the fastest growing print distributors in the U.S. by Print Solutions Magazine. Holder, ’88, started the company in 1997 in Greer, S.C., and provides customized solutions for printing projects, procurement and inventory management.

SLIS Alumna featured on Good Morning Texas

SLIS alumna Jo Giudice, ’03 MLIS, was recently featured on ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV’s Good Morning Texas show. Giudice, manager of the Dallas Public Library, described new features of the library and showed off the library’s Book Mobile. Watch the video arrow

College News

Haney Earns Second Excellence in Teaching Award

Jim HaneyAdvertising and public relations instructor Jim Haney was named a 2011 recipient of USC's Mortar Board honor society’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Haney, who also earned the honor in 2006, was nominated for the award by public relations senior Christina Galardi.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for their exemplary scholarship, leadership and service. Teaching Award recipients are nominated for the award by Mortar Board members.



Liz Qunell Retires After 25 Years of Service

Liz QunellLiz Qunell retired in December after a quarter century of providing technology support for faculty, staff and students of the School of Library and Information Science.

School director Sam Hastings paid tribute to Qunell’s many-faceted service to the library school:

“Needless to say, we are going to miss her desperately. Her ‘picture of the week’ has been a favorite web feature. Under ‘other duties as described’ Liz is our photographer, our instructor for the online searching course, our technology wizard and, generally, the very best of employees! Her wry sense of humor and many kindnesses will be missed, and yet we say, have some fun dear Liz!  We thank you for all of your service and good work!”


Upcoming Events

Carolina Day at the State House
Feb. 8, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Capital City Club - 1201 Main St., Columbia, SC

Show your support for higher education on Carolina Day at the State House. Attend a special legislative briefing, visit with legislators and have lunch with President Harris Pastides at the Capital City Club. There is a $15 fee. Call 803-777-4111 or, toll-free, 800-476-8752 by Feb. 1.
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May Carolina Alumni Weekend
May 10-12
University of South Carolina campus

May Carolina Alumni Weekend is a Carolina springtime tradition that offers innovative and relevant exhibits, lectures, tours and receptions. Make plans to join us and let the natural beauty of the University of South Carolina campus inspire you this spring! For more information, contact Jane Lavender at janel@carolinaalumni.org or 803-777-4112



Sig Huitt Helps Lead the Way as Carolina’s Promise Capital Campaign Chair

By Joshua Joiner, SJMC Graduate Student

With a goal of raising $1 billion, the University of South Carolina’s recently announced Carolina’s Promise campaign is the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in the state’s history. As the capital campaign chair for the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, Sig Huitt is helping to lead the way in the college’s effort to meet its goal of raising $11.5 million of the campaign’s total amount.

Huitt knows the task will be a challenge, but he’s confident the campaign’s goal can be reached. “I think it is a challenging goal for the entire university, but it’s by no means unattainable,” he said. “As a driver of the state’s ambitions and fortunes, there’s a need to strengthen the university in a way that ensures the promising future that we all want for our state and our region. To do that, we need to be proactive in raising capital.”

Huitt, a resident of Rock Hill, earned a news editorial degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1967. He is the founder and managing principal of Carolina PR, a successful firm based in Charlotte and Columbia. Prior to launching the firm 28 years ago, Huitt worked as The State newspaper’s Piedmont bureau chief in Rock Hill and served as editor of the Union Daily Times before he returned to USC and worked for eight years as the university’s director of information services.

Along with serving on various college boards and committees, professional success allowed Huitt and his wife Judy to endow a School of Journalism and Mass Communications scholarship in their name. Sig HuittEach year it assists one or more students pursuing a well-rounded communications degree. For Huitt, donating time and money to the college not only allows him to stay involved, but is also a way for him to give back.

“I can’t quantify what I gained from the college since I first came there as a student in 1963,” said Huitt, a 2002 School of Journalism and Mass Communications Distinguished Alumnus. “It’s very meaningful for me to continue to be involved in the university and the college. So much of my professional success is due to the education and background I received during my time as a student. By giving back in various ways, I know I’m helping to ensure the same opportunities I’ve had for future students.”

His involvement in Carolina’s Promise affords Huitt another opportunity to support the college and its continued growth. Among other areas, funds from the campaign will be used to improve the college’s facilities, enhance degree programs in the college’s two schools and provide for more student support and faculty development.



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Carolina Day at the State House
Feb. 8, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Capital City Club - 1201 Main St., Columbia, SC

May Carolina Alumni Weekend
May 10-12
University of South Carolina campus




A Time Capsule. Last seen in the Carolina Coliseum a few decades ago. If you have any information leading to the recovery of our time capsule, please contact Elaine Taylor (taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu)


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