By The Numbers


We’re growing, and that’s a very good sign. Enrollment for the fall is up in all aspects of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. We’re pleased and, frankly, pleasantly surprised.  Continuing economic uncertainty gave us pause.


Undergraduate enrollment in the journalism school is again nearing 1400 students, after a two-year decline. Our new undergraduate degree in information science, now one year old, has double digit enrollment. Small, but growing. Statistically, we could say we grew that program 300 percent in one year, but we believe in truth in advertising.


Graduate programs have also increased their numbers. SLIS has inaugurated a broad New England cohort for its MLIS degree, expanding for the first time beyond our successful program in Maine, and welcomed its second group of doctoral students. SJMC has notched up the numbers of both master’s and doctoral students. 


Throughout the summer, we were concerned that undergraduate enrollment in our largest unit, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, would be off this year.  Understandably, students and parents were cautious about committing.  A good contingent of transfer students has joined our freshmen, too. Video and photos >


Hastings and PardunWe want to keep growing carefully.  We’re confident the information science program will expand as students grasp how well it dovetails with the knowledge economy. I tell prospective mass comm students—and their parents—that this is a dynamic, if unsettling, time for all aspects of communications.  Our role is not to prepare students for today’s jobs and certainly not yesterday’s, but for jobs that may not yet exist when they are entering freshmen. 


It’s a challenge, of course. Still, I’d rather be a 20-something entering a dynamic field, than a 40-something trying to hang on in a torrent of change. Probably how the monk calligraphers felt when Gutenberg invented moveable type.


Ultimately, we’re interested in more than numbers. We want quality students. Passionate in their pursuits would be good, too. Adventuresome, doesn’t hurt. 


We’re already seeing high school seniors, readying their college applications, and juniors on their exploratory trips. Carol Pardun and I will be writing hundreds of post cards again this year to high school seniors interested in our programs. Sam Hastings will be, too.  More than a few of our freshmen say that personal touch mattered to them.


Our faculty and alumni have a reputation for caring about students. You can help in our recruiting effort this coming year. If you’d be willing to talk to a prospective student in your town or your profession, let us know.






Alumni News


South Carolina’s Dawn Ellerbe Moves to
Cal State East BayDawn Ellerbe

Dawn Ellerbe, ’96 advertising and public relations alumna and world-class record-holding Olympic athlete for the hammer throw in track and field, has been named assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions for Cal State East Bay.


Her charge is to increase awareness of the university’s athletics program and grow the fan base through expansion of their community engagement program and development of the game day environment. She had been director of marketing events and public relations for South Carolina’s athletics department.



Alumna Leading Certified South Carolina Grown Program

Advertising alumna Ansley Rast, ’05, grew up on a cotton farm. Now she’s helping Carolina farmers find new marketing and cropping options through the multi-phase marketing program, Certified South Carolina Grown. This program provides new market options for state growers and new cropping options for niche farmers trying to match their products to local food store and restaurant needs. The program was initiated in 2007 by the SC Department of Agriculture and has added more steps each year such as Fresh on the Menu and Palmettovore Program. Read more >



Darci StricklandAlumna is Television Personality of the Year

Darci Strickland, ’97 broadcast alumna, is the 2009 STAR Award Television Personality of the Year. The WLTX-TV evening anchor is an Emmy award-winning journalist and also very involved in the community. The STAR award was presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association last month.




Journalism Alumnus Elected Library Board Chair

Dan Mackey, ’63, is the new chair of the South Carolina State Library Board of Trustees. Mackey was elected in June. Mackey retired in 1999 as director of the South Carolina State Budget and Control Board’s office of regional development. He most recently served as the interim director for the Kershaw County Library. Read more >


College News


Two Library Students Receive Grants


Jamie Pelletier, a MLIS student in our Maine cohort and a school library media specialist at Wallagrass Elementary School, received a $50,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. The grant will be used to turn the school’s small library into a larger, more modern, kid-friendly space.  


Jenny Cox, a MLIS student in Georgetown, SC and a school library media specialist at Kensington Elementary School, received a $5,000 grant from Dollar General to purchase leveled sets of books to enhance the school library’s Balanced Literacy initiative.



Journalism Class Takes on College’s Alumni Magazine




Lisa SiskInstructor and InterCom editor Lisa Sisk has created and is teaching a new class this semester, Special Topics in Magazine Production, that will produce the fall issue of our alumni magazine, InterCom. The students will write the stories, do the photography, create the design and produce companion Web material for this issue. The class also will blog about the experience. Stay tuned to for the link.


Twelve undergraduate students–whose majors include public relations, advertising, print journalism, visual communications and business–and three graduate students are excited to begin writing the stories and planning the rest of the content for the magazine and Web site.


Early in the semester, the graduate students will conduct a readership survey. Watch your e-mail for the link to the questionnaire so you can tell us what you want from your magazine. We truly appreciate–and need–your input!



Student-Run Agency Secures Diverse Clients for Fall Semester

The Carolina Agency, TCA, a full service advertising and public relations agency run by students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has a diverse group of clients for this semester.  The students will shoot a television commercial for Camden’s fall Colonial Cup steeplechase race, help with guerilla marketing for the Colonial Life Arena “Walking with Dinosaurs” show and assist the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Midlands with the semi-annual fund raising mailer, just to name a few of the projects. TCA immerses students in an agency environment to provide them real world experience in their chosen profession and develop solid portfolio work. Instructor Jeff Ranta is the faculty advisor for TCA.


Journalism Faculty and Alumni Heading Communications Programs Across the Map


Former faculty member Dr. Sonya Forte Duhe is the new director of the Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communication in the College of Social Sciences.


Former faculty member Dr. Lynn Zoch is the founding director of the new School of Communication at Radford University.


Alumnus Brad Hamm is the dean of Indiana University’s School of Journalism.


Distinguished alumnus Van King is founding dean of the new School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte.


Former USC Dean Judy VanSlyke Turk is director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications.


Jay BenderProfessor Jay Bender Selected for 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America


Jay Bender, the Reid H. Montgomery Freedom of Information Chair, is a part of a distinguished group of attorneys who have now been listed in Best Lawyers® for 10 years or longer. His peers selected him for inclusion in this issue. Bender teaches Law and Ethics in Mass Media in the J-school and is also a member of the faculty in the university’s School of Law.




Donor Spotlight


Donor Spotlight on Jack Bryan


Jack BryanJack Bryan enrolled in the College of Library and Information Science in fall 1973. While he was still in school, the college’s dean, Dean Yenawine, suggested Jack apply for a part-time position with the state’s Attorney General’s Office assisting with research and emerging computer technology.  After four months in his part-time role, a key administrator took a leave of absence and Jack temporarily assumed many of his responsibilities. It would not be as much of a story had Jack’s colleague returned as planned. But the colleague did not return and Jack received a full-time job offer. He was charged with multiple responsibilities which included supervising the Office’s law library and supervising its law clerks. Jack completed his Master of Librarianship in 1974, and a Librarianship Specialist degree in 1986.


Fast forward years later, and the guy who pursued librarianship for the multiple job options has become what some state employees call a life-timer. Jack has worked with the Attorney General’s Office for 35 years. Bryan attributes his career to the assistance he received from his dean while he was still enrolled in school. It is this gratitude that led him to establish a scholarship in the college. “I felt I owed the college something for my career,” he said. Bryan has made several gifts to the college in the last decade.


The Cook Evans Kaminski Fellowship Fund will assist students seeking to combine high ethical standards with a burning commitment to public administration. “I have seen the best of South Carolina public servants and named this scholarship for three who specifically worked in ethics or public administration for elected officials. Public service is an honorable profession and it needs a constant flow of new and invigorated talent to serve the public as government is intended,” Bryan said.


Bryan created a second scholarship in memory of his best friend’s son, Kirt, and in honor of Bryan’s nephew, Jonathan, both special needs children. “Kirt was born with Down's Syndrome and primary pulmonary hypertension, a life threatening condition. He lost his battle with that disease while in high school. Jonathan lost oxygen to his brain during birth and will never be independent. This scholarship is for a library student who has the interest to do medical research in such issues or for a patient librarian or story teller who would help these children and make them laugh.”


Additionally, Bryan has recently made a gift-in-kind to the conference room in Davis College. “My recent gift fulfils a long time need I have seen from outside the school. School directors are also business people and at Davis they had no appropriate business place to conduct meetings. I feel strongly that it helps the directors recruit faculty, students or contributors by having a room that says, ‘Hey, we are serious and this moment is special.’ And it may remind students that this school and their time there are also special and not to be treated lightly."


Bryan believes all alumni should consider ways they may be able to help the university. “It’s not about the ‘how much’ but rather the fact they give something be it time, money, knowledge or contacts,” he said. “If the alumni don’t do it, then who will?” Clearly, Bryan is a man who believes that good fortune should be passed on. “Our forebears opened the doors for us. We, as alumni, have the same responsibility. Never forget where you came from. Never forget what someone else did for you and what they forgave in the process.”


Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight on Doug Fisher


By Doug Fisher


Tell people you spent seven weeks of your summer commuting to Sumter three days a week, and they look at you a little oddly. But I had a blast. I was back in a newsroom at The Item doing some editing, a little bit of writing and lots of coaching, teaching and researching to help the 17,000-circulation paper get a better handle on operating in the digital age.


Doug FisherThe Item faces the same challenges as other newsrooms, aggravated by the recession. The audience is splintering, and a business model that has been based on control of distribution as much as on the content is damaged. But as a community paper, its business has not been dented quite so badly as the metros, and it has had time to learn from their mistakes.


The Osteen family owners also "get it," knowing there is much work to be done and cultural and structural change to be made. They realize those are mobile phones, not newspapers, hanging off their readers' belts, adding yet more complexity to a business where complexity has increased exponentially.


It's easy to get overwhelmed by the new and sometimes unfamiliar perspectives of becoming a "retail" business after decades of "wholesaling" news to the public. And even among their younger staff, the tendency is to default to those old ways in the crush to get out a daily news report online and in the paper.


Part of my visit was to help make things a little less overwhelming.


I return to the classroom with a richer understanding of the complexities for even small news organizations navigating through this and reinforced in the need for strong grounding in the basics. I am not so sure, however, "the basics" are as agnostic as we sometimes make them seem.


I think those basics must be taught in a way that recognizes the new digital reality. But it also must realize that many graduates will find jobs in organizations where, when things get tough, the tendency is to default to the old ways, not find new ones. The challenge will be to give them the tools – and the fortitude – to change that, one story at a time. I also return to the classroom with at least a semester's worth of copy examples and potential labs from my time on the desk.





    Friday, October 23

    Gamecocks on the Green

    4:30 – 7 p.m.

    Take part in this annual tradition as we kick-off Homecoming Weekend on Gibbes Green.

    Reconnect with former classmates and faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science. We’ll have good food, refreshing drinks and activities to engage the children. Arrive before 5:30 p.m. to have your photo taken with Cocky.

    Reply by Oct. 9 to Elaine Taylor at or call 803-777-7118 for more information.


    Davis College 100th Birthday Party Tea

    Sunday, Oct. 25

    Davis College

    4 p.m.

    Help us celebrate the beautiful building that houses our School of Library and Information Science  and welcome our ALA accreditation team at the birthday party tea! RSVP to Carolyn Delton at

    To see the full schedule of University events for Homecoming weekend, visit             

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This newsletter is published once a month by the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. If you wish to contribute a story or idea to this, please contact Elaine Taylor.

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