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From the Dean

Into the Wild

Summer reading for this fall's freshman class was Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, the saga of a young man's venture into self-discovery, self-sufficiency or selfishness, depending on how you see this true story.

bookTo some, it's a tragedy. Chris/Alex (there may be an identity crisis here, too) died in the wilds of Alaska in 1992. He was 24. One of the questions that fell to the freshmen to assess is whether he died content, in peace with himself, though estranged from his family, or in the agonies of starvation that was the consequence of his ill-preparedness to cope with or without society.

The purpose of the university's First Year Reading Experience is to stimulate such critical thinking. What's the point of this book? How do I defend my assessment? Am I out of step (that's ok) or ahead of the pack (also ok)? Questions that have no right — or wrong — answers but are stimuli to thoughtful analysis.

On the Monday before the start of classes, the freshman class scales the heights of the Coliseum en masse for a lecture related to their reading assignment. This year, the College of Nursing's mountaineering Dr. Patrick Hickey shared his own into the wild experience at the top of Mt. Everest. Then the class breaks into discussion groups, led by faculty and staff.

I look forward to these annual sessions. Not everyone likes the books chosen for them. One previous selection, Never Let Me Go, a novel about teenage clones raised for harvesting their body parts, disgusted many in my study group.

Into the Wild, in spite of its grim tale of death, appealed to the freshmen in our group this year. They saw strong positives in the young man's search for identity and independence. If he did not die a hero, he also did not die a failure in their eyes.

We look for the metaphors in such stories. An 18-year-old leaving home for the first time, entering the wilds, so to speak, of a large university, seeking new relationships or escaping from old ones, is on a venture of discovery. Not all will find straight paths to their goals; they probably shouldn't. There will be false trails, rock falls, torrents that show no apparent crossing.

But unlike Chris McCandless in unforgiving Alaska, none of our students should have to go it alone. The university has extensive and exceptional means for assisting students whose internal GPS goes off kilter. If the occasion arises, those of us who may have been there ourselves — faculty, staff, parents and the dean — should be willing guides through the brush and the brambles and out of the wild.

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Alumni News

Jo Ann RodgersAlumna Makes Reading Fun

SLIS alumna Jo Ann Rodgers,'84, believes that if people find reading fun at a young age, they'll be lifelong readers. She is the library manager at Huntersville's North County Regional public library in North Carolina.

Rodgers began her career as a children's storyteller as part of a work-study program through UNC Charlotte. She's worked as a reference librarian but her passion is working at a public library.
Read more>

College News

Blogging 101: Senior Instructor Doug Fisher will lead a course on the art of blogging

Doug Fisher

Fisher will teach you how to set up a blog, the ethos of blogging, how to add Widgets/Gadgets to customize your blog, how to advertise your blog, use services to post photos and videos and introduce you to new forms of blogging.

Fisher's own blog, "Common Sense Journalism", ranks number 10 on the list of 50 inspiring journalism blogs by journalists, posted on the Guide to Online Schools, an online education directory.

Date:  10/26-11/16 (Tuesdays)
Time:  6:00-7:30pm
Location:  USC campus. Registrants will be advised of location
Cost: $50.

Alumni may receive a 15% discount by using the code JSCHOOL at registration.
Register online>


SC Center for Children's Books & Literacy Backs Declaration of Right to Literacy

The Declaration for the Right to Literacy is traveling across the country to gather signatures of citizens dedicated to reducing illiteracy. The scroll is modeled after the historic Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention of 1848 and was introduced at the National Literacy Convention in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009.

Steve SpurrierIn South Carolina, the University's Center for Children's Books and Literacy is coordinating the project by transporting the scroll around the state by the center's executive director, Ellen Shuler Hinrichs, and JoAnn M. Turnquist, president and CEO of the Central Carolina Community Foundation. Hinrichs said the main points in the declaration are "building the community, ensuring people's self-determination, building the work force, strengthening the family and transforming the literacy system." She noted: "We only had a week with the scroll. It's been traveling across the country to 30 states or more, and when we were doing some research about it, we found out South Carolina had not signed it yet. We did not want it to go to Washington, D.C., without signatures from South Carolina." Read more>

I-Comm Week — October 3 – 8

Mark your calendars now for I-Comm Week VII! This year's series of lectures, panels and special guests promises to highlight topics of interest to College of Mass Communications and Information Studies students, alumni and community partners.

We begin at Davis College on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 3. The School of Library and Information Science will feature storytelling, children's literature and tours of the historic Horseshoe. And SLIS wraps things up for us, with Dr. David Carr's lecture, Communities of Aspiration, on Friday.

In between, both the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and SLIS will host more than 20 lectures and presentations. We'll learn about an alumna's moving story of her father's service in the Polish Uprising in World War II as well as his confinement in concentration camps; alumni impact on our communities; social media; health communication, and Pulitzer Prize-winning photography from Hurricane Katrina. Also on tap are sessions on the Freedom of Information Act; cartooning; trends in advertising; faculty research; cultural heritage; Wikileaks, and business and public affairs journalism.

The annual Buchheit Lecture with Candy Crowley from CNN is part of I-Comm Week this year, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 6 in the Belk Auditorium in the Moore School of Business.

Alumni Spotlight

Stephen Michael Brown

By Ruth Castillo, SLIS Graduate Student

Group Photo

Stephen Michael Brown, School of Journalism and Mass Communication '95 grad, spends his workday jumping from meetings with national media outlets to brainstorming sessions on how to market a new Japanese tea drink for Whole Foods to talking with clients about environmental policies.

 The Greenville native is Senior Vice President at MS&L Atlanta, the southeast branch of the global public relations and communications company. He heads the food & beverage and national media relations areas.

Whatever hat he wears, Brown is passionate about what he is promoting. Brown states that "the more you have to pull from the more ideas you can come up with."  He takes ideas from his bank of experience and interests, pulled from his personal interests in film, theatre and culture as well as his wealth of knowledge from his professional work in PR and advertising.  Profiles of Brown have appeared in Marketing News and USA Today.

While explaining how he navigates through his many roles and responsibilities, Brown shares that his best training came from constant involvement.   His penchant for involvement includes two terms as president of the board for Jerusalem House, a program serving the homeless, in addition to working with the boards of The Center for Puppetry Arts and The Public Relations Society of America, Georgia Chapter.

Brown started his active pattern at USC.   He wrote for the Daily Gamecock, was a teaching assistant, wrote his Honors College thesis on film criticism and says he went to almost every single one of his classes.  He shares that "going to school at Carolina and taking full advantage of the opportunities a large college campus offers gave me the springboard that launched me to where I am today."

Brown also works to share his passion and expertise with future professionals in his field.  For several years now, Brown has met with J-School students who take part in the Maymester public relations trip to Atlanta. "It fascinates me to see Atlanta through the eyes of college students," Brown says.  


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E-mail taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu

Join our School of Library and Information Science faculty, staff, students and friends at the South Carolina State Library to meet our 2010 Literacy Leaders Awards recipients. These awards are given to individuals in South Carolina who are making an impact on literacy in our state. J-school alumna and WLTX-TV anchor Darci Strickland will emcee the event. RSVP by Sept. 3 to delton@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-3858.

Mentor Match Night
Thursday, September 16
6 – 8 p.m.
Gressette Room in Harper College on the Historic Horseshoe

Don't miss this opportunity to get involved! The College's Alumni Society is bringing professionals and students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and in the School of Library and Information Science together through its mentor program.

If you are interested in mentoring a student, sign up to attend our mentor match night September 16 to meet the students and other alumni mentors! 
To sign up, e-mail Chrysti Shain

I-Comm Week
Oct. 3 – 8

Stay tuned to www.sc.edu/cmcis for details about our seventh annual I-Comm Week. We'll be showcasing our College's faculty, students and alumni with presentations and events throughout the week.

Gamecocks on the Green
Friday, Nov. 5
4:30 – 7 p.m.

Make plans to meet your former classmates, faculty and friends for our annual Homecoming celebration on Gibbes Green! SLIS alumna Amanda Brewer will join us as our musician again this year.


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