Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Case presentation for Film studies

Bethany College should develop in the Communication Studies program a web film and video production emphasis.

Observation 1 – No other Kansas college has a film and video production program     

Sterling has minor video production, primarily radio production

Kansas has a large film production unit – which offers very limited opportunity for the undergraduate.

No school has a production emphasis devoted to production for the internet.

Observation 2 – Most frequent request of prospective students is for media related work.

Observation 3 – While news press is declining in circulation, new media, often with high production values, is starting to predominate.

Contention 1 Serving new students requires new courses and new outlooks. The newest outlooks are web based mediated communications.

Contention 2 Current configuration of course work, orientation to Rhetorical studies and performance of oral persuasion looks backward, rather than forward – serves old students rather than new.

Therefore – to serve new students with new technology BC should invest the resources to move communication studies to film and video production for the web.


Plan – We do the following: Three parts needed: Space, Equipment, Instructor.

              Space – basement of Nelson Science, room converted for edit suite

              Equipment – three Canon XL1, tripods, dollies, one crane, one handy cam, two shotgun boom mics, one lavi, three MAC G-5 towers, three second monitors for G5 (each have dual monitors), reference video monitors, desks, one printer.

              Instructor – Isaacson knows how, for moment let him teach it. Ultimately hire a specialist.


Agency – Team approach, led by Communication department. Purchase with grants (observation 4, camera we have purchased with grant money).


Mandates -  Comm dept presses all other team members. Pres authorizes, Advancement – write grant, Maintenance, create space in space. Dean Oks Isaacson as instructor, CC approves the curriculum change.


Enforcement – Communication & Theatre carries out the implementation, oversees the pieces, pushes to get the job done for students.


Funding and Staffing – purchase funded through grants, staffing by existing staff for next 5 years. Aim to become additional staff member in 5. Technician who can serve both the needs of video development, animation, theatre production management.


Addenda – Assessment plan issue must be addressed by current faculty. Must name where it fits in the current mission of the department, how it will be assessed with current plan (or revise)


Contention 3 – Expect that if we go ahead with the plan we will see an increase in numbers in Theatre/Communication. Here, combined majors 16. Sterling, with something like proposal, Comm Majors alone 21, additional 15 theatre. Reasonable growth expectation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm Sick

I'm sick today - again. I have a nasty cold.

The worst part is the sneezing. Maybe. Maybe it's the drippie nose. Maybe it's the stuffed up head.

In terms of Interpersonal Communication, sickness keeps me from being any sort of communicator. When I am sick I want to be left alone. I don't treat others properly. I tend to forget commitments. In other words,


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to Class?

We're coming back to class after this strange Spring Break.

My Interpersonal Relationships have been rather few and shallow this week. I've spent most of the time working on catching up (wasn't entirely successful on that either). I'm looking forward to being back with people and away from my computer screen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gone - But Certainly Not Forgotten

Gone - But Certainly Not Forgotten

It's the first full day of Spring Break. I haven't seen a student all day. (I haven't graded a paper either, but that's another issue. I also haven't finished Sunday's Sermon - yet another issue.)

But just because the students are gone doesn't mean they aren't still making their presence felt.


Voice-mail (I haven't checked).

Text messaging.

Tasks for Easter.

I have been busy much of the day with student related tasks. Either student and production needs have been my aim, or they have not been far off my mind.

Interpersonal Communication in the age of electronics isn't all that different from the way it was in C.A. Swensson's time. I'm betting that students were never far from his thoughts when he made that February 1904 trip to California. Students are like that. They're something that professors obsess over, worry about,work for and expect work from. If it weren't that way, maybe we wouldn't be in the profession at a small college that puts a premium on relationships.

But I am here, I like it here, I feel validated by what I do here - so - Good Break, Kids. I'll be thinking about you while you're away!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Systems Theory

This power point outlines the basic qualities of Systems Theories. The question for communication is "what do we learn about families if we consider them as systems?"

Some of the things that we have to consider is "How do outside influences change the way the family operates at home?" "Are 'bad kids' just bad individuals, or are they elements of a bad system?" "How much is an individual's behavior constrained by the way the larger system works?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Great Discussion

Thanks to all of you for a great discussion today.

It was helped by the fact that many of you had read most, or all, of the article - and had experiences to contribute.

You enriched that article, turning it from a good exploration of an interesting theory into a dynamic piece that sparked thought. Good on you.

Conversational Analysis

More to the point that the Social Exchange Theory, here is the slide show on Conversational Analysis. This one will be in test materials.

Social Exchange Theory

We discussed Social Exchange Theory in class, but I thought you might appreciate an opportunity to review the Power Point. It is an important theory concerning how and why we make connections with others.

The Shortsightedness of the 18 to 20 Year Old

I'm concerned about one of the posts on Anna's blog, concerned enough to write about that post. I think that the post has something to say about Interpersonal Communication, so I'm including it here.

What bothers me is the line: "If this is how it is going to be, it is going to be a long season…especially with Cantrell. Most of the Ju-Co players are looking at transferring next year so they do not waste it on this program. I do not blame them. We went from the best in conference to the worst…great move Bethany College…"

Now, it may be that my reading of this is clouded by the fact that I am feeling exceptionally stressed out. But I have to take exception to the assertion that the college, qua institution, made a big mistake by hiring Cantrell. I do that in my response to the post.

It also seems to me that this cheap shot at Cantrell is motivated by feelings, strong feelings, colored by the fact that the poster has a BF on the BB team. She's hearing disgruntled players - who are labeling themselves as losers on the lookout only for themselves - in other words, very negative people who aren't seeing very far into their own future.

The result, of course, is to blame the coach, the institution, all the places except where the blame in fact belongs - on the players. Neither the coach, nor the institution was out on the ball field during that game.

Moreover, while the baseball team was winning last year, it came at a tremendous price. Faculty were highly distrustful of the coach last year (and had good reason to be so) and that mistrust spilled over into other athletic areas where it was not quite as justified.

But - and this is my big but coming in here - when you're 18 - 22 years old you don't know or don't care about the history. Your communication tends to be driven by the emotions you feel right at the moment you're writing. I know. I was that way.

I was easily excited to shout "injustice!" at every turn.

The first issue of the Augustana Observer I edited had one such shout. A dorm mother inspected a student's closet. We cried "racism!" and "facism!" It was nothing of the case, but I was sure we were speaking up for justice, and that the student, of whom I was very fond, had been abused.

We were almost sued for libel. I learned about slander. I learned about my emotions and my need to keep my emotions in check when trying to deal rationally with the world.

Pete Seeger at 89

I just added "Pete Seeger at 89" to my CD collection. It is a huge collection of cuts from this legendary figure in folk music.

One that I think might become my favorite is his song about babies growing to adulthood and the melancholy caused for parents by that growth. It is what we hope will happen to our children - if we're functional parents, but it is also painful to see. We may battle with our children when they're little, but we remember those days with great fondness. The memory of the battles fade, even become funny, while the memory of the waddling little baby just learning to walk, with a whole world of possibilities ahead, remains as vivid as any memory we have.

For those who've never heard Pete Seeger, here's a Youtube video from his younger days.

Interpersonal March 17, 2009

Interpersonal March 17, 2009

Housekeeping - Review the rubric and date for Verbatim.
Reading for Thursday

 Reading for Today
Adult Children Experience

What were the Research questions that drove the work?

What were her findings?

How did the research arrive at these findings?

What was her methodology?

What theoretical basis is there for her methodology?

How confident can we be in her findings?

What is the significance of the findings?

Do the findings in any way parallel your experience with managing privacy in your family?


This isn't an Interpersonal Post, it is an experiment

Let's see if the presentation works.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theatre and Interpersonal Communication

One of the things I believe links my work in communication studies with other work I do is the theatre. Theatre is all about relationships - about the spatial dimensions of relationships, about the way tone of voice alters how others feel about you, about the way your family background makes itself known later in your life.

Right now I'm at work directing Easter for the Messiah festival. I'm a little nervous because we open in a month, and Spring Break comes in between now and then - so we have barely three weeks to get ready.

I think that we may be under rehearsed, but that we'll get it through to the audience if we remain true to the relationships that Strindberg has put on the page. They're clear, it seems to me. They're also very interesting.

In the end, the Deus ex machina comes and saves the family. Sure, that's a given. But, the play's internal logic allows us a glimpse into a world we seldom see - where flowers speak the language of scents and telephone wires are angry because of the angry language of the telephone users - where all the world is animated by a great spirit.

If we can be true to the relationships, we can make this live for an audience.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time and Relationships

I spent much of my time yesterday working on work stuff.

My relationships outside of work stuff suffered. I saw my wife for all of twenty minutes. I talked to colleagues about non-work related stuff not at all. Or nearly not at all. I worked with students as students and student actors.

At the same time, I tried to remember that they are persons - my wife, my colleagues, my students - and not just objects. Maybe, even though our relationships had no content, because I was too busy to let them have content, there was still some positive growth in the relationship.

Like when Sarah B reminded me that I swore in class that I didn't swear and then I swore in rehearsal. We all laughed.

Yeah, that was a good moment and a moment of growth in our relationship.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crazy Daddy

Duck's work on attachment theory led me to think about a daddy and his daughter I ran into this past weekend.

He was dressed in a fairly standard Norwegian dräckt, and he had his daughter dressed in a bunad I've seen before. I don't know my Norwegian folk costumes very well, but this, it seems to me, is a fairly standard one. It may be the costume that our friend, Jill from Chicago, wears.

Daddy and daughter came to the folk dance workshop last weekend. Daddy was doting on daughter, clearly. Daughter came with a Hardanger fiddle. That's a fiddle with four played strings and four sympathetic strings. It is a very difficult instrument to master, though playing it a little isn't all that hard. Daughter played it a little.

Daddy pushed daughter to play. "Can my daugher play?" he asked the musicians. She played, and played and played. She was a very shy young woman until she got up in front of the crowd with the fiddle. Then it seemed like she'd never quit.

Sunday all the kids got out and had a snowball fight. Snowball fighting kids ranged in age from 8 to 22. They were all kids. Daughter was out in the snowball fight. Daddy was right at the edge of the snowball fight - not participating, but watching.

This was not a healthy Daddy/daughter relationship. Daddys need to let their little girls find their way in the world. If they don't get to play, to dance, to snowball fight on their own, Daddy's need not to step in as a substitute for playmates.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thinking about Childhood

It was Sunday morning at the dance workshop, and no one was ready to dance.

The Winnipegers were still enroute when we got to Vennelyst Park, where we were dancing this year. Everyone waits for the girls from Winnipeg, particularly Ethan (Jack) Shogren - who turned 13 this year.

"What kind of car are they driving?" he asked Kris and I as we walked out the gate to climb the Missouri bluff. His sister Fiona (Tracy), seven, was with him.

Having climbed the rather steep path from the club house to the chain link gate, we turned left and continued climbing the riverbluff.

This neighborhood in North Omaha, we were told, was a dangerous one. Most of the murders happen here. Things are difficult in North Omaha.

The neighborhood didn't look dangerous. It looked declasse. A little down in the mouth, but mostly just working class. Like the neighborhood I grew up in, but with big lots and a view. I felt right at home.

I don't need much to make me feel at home. Just a neighborhood a not so large, not so well off, not so modern homes. I know they were new once, but not in my lifetime.

That's the way my house in Chicago was, and whenever I'm in this sort of neighborhood I feel at ease. On the other hand, as much as I like visiting my friends in the suburbs and the new developments, I never quite forget where I am and never quite feel at home there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Back from the Dead?

Not quite dead, but certainly detached.

Spent the weekend (Saturday/Sunday) on the road to, in and on the road home from Omaha. We had a dance workshop for Scandinavian Dancers. Good time.

Spent some time with old friends, stayed at their house, drank some glögg, ate snacks, talked. Talked, and talked and talked.

What did we talk about? Some about mutual friends. Some about jobs and business. Some about family. Mostly we just talked. That was the important part of the visit - not the content but the time spent just talking. Relationships are built out of talking. Food and wine are the grease that keeps adult talking going.

Now I'm back at work and behind in all my work. I wonder if I'll ever catch up, but I'm actually confident that I won't and that it won't matter much in the long run. What will matter more than my being on top of every project is that I take the time to cultivate the relationships that make life a joy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Interpersonal Communication and Observation

The Duck text suggests that we take a time in the future - two times in fact - and see what the context of day and time do for communication.

My problem is that I'm so routinized in my communication that I probably do pretty much the predictable same thing with the same people - and that's really hard to carefully observe.

I have an event coming that might be worth watching: Monday from 6:30 to 10 pm I'll be conducting auditions for Easter in the Burnett Center. That's one time that will be out of the ordinary and probably worth observing myself.

Then, I think I'll pay attention to preparation hours on Wednesday morning, from around 9 until 10:30 am.

Those two times might be worth keeping a watch on. But how will I observe myself in an unbiased fashion? What if I kept a journal of the hours and entered a note every 15 minutes to help recall and see what kinds of things I actually do - as opposed to what I think I do.

Watch this space on Wednesday evening to see how this observation experiment turns out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It Wasn't Bad

Rotary was, as it has been, a successful meeting.

The only part of the process that I expected not to go well that did not go well was the joke time. The fellow who can't hear tells jokes at almost every meeting. He finishes his routine with a visual joke - a word or two words which, when combined, make a popular phrase. Tonight's rebus was the word "vanished" with a thinly written "air" encased in it. The phrase was "vanished in thin air." Clever. Three Rotarians got the phrase. He didn't hear any of them.

But everyone loves him and everyone just goes along with his jokes and his rebuses and laughs. He actually finds some pretty funny puns.

The program was LeGault, talking briefly and entertainingly about "I love you, you're perfect, now change."

The "happy dollar" Polio Plus went well. We've committed to raising $1000 a year for three years for the elimination of Polio. One of the ways the board said to raise that money was through an aggressive approach to "happy dollars," the loose change that we Rotarians through in each week - just because we're happy to be there. I didn't mention that in my anxieties post - but it is something that makes me a little anxious. I don't really like to raise money - I just don't like to ask others to shell out dollars, no matter how worthy the cause.

But we've got a few tricks and several very supportive members, and it seems to always go well. This meeting we raised about 30 dollars on the $1000 challenge. We'll make it I'm sure.

So, overall, my anticipation of how these interactions would turn out turned out not to be quite correct.

It's Rotary Time

Every Wednesday evening is Rotary Club night. I'm the President.

I look forward to these meetings with a mixture of joy and anxiety.

Joy because these are my friends - many are also colleagues at the college. I enjoy sitting and having a meal with these folks, joking and behaving the way "friends" do.

But it's also a time of anxiety. I'm the President and I'm responsible for getting this group to head in a new and better direction. I'm the President and I have to make sure that every member has a voice and a reason for being a part of the club. That creates anxiety. I expect that I will be anxious tonight.

But I also have anxiety because we have a few senior members for whom attendance is difficult. One of our members is nearly stone deaf, but he's there every week. I worry that he will fall or be knocked over. I worry that others will finally grow a bit weary of the difficulty of communicating with a deaf senior citizen. I expect that that will be a problem again tonight.

Now, having read Duck's text, I'm worried because we meet on Wednesday evening - probably the worst time for a meeting.

Oh, wait, church choirs meet on Wednesday evenings. Many churches have mid-week services of Wednesday evenings. Maybe institutionalized relationships don't have the difficulties Duck cites from research.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How Hard Can it Be?

I am amazed at how much popular music, popular television and popular film revolves around Interpersonal Relationships - many of which have gone bad.

Over the weekend we watched "Once." I was busy working on syllabus for Interpersonal Communication so I didn't pay as much attention to the film as I might have - but it seemed like the whole picture revolved around a potential romance between Glen Hansard's and Marketa Irglova's characters. Early on Hansard says to Irglova - "Do you want to spend the night." He almost immediately realizes that his comment was a mistake. He regrets it and apologizes, leading to a deepening of the relationship.

Just when you think that there might be a romance between the two, Irglova's reveals that she has a husband in the Czech Republic. There seems to be hope for the relationship, however, since Irglova seems to not be interested in reuniting with her husband, not even for the sake of her child. In the end it all falls apart and the two would be lovers each return to their former loves.

Relationships are like that. They're tricky at best, difficult, even impossible at times. It makes you wonder why we even try.

Perhaps the persistence of most human beings to stay related to other human beings is testimony to the fact that we are social animals, hard wired for relationships. So, maybe it's just that most of us have a few loose wires.