Posted At: January 1, 2008 10:11 AM
by Megan Frazier
I picked the brain of E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, to see what he had to say about getting a degree in communications today and what advice he had to give to students. Here is what he had to say.
What made you decide to become a dean?
I had a collection of administrative assignments, department chair at three different universities and executive assistant to UA’s president, that prepared me for the job and more importantly enabled me to see the possibilities for doing some good. Equally important was timing the job came open just as I was moving out of the president’s office.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Making decisions or taking actions that are fraught with controversy, although fairly rare, occur often enough to make the job difficult.
What is the most fun part of your job?
Building programs and acquiring resources to move the work of faculty, staff, and students forward.
Are you teaching any classes?
I teach most semesters, anything from a one-hour honors seminar to a regular three-hour course. Most often, I have taught these courses at night or in off-hours so as not to interfere with my full-time administrative duties. I am currently teaching a one-hour seminar on “Media and the Civil Rights Movement.”
What has changed about majoring in communications since you first became a dean?
Technology across the curriculum has changed most for communication majors. Successful graduates are expected to perform their disciplines across multiple platforms and to integrate their work into Web-deliverable products. Keeping up with this transformation has been challenging for faculties especially, but also for students.
What do you think are the benefits of gaining a communications degree today?
In the Anglo-American world, communication has now replaced engineering as the more sought-after degree, because generating content for digital distribution and for whatever purpose is now the “means of production.” It’s what the economy demands and requires.
If you could give one piece of advice to a freshman what would that be?
I always advise freshmen to be aware of the amount of free time you have in college. Truth is that if all freshmen treated college as a 40-hour work week, they would all graduate at the top of their class, but alas, most don’t make constructive use of the vast amount of free time they inherit on coming to college.
If you could give one piece of advice to a senior what would that be?
Master the social skills necessary to market your ideas and yourself.
If you could give one piece of advice to a recent graduate what would that be?
Act like you’ve been there before, and follow the Golden Rule.