Writing To You Today from a Convention in Pittsburgh

The inaugural group of students in the design center course at Stevenson University, now formally known as THE MILL at STEVENSON UNIVERSITY.

Happy Friday afternoon! I have time for a quick blog post today, as I am at the annual Eastern Communication Association Convention (ECA) in Pittsburgh, PA. My colleague, Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus has spent the last year and a half planning this event, and my other colleague, Chip Rouse, and I are on the planning committee with her. We were fortunate enough to bring 8 students with us from Stevenson University, and those students were members of last fall’s course, formerly known as Design Center, which acted as an integrated marketing communication agency. Additionally, we were tasked last fall with branding the name of the center, and it is now formally called The Mill at Stevenson University, and ECA was one of our two clients.


We worked to help plan this convention–and it’s been a great experience for the students. At a communication convention of teachers, faculty, and scholars, along with folks who work in the field of communication, we learn a lot from each other. It’s the best place to garner ideas for teaching. Our students are here at the event as ECA ambassadors, and it’s wonderful to see them help host an event and be able to dissect what it takes to create a 5-day event with approximately 800 attendees. Likewise, they are being exposed to other communication majors at universities who are here as well. So you can see, this is a tremendous opportunity for experiential learning.

As for me, I always come away from this convention with one major takeaway: it makes me want to become a better teacher. No matter how good you are at something, there is always room for improvement, and I love hearing different tactics other faculty use at their institutions when they teach certain courses. It’s a great reminder to continue to be innovative and creative with classroom curriculum, and to always know that you have to be a lifelong learner. I pride myself on this idea of never getting too comfortable, always being curious, and being open to new ways to engage students and foster learning.

I’ll be coming home with a notebook full of strategies and ideas I’ll incorporate into my courses for the fall semester. There’s still one more full day that remains tomorrow, but we’ve worked hard, and tonight our group will be having dinner together at restaurant with a view of the city where we can eat a relaxing meal and have some laughs.

Presenting on a panel with fellow professors from Stevenson and other universities.

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