Graduate Research Achievement Day

Department of Communication graduate students Jessica Sobolik and Haseon Park presented their research yesterday afternoon at the UND Graduate Research Achievement Day. They both did an excellent job with their presentations and posters!



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NDNA Competition Winner

The North Dakota Newspaper Association (NDNA) Executive Committee announced today that UND Communication senior Emily Gibbens has been selected to participate in the National Newspaper Association Foundation Fellows Program this March in Washington, D.C. Gibbens will be the North Dakota representative in the program and will travel with NDNA Executive Director Steve Andrist.

While in D.C., Gibbens will work with other student journalists from across the country as they produce content under the supervision of professional journalists working in the capital. The fellows will also visit D.C. landmarks like the Newseum and Capitol Hill.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Emily, and I’m very grateful NDNA is supporting her,” said Sarah Cavanah, assistant professor of communication at UND. “Emily is a small-town North Dakotan, but she has shown she has the potential to be a leading communicator in the state. I hope she’s just the first UND communication student to be selected for such a meaningful experience.”

Congratulations, Emily!

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The “Take Over”

There’s going to be a little more “gown” in Grand Forks’s “town” communications, and it’s all because of some innovative UND faculty, open government officials, energetic students and one pretty adorable baby.

It will all start with a scheduled “take over” of the Grand Forks Snapchat account by UND students to cover the State of the City address Feb. 15, but reaches much farther, including a lasting relationship for the City and students launching their careers.

The story of the “take over” starts back last academic year when Communication faculty Joonghwa Lee and Soojung Kim were at doctor’s visit preparing for the upcoming birth of their child. Their physician is known for being chatty, and the three talked about their lives, including Lee and Kim’s work with students planning to enter public relations and advertising careers, and the obstetrician’s “other” job, as Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown.

Kim and Lee were interested in offering more experiential learning opportunities for their students, where they could practice concepts and skills in real-world contexts for real clients. Somewhere along the way, both the idea of having UND strategic communication students work for the City and Jaden Jiho Lee were born.

During the Fall 2016 semester both Lee’s Advertising and Public Relations Campaign course and Kim’s Research Methods course went to work on three initiatives the City wanted to tackle: 1) communicating better with UND students; 2) communicating better about events in the City, particularly to young adults; and 3) communicating better with minority populations, particularly Native Americans.

One result is the “take over” for the State of the City Address, but it hardly stops there.

“I have learned more in this class than any other I have taken in my college career in regards to how make plans, set goals, be organized, be professional, interact with teammates and work together to overcome obstacles along the way,” said Abby Smith, a student in both classes. “I have changed and grown as a leader.”

Kim and Lee structured the courses to mimic what students would experience in a strategic communications firm with the City as a client. Students met with city officials to better understand the communication situation, conducted extensive research — including best practices in other cities, and focus groups and surveys of the target audience — and regularly met with city leaders like Community/Government Relations Officer Pete Haga.

Haga said he was more than open to working with the students. The City has successfully used student learning teams from other disciplines on other projects — saving tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees — and the Communication students brought a lot to the table beyond just being an economical choice of consultants for the taxpayer.

“One of the reasons why we would take this opportunity is we wanted some ‘non-industry’ answers to our questions,” Haga said. “Students bring authentic, fresh perspectives that allow us to see our work in different ways.”

The students provided a full report with lots of fresh perspectives at an official presentation Dec. 12. The crowded room heard recommendations on several tactics, including using Snapchat — the current popular social media app for the college-aged set — and restarting the City’s Instagram account with a new handle to indicate it would be more active than in the past. Students also recommended leveraging UND Hockey as an attractive feature to keep graduates in the City, providing growth.

The recommendations weren’t all about just following the hot trends, Lee said.

“As we know, students are very excited about social media,” he said. “I expected them to emphasize social media. The interesting thing is the students tried to find how to use social media strategically rather than randomly.”

Lee said he was happy to see the students thinking critically about social media use and what is and what is not effective in a professional context. The students even recommended that some more traditional techniques would be best for getting the word out about events in the city, particularly print mailers.

Haga said the City was surprised by some of the more novel ideas, but that they were all supported by his further research.

“I had not heard of Snapchat takeovers,” he said. “But we’ve since found that’s on the radar of governments elsewhere. Everything we received from the students has so far been completely validated.”

The City was impressed enough by the student’s work that Kim’s spring course has been “hired” to work on better communicating about city-wide events to the UND student population, particularly the Downtown Street Fair held annually in September. Kim said she hopes to keep that relationship going.

“I may have different clients in the future or keep working with City,” she said. “But overall, I plan to provide my students with this type of client project because this has much more value for this material than just listening to lectures and taking exams. I want my students to become professionals who can contribute to the community.”

The approach worked for Communication student Peter Monsrud, who said he gained more than just skills through the experience.

“I personally found the class empowering as it allowed not just me, but the class as a whole the opportunity to contribute something real and give us real-world experience,” he said. “I’m proud of how I worked and how our entire class worked throughout the semester, and I’m excited to show this plan and the process in future job interviews.”

One of the smaller student teams presents their findings and recommendations on ways the City of Grand Forks could improve communication with diverse groups, particularly Native Americans. The two courses involved broke into specific teams to better tackle the complex issue fully.

One of the smaller student teams presents their findings and recommendations on ways the City of Grand Forks could improve communication with diverse groups, particularly Native Americans. The two courses involved broke into specific teams to better tackle the complex issue fully.

Communications senior Jake Larson wraps up the overall presentation of findings and recommendations during the Dec. 12, 2016 meeting. The students recommended a variety of tactics, which are now being implemented, starting with a Snapchat takeover of Grand Forks social media accounts for the State of the City address.

Communications senior Jake Larson wraps up the overall presentation of findings and recommendations during the Dec. 12, 2016 meeting. The students recommended a variety of tactics, which are now being implemented, starting with a Snapchat takeover of Grand Forks social media accounts for the State of the City address.

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Interview with Sarah Cavanah

Recently one of our faculty members, Sarah Cavanah, did an interview about her dissertation on Along with this interview, Sarah also met with Penny Abernathy, who runs the spotlight projects on, at the Withum Symposium hosted by the North Dakota Newspaper Association this fall.

Here is an excerpt from the interview: “My first “journalism” job was as an assistant everything at the weekly paper in my Missouri hometown, The Marceline Press. I started as a sophomore in high school and worked my way through high school. As a result, I’ve always been interested in how news is consumed in rural communities and what affect it has on decision-making at the very local level.”

To read the interview in full, follow the link to “Four Questions with Sarah Cavanah.”

Congratulations, Sarah!

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Communication Doctorate Program

Opportunity to achieve Communication Doctorate Specializing in International and Intercultural Communication. Priority review date January 15, 2017,

The Faculty of the International and Intercultural Communication Doctoral Program at the University of North Dakota invite graduate applicants for Fall 2017.

The intent of the Ph.D. program is to graduate students with scholarly competencies enabling them to assume roles as intellectual leaders in international and intercultural communication as well as public intellectuals stimulating discussion of significant communication issues.

Program is accepting applications from those with master’s or bachelor’s degrees with interest in advanced study in communication. Submit complete applications by January 15, 2017 for priority review. Applications will be reviewed until April 15, 2017 for our Fall 2017 graduate cohort.

For more information about the program go to

Pamela Kalbfleisch, Ph.D.
Communication Program
Graduate Director

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Comm 374

Behind every piece of successful creative communication is a good strategy. The difference between copywriting / graphic design that fizzles and copywriting / graphic design that goes viral is targeting and planning. Jaw dropping creative does not happen by accident, and I can prove it to you. Sign up now for COMM 374-02 (11551), Principles of Strategic Communication, and I’ll show you how to put the power of real world marketing to work.

My name is Jay Mindeman, and not only am I an instructor here at UND, I also spend a good portion of my time making real world communication materials for real world clients. Everything I do – from copywriting to graphic design, from press conferences to video editing – has a specific target audience in mind and a well- planned goal to guide it. Let me show you how I do it so you can do it, too.

This course is online, but I still provide a lot of one-on-one feedback. Sign up for COMM 374 (11551) today and find out how powerful strategic communication can be.

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Comm 414

If you see your future career in the strategic communication and media industries, or in journalism, then COMM 414 MEDIA LAW AND ETHICS is the course for you! 

This online course is offered by University of North Dakota’s Communication Program as an essential component of the Communication degree.

The instructor, Professor Slavka Antonova, an experienced scholar in Internet Governance studies, will introduce the students to the contemporary legal and regulatory environment for media.

The course covers topics including:

·         How is online privacy legally protected?

·         What is the regulatory regime of protecting intellectual property on the Internet?

·         Are there any legal limitations to the “freedom of speech” online?

·         What is cyber-ethics, and what are the ethical challenges of online communication to media professionals?

·         Along with a number of other provoking questions will be discussed

According to Professor Antonova, “I am particularly satisfied that students, who had taken COMM 414 in previous years, have been successful in applying to law schools around the country. The course provided them with confidence and understanding of the complex legal and regulatory environment of communication professions.”

To enroll in the course, log in to your Campus Connection and search in the Communication courses for Spring 2017 for Comm 414. From there, you can add it to your planner and enroll during your registration dates. The home page of your Campus Connection will let you know when you can enroll in classes.

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