The Writing Arts Program Receives National Recognition!

The Writing Arts Department has much to be proud of  and their achievements are gaining national attention in a number of ways.  Some recent highlights:

Work from faculty members was published in the new text What We Are Becoming: Developments in Undergraduate Writing Majors (Utah State U P, 2010).  Jennifer Courtney, Deb Martin, and Diane Penrod wrote the chapter The Writing Arts Major: A Work in Process,” which traces the history of the major, focusing on the changes it has undergone.   Sandy Tweedie, Jenn Courtney, and Bill Wolf contributed “‘What exactly is this major?’ Creating Disciplinary Identity Through an Introductory Course,”  discussing the role of introductory courses in writing majors and offering the Rowan curriculum as a model for other programs, few of which have intro courses.  In the afterword of the text,  Susan McLeod (noted scholar of writing program administration and curriculum) discusses the increasing interest in writing programs and encourages a national conversation about outcomes in the major, pointing to the Rowan program as one of the few that has these. She goes on to say, “Once we have begun to discuss outcomes, we can then discuss what the gateway course to the major should look like,” adding that Rowan’s provides “an excellent example” of one.

In another nod to the excellence of the Rowan program, McLeod and co-author Deb Balzhiser have also written the lead article in the February 2010 issue of College Composition and Communication, “The Undergraduate Writing Major: What Is It? What Should It Be?” In this article they consider both gateway courses and capstone courses, presenting a model of excellence in capstones that replicates the Rowan experience and specifically noting that our intro course is  one that “might serve as a model for other such courses,” (and include a lengthy discussion of our Intro to Writing Arts course).

At the recent Conference on College Composition and Communication (the worlds largest writing education organization –  in Louisville, the Balzhiser and McLeod article was discussed by several other participants at CCCC’s, including Andrea Lunsford during her standing-room-only featured presentation, bringing even more attention to the Rowan program.

On a local level, the Office of Media & Public Relations, has produced a wonderful review of the Writing Arts major that appears on the Rowan news site. The story can be found at

Congratulations to all of the members of the Writing Arts program!  Your accomplishments never cease to impress!


Top Crisis Specialists Share Their Expertise with Rowan Students – by guest blogger Dr. Ed Moore

Top Crisis Specialists Share Their Expertise with Rowan Students

Two national experts on school-crisis communication traveled to the Rowan campus in March to offer a master class to public relations students. Some 50 students attended the lecture, led by Rick Kaufman (Executive Director of Community Relations and Emergency Management; Bloomington Public Schools; Bloomington, Minn.) and Rich Bagin (Executive Director; National School Public Relations Association; Rockville, Md.)

Kaufman, as the Executive Director of Public Engagement and Communications for Jeffco Public Schools in Littleton, Colorado, led the Crisis Response Team and became a familiar face and voice in national media coverage of the Columbine High School tragedy. He has since worked with school systems and government agencies nationally on crisis-response issues.  Kaufman is the author of The Complete Crisis Communication Management Manual.

Bagin, a graduate of Rowan’s M.A. in P.R. program, has worked with hundreds of school systems in the U.S. and Canada on crisis and other communications issues. He started his career as a school public relations administrator and also served as the public relations director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C. Bagin is the author of Making Parent Communication Effective and Easy.

Rowan students peppered the two award-winning practitioners with questions throughout the class. Students quizzed the experts on crisis-communication planning, the role of social media in crises, training employees as spokespersons, making the right decision in the heat of a breaking crisis, and more.

Kaufman noted that planning for crisis communication has grown increasingly sophisticated in the 11 years since the Columbine tragedy. It is uncommon today, he noted, to find any school system or college that does not have a formal crisis-communication plan. But, he stressed, having a plan is not enough. The execution of the plan needs to be constantly rehearsed and plans need to be continually updated to meet changing communication needs.

Bagin, who said his organization hears from local school officials facing some type of crisis almost daily, discussed the new roles social media now play in crisis communication. While traditional media continue to play a key part disseminating information during a crisis, social media outlets now are often the first place people turn for immediate information on a breaking crisis. Traditional media too frequently turn to social media for details, comments, and images of breaking crises.

Turning to careers in communication, the speakers stressed to students the need to develop outstanding writing skills and to remain active in acquiring knowledge and perfecting skills after leaving the classroom. They urged students to get active in professional associations, participate in industry meetings and seminars, keep up with the latest scholarly journals, and enthusiastically network with other practitioners.

Master classes such as this are just one way that programs in the College of Communication help their students link classroom experiences and with real-world practice.  This master class as offered in conjunction with Professor Edward Moore’s graduate course, School Public Relations. To learn more about Rowan’s M.A. in P.R. program visit

RTN – What a Relief!

Rowan’s RTN Channel 5 fundraising telethon raised $1460 for the Rowan Relief effort for world disasters. GO RTN! You can learn more about RTN at
For more about Rowan Relief, visit the site at
The official press release from RTN:

On Wednesday, March 10 the Rowan Television Network (RTN) raised $1,475.00 when it paired with Rowan University’s campus-wide relief effort, Rowan Relief, to produce a live telethon.  The money will be donated to the American Red Cross through Rowan Relief in response to the disaster in Haiti last January.

Donations were collected over the phone as well as though through televised shout-outs and Rowan Relief T-shirt and bracelet sales.  RTN’s original goal of collecting $1,000 was met and surpassed with more than an hour and a half left in the five-hour broadcast.

Jon J. Vogel, CFO of the Student Government Association and creator of Rowan Relief, was floored, saying, “I’m so impressed with this event and the way the campus came together to donate such a large sum of money.  It is wonderful to see

The Telethon featured live call-ins, performances from student bands and comedians, and interviews with individuals such as Dr. Donald Farish, President of Rowan University.  It broadcasted live on RTN’s campus channel five as well as on over 300 separate computers that viewed the online live webcast that night.

The Rowan Television Network is Rowan University’s television club.  It allows students to gain experience producing, hosting, editing and writing their own shows as well as performing service for Rowan Univeristy by taping university and student activities and events.  The club produces two large-scale live productions per year, the annual telethon being the largest.  It involves mass member participation, weeks of planning, and an incredible amount of teamwork.  Over 50 students worked on Wednesday’s event, which is over half of the club’s active membership.

The Rowan Relief Telethon was produced by Dominic Trombino (Plainfield, IL), Adam Bradshaw (Kalamazoo, MI), and Kristen Conner (Seaford, DE) alongside Matthew Montalto (Livingston, NJ) and Monique Stout (Toms River, NJ).  Trombino said, “We raised more money than anyone could have imagined, but none of it could have happened without the hard work of everyone involved.”