Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication celebrated its 50th anniversary last week.
Scripps College Director of Communication Erin Roberts, a 2000 alumna of OU, has seen changes within the school since she began working there 15 years ago. Roberts said she saw what was coming in the future of media, as news organizations began to experiment with the 24-hour news cycle.
“While I was in school, newspapers and other businesses and organizations were trying to figure out the World Wide Web and what their presence should be and really how to keep up with that kind of news cycle,” Roberts said. “Things were definitely launching this change, and this move toward technology in the communication industry was starting then.”
Roberts said Communication Week is normally held in March, but it was moved to April this year to coincide with the college’s 50th anniversary. She said the school's greatest lasting legacy is its alumni.
“We’ve really produced a lot of leaders who are confident and knowledgeable and impactful in their jobs and their many causes that they've taken on,” Roberts said. “Just really great minds who are educated in the field leading the change that is the communication industry.”
Kari Gunter-Seymour, an instructor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, has worked at the university for over 20 years. She started as a graphic designer for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and is now teaching graphics of communication.
“I love teaching it, and I love the students,” Gunter-Seymour said. “They’re very inspiring.”
To lead up to the festivities, Roberts decided to start a social media campaign about 50 stories of service on Scripps’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Roberts said this perfectly coincided with OU’s 214th birthday on Feb. 18.
“Service has always been a main goal of Ohio University, as it pertains to the region. Downtown relationships have always been important, making sure that we’re bettering the local area instead of being a detriment,” Roberts said. “Communication is a rapidly changing industry. It’s extremely important as we are coming into this dawn of social media and technology that’s changing everyday and really, none of that would be possible without communication.”
Scott Titsworth, dean of the College of Communication, said although the college has had large events that have affected its culture — including moving to Schoonover Center and being named by the Scripps Howard Foundation — the day-to-day activities within the school have just as much impact.
“We are an extremely engaged college so the way that we teach communication education and practice ... is a very engaged type of pedagogy that most of our courses have a project that is mostly applicable to the student outside of that class,” Titsworth said. “I think that’s one of the things that stands us apart as a college of communication (and) that’s our primary emphasis.”
In the next 50 years, Titsworth hopes the college will further its outreach to the communities in southeast Ohio, as service is “a part of (Scripps') DNA.”
“I think there’s so much potential within a 50-mile radius of Athens for the Scripps College of Communication to give our students an opportunity to learn while doing, but at the same time helping build on the assets of the communities that surround us so they can have better opportunities for the people that live in them,” Titsworth said.
Titsworth said he wishes to bring the “full might” of the college to those communities to work on issues that affect them, including poverty and access to health care.
“It’s just a matter of sort of not ignoring what we’ve been doing, which is doing things on sort of a national level, but to also start to turn our attention to our immediate community,” Titsworth said.