Dr. Gwen Hullman- Department of Communication

Dr. Gwen Hullman, chair of the communication department at AU

Ashland.edu

Dr. Gwen Hullman, chair of the communication department at AU

Christine Jenkinson, NEWS EDITOR FOR THE COLLEGIAN

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Department Chair Spotlight

“What is communication” is the first sentence out of a professor’s mouth on the first day of class. The communications department is not just sending a message; there are many aspects to this department.

Students can major in public relations, health and risk communication, communication studies and sport communication, while their masters in corporate and strategic communication has been added recently.

“The unique contributions of the department include undergraduate and graduate level programs created to develop skills in public speaking, listening and critical analysis that support the ethical responsibilities of communicators,” Dr. Gwen Hullman, associate professor and chair of communication studies, said.

Hullman not only teaches courses in their graduate program, but teaches classes for communication majors, such as communication theory and research methods and health communication courses.

“Graduates develop the ability to create and maintain a variety of relationships with other individuals, within organizations and with diverse publics,” Hullman said. “They develop the motivation and competency to craft messages aimed at specific communication goals.”

Hullman grew up in Elyria. She earned her Ph.D. from Kent State, accepted a position at the University of Nevada Reno in 2004. After staying there for several years and starting a family, she and her husband decided it would be best to raise their kids around family and friends in the Cleveland area.

Hullman moved everyone back, including her rescue bulldog, Cocoa, back in 2017. Ashland University position posted she applied for.

“I love it here,” Hullman said. “The students are amazing individuals.”

As students are graduating, they are looking for jobs. Communication skills are the number one skill listed in every job description: being able to listen and speak.

To better prepare her students, all graduates must complete an internship in which they demonstrate practical, hands-on experience.

“There has never been a greater need for the study and practice of effective communication than in our divided modern world,” Hullman said. “This is the essence of a liberal arts education.”

Hullman said that public relations students graduate with the ability to manage strategic relationships in a variety of organizations and settings and participate in the creation and implementation of public relations campaigns and crisis plans.

Students are involved in the National Public Relations Student Society of America organization and participate in the National Bateman Case Study Competition.

Health and risk graduates apply communication to important situations at the intersection of a “complex health care system and a variety of cultural lenses,” Hullman said. They are poised to serve as connectors to care and well-being, and as conduits to health information.

“Students learn how to be good communicators, of course, but they also learn how to be good people,” Hullman said. “Learning about the symbolic nature of communication helps people see things from another person’s perspective and helps all of us realize that communication can be a powerful tool that should be handled carefully.”

If students have questions, they can contact Hullman at [email protected]

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