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Scripps Celebration focuses on student excellence, innovation

Mar 21, 2013

PRSSA members Allison Jordan, Heather Bartman, and Marisa Dockum give a short presentation about what made their organization the 2013 Scripps College of Communication Student Organization of the Year during the Scripps Celebration on Wednesday, March 20. Photo by Megan Westervelt

Scripps Celebration focuses on student excellence, innovation

PRSSA named Student Organization of the Year, SIC finalists announced

ATHENS, Ohio (March 20, 2013)—More than 150 students, faculty, staff and friends of the Scripps College of Communication attended a carnival-themed celebration “under the big top” of Walter Hall Rotunda on the main campus of Ohio University in Athens on March 20, 2013. 

The academic year-end celebration focused on students, but also included faculty and staff awards, mention of the Schoonover Center for Communication opening in August and a reiteration of the importance of innovation as a Scripps College initiative. 

“Because the media landscape is so rapidly changing, innovation is key to the future of the industry,” said Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth. 

The Scripps Innovation Challenge, new this year, is offering more than $20,000 in prizes to Ohio University student teams answering the call of Ohio media companies in need of innovative solutions to industry problems. Andy Alexander, a visiting professional in Scripps, has spearheaded efforts to organize the contest and announced then finalist teams at the celebration. For more information on the Challenge and the students who will compete in the final, visit.

The Ohio University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, was recognized as the inaugural Scripps College of Communication Student Organization of the Year. The contest, conceptualized by Dean Titsworth, was created to recognize and reward Scripps College of Communication students organizations made up of students who go above and beyond what is required of them by participating in extracurricular activities in the college. 

In order to be considered for the award, student organizations were required to submit a two- to three-page narrative detailing what the student organization has accomplished fall semester, including such things as hosting speakers, conducting informative meetings for students, planning networking trips, raising funds for nonprofits or volunteering at such events as WOUB pledge drives, as well as a creative package of supporting materials showing how said student organization was the best and most active in the Scripps College. 

A panel of judges, made up of industry professionals on the Dean’s Advisory Council, reviewed the entries. In recommending PRSSA as the winner, one judge said, one judge said, “I was most impressed with the range of their activities and the focus on keeping a strong bridge to the professional community,” while another remarked, “I was struck by PRSSA's energy, ambition and its professional orientation. Its constant outreach to those in the professional world, by bringing speakers to campus in person of via Skype, is precisely the type of engagement with industry that is extremely beneficial to students.”

Allison Jordan, Heather Bartman and Marisa Dockum accepted the award and gave a brief presentation on the club’s activities. PRSSA received $1000 in funding and runners up—including Backdrop, the National Communication Association Student Club (NCASC,) and the National Press Photographers Association Ohio University Chapter (NPPAOU)—each received $300. 

Faculty award winners during the evening included Dr. Claudia Hale and Dr. Joseph Slade. Hale, of the School of Communication Studies, received the L.J. Hortin Faculty Award Mentor winner, for her outstanding mentoring of “students both in and outside the classroom, during and after the college years.” Hale may choose to receive $1500 for professional development or a $1000 cash prize (less taxes). 

Slade, of the School of Media Arts and Studies, was honored with the third annual Dean’s Outstanding Faculty Service Award for service to the College beyond the scope of the traditional teacher-scholar role. He received a $1,000 award. 

Cindy Smith, assistant to the budget unit manager in the Scripps College Dean’s Office, was named the Employee of the Year Award, while Julie Kallenborn (E.W. Scripps School of Journalism) and Hannah Back (School of Communication Studies) were both named Student Employees of the Year. Each of the three staff winners won $1,000. 

“It was such a wonderful surprise to be recognized for the dedication and commitment I display regarding my job,” said Back, who also serves as president of NCASC, one of the honored student organizations. “I see the awards as a testament to the immense amount of support and opportunity that has been given to me in my time at a Scripps student… I am beyond grateful for the faculty, staff and grad students that encourage me daily.”

The Scripps Celebration was a banner event of Communication Week 2013. The roots of Communication Week in the College date back to 1968, when the School of Journalism held its first Journalism Week in early May and awarded the first Carr Van Anda Awards "for enduring contributions to journalism" to Turner Catledge, Edward W. Barrett and Walter Cronkite. In 1970, Journalism Week was changed to Communication Week to incorporate the entire college. 

Over the years, the Scripps College has hosted such notable professionals as Rev. Jesse Jackson (1998), Peter Arnett (1992), Roger Ailes (1989), Ted Turner and Hugh Downs (1982). After 37 years of annual Communication Week activities, in 2006, events were no longer held during a concentrated five-day period, but spread throughout Ohio University's ten-week spring quarter. This year marks the return of Communication Week to the Ohio University campus. 

Events continue through Friday. For a full list of events, visit