My name is Dr. Heather Hether and I am a faculty member in the Department of Communication at UC, Davis.
This term I’ve been teaching Health Communication (CMN 161) — and it’s been a wonderful course. Even though the course is taught in the evenings, my students show up, ready to engage. We’ve had a productive term discussing the major areas of health communication, including doctor-patient communication, health campaigns, media advocacy, health disparities, social marketing, crisis and risk communication, and more.
I’ve also been busy writing, working on a chapter for an upcoming digital pedagogy textbook — a topic I’m passionate about, and also writing a case study on a media advocacy campaign. More details to follow.
This term I also attended two conferences: the Public Relations Society of America conference in Indianapolis, as well as the National Communication Association conference in Philadelphia. At both conferences, I was able to share my work with colleagues and exchange ideas related to both research and teaching. They were great trips — although both were too quick!
I wish you all the best as we push toward the end of the term!
Next weekend I’m heading to San Diego for Western States Communication Association’s annual conference. I’m looking forward to going and participating on a panel with several colleagues from other colleges to discuss internship programs.
At Pacific, I’ve assumed the role of internship coordinator for the Department of Communication. In this capacity, I’m working with both students and organizations alike to identify opportunities for students to apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom in a professional environment. I believe in the value of internships because of the opportunity they provide students to gain hands-on experience in a context that interests them. As much as I connect my course material to the “real-world” environment, there really is no substitute for first-hand experience.
Recently, we’ve had students intern with the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office (SJDA), the American Cancer Society (ACS), public relations firms, on-campus units, and more. We’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful organizational partners like these who are so supportive of our students. As we move forward, I’m particularly interested in identifying organizations — like the SJDA and ACS — with whom we can develop long-term relationships where our students can contribute to the success of the organization and, in exchange, students gain valuable experience.
And this is the focus of my presentation at Western next week: how to develop collaborative partnerships to support students’ experiential learning. It’s an initiative I’m committed to and, as a department, we’ve made significant progress toward this end. I’m looking forward to sharing our experience at the conference and, with you, when I return.
Meanwhile, we had some great weather this past week:
A spring-time interlude.