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Dr. Lorin Basden Arnold named Dean of College of Communication

Dr. Lorin Basden Arnold, a Rowan faculty member since 1998 who holds a Ph. D. in interpersonal communication and has written extensively about family communication, has been formally named Dean of Rowan's College of Communication.

Arnold, who served as interim dean of the college for 18 months after the untimely passing of Dean Craig Monroe, believes there are great challenges and opportunities for communication professionals in the 21st century and said the CoC is preparing students to meet them.

For example, she said, as traditional communication sources like newspapers and magazines downsize or fold, community journalists - bloggers, cell phone photographers, even texters - continue to wield ever-greater influence.

"(As a college) we're changing our focus not just in how students create information but how they consume it," she said. "Today we have so many choices that we have to be more critical consumers of media and more participatory in it."

Arnold noted her own reluctant use of Twitter, the online networking site, and how she now embraces it.

"I really thought I'd hate Twitter," said Arnold, who hails from a large Indiana family and now has a New Jersey-based family of her own. "I used to have to rely on the telephone chain for information. Twitter has allowed me to keep in touch with people who I wouldn't necessarily have the time to call every day."

Arnold noted that ubiquitous texting on campus, in the workplace and in homes across America isn't a positive or negative, per se, just a fact of life in modern communication. In a sense, she said, it fosters better, faster and more succinct communication but there's an obvious downside.

"Student handwriting is getting worse but maybe that's to be expected," she said. "The truth is, we don't write anymore. It's all keyboarding!"

Making connections

The dean believes building strong connections is about the most important thing clear communication can help do and that's a big part of her mission as the new head of the college.

"I'm interested in looking at connections between things - not just in this college but outside of it, between colleges and out in the community," she said.

She said the college, which has about 1,300 undergraduate majors, has enjoyed steady growth in recent years despite the economic turndown and she thinks popular programs in Radio, Television, Film; Advertising and Public Relations; Journalism; Communication Studies; and Writing Arts will continue to be a big draw.

Additionally, she said, cutting edge projects like a New Media Concentration now moving through the university's curriculum committee not only embrace advances in technology but will teach students to make the best use of them. That series of coursework, which will be available to students of any major, will teach them to take advantage of the Web, especially social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter because employers want to have a presence on them.

Arnold, whose courses have included studies in public speaking, family communication and interpersonal communication, said she'll greatly miss the daily classroom interaction of her first decade at Rowan but believes that experience will greatly inform her new position.

"I'm starting to think of it like a photographer," Arnold said. "As a faculty member you zoom in and work with students close up and I love that. As an administrator, the hope is, when you widen the frame you see more."

 

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