Dress for Success, Not Recess

Dress for Success, Not Recess

 

A few summers ago I had the pleasure of working for a high-end public relations firm based out of the Midwest. The experience was wonderful, and extremely eye-opening. I interacted with some of the premier figures within the PR world. My internship consisted of media relations,event planning, and project coordination.

My final day at the firm found me in the CEO’s office with a rare chance to ask for advice. She informed me that one of the great issues with newlygrads in the workforce is their lack of professional dress. I asked further, specifically why this was. She informed me that many colleges and universities at the undergraduate level do not put an important enough emphasis on professional dress. Speaking personally, I can attest to my boss’s claim. In my undergraduate career we were only expected to dress business casual if we had a major class presentation.

I shared this with my boss and she said that probably the best course of action was enforcing a department-wide and specific dress code, in any appropriate major or concentration. Of course, in most graduate programs, including the Center for Information, Communication Sciences, there is a dress code expectation. However, as the majority of students don’t actually attend graduate school, they are entering the workforce literally looking unprepared and unprofessional.

On the final day of class as an undergrad I remembered taking stock of my fellow classmates. This was in late April, in that time of year when summer is approaching, but winter still influences the day. Specifically, the day was in the high fifties, and cloudy. In taking stock of my classmates I noted the high number of t-shirts, short skirts, and hooded sweatshirts; all of which would be severely out-of-place in the world of PR that these soon-to-be-grads would be entering. The perplexing thing was, the instructor really didn’t look much better. That day in question she was wearing a sweater of her alma mater, a definite no-no in the business world. So perhaps students take the unprofessional dress lead from their instructors. In any case, I feel that a departmental mandated dress code for appropriate majors would be a great help to these future employees.

 

For more information on the dress code for the Center for Information, Communication Sciences please visit bsu.edu/cics

We Need a Braille Mary!

The information renaissance has brought about so many new avenues and innovations. Indeed, the information renaissance has impacted virtually every industry, and pastime. The common practice of braille literacy not-withstanding.

As many know, braille is the tactile code used by blind and low vision people in order to read and communicate. Braille has long been synonymous with accessibility, and progressiveness. However, within the past decade or so, braille literacy, and braille instruction has actually decreased. With the influx of new adaptive technologies and services has also come a lessening of a braille emphasis. For instance, in middle and primary school where most of the braille teachings take place, Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI’s), are now focusing more on teaching their students how to use screen readers and mobile technologies. Not to say that these teachings are irrelevant or negative, but for many blind students braille is a unifying task that both allows them to communicate, and allows them to feel empowered and independent at a time when many may not.

Take for example a perfectly sighted student, teachers would never dream of bypassing their reading skills to teach them to use a computer or cell phone! Some may say that though braille is certainly important, the modern technological age that we live in now doesn’t require braille literacy. While this may appear to be somewhat true (it isn’t) putting that aside, braille also gives practice to the action of using tactile skills and judgement for a blind person. People often say that blind people have “superhuman” hearing, when in fact it’s just a result of heavily-depended on listening. That can also be said about a blind person’s tactile skills, that they are far more streamlined and perfected when compared to their able-bodied peers. Braille literacy is an obvious predicter of enhanced tactile aptitude.

Concerning the TVI’s, in a way it’s somewhat understanble why they focus on technology training over braille literacy. More and more school systems are implementing the use of mobile technologies and digital learning. For instance all 5th graders in the school I attended now are given their own iPad. So it’s reasonable to infer that they are being pressured from above to focus more on tech, and less on traditional forms of learning. With that in mind, I beg of them to incorporate both braille literacy, and digital learning in to their teachings; for taught in tandem, they can yield unparalleled success for the student.

Learn more information on assistive technology and braille literacy at www.chicagolighthouse.org

The Roots of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is one of the great epidemics that haunts both the scientific world, and the entire world of publishing and research on the whole. It seems that every great discovery be it a paper, an article, or even a book cannot be fully appreciated until we are absolutely certain that the content created was not taken from someone else. Unfortunately, plagiarism continues to this day, in college campuses across the world countless numbers of students will be flunked because of plagiarism; and in laboratories across the world scientists will be discredited, and punished due to stealing another’s work. The main flaw that I see is that growing up these future plagiarists do not adequately understand the repurcussions for plagiarizing. It is often said that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This statement rings true regarding plagiarism. If a student is raised to believe that the punishments aren’t severe enough to cease plagiarizing, then when they reach the publishing world, they will continue their deviant ways.

 

When I was in high school plagiarism was treated as a sort of begrudging requirement by my teachers. Each semester one of them would dedicate half a class period to the faults of plagiarism. They would go about the lecture in a dazed, distracted sort of way; we the students were completely aware of the fact that these teachers either didn’t care about plagiarism, or they flat out didn’t want to teach it. In that light, many of my fellow classmates were lead to believe that plagiarism really isn’t that serious, or anything that someone should focus on. We were routinely told that plagiarism is wrong because we’re taking someone else’s work and masquerading it as our own. However, we were never informed of how damaging plagiarism can actually be. I think that if my teachers told us what could happen to us should we plagiarize, and how that would effect others, then maybe that could prevent future plagiarisms.

 

I fully do not expect this to be implemented, but honestly I think schools should put-in-to-place either a curriculum, or a continual seminar on plagiarism. Perhaps one day a week a teacher could dedicate some time to plagiarism discussions. The constant reminders of plagiarism would engrain the importance of plagiarism awareness in the mind’s of the students.

 

Ironically enough, college doesn’t necessarily advocate for the prevention of plagiarism as much as one would think. Though there are many automated plagiarism cross-checking systems used at universities, many of those programs aren’t used by all professors. Instead, in some cases papers are graded by graduate or teaching assistance who may not have the same focus or attention to identifying plagiarism. Therefore, the plagiarizing student doesn’t get punished, and his plagiarizing ways are likely to continue.

 

Learn more about the facts and figures regarding plagiarism in today’s world at

www.plagiarism.org/resources/facts-and-stats/

A Modern Definition of Human Communication (part 1)

This post is the first of two posts defining, and applying human communication. As you’ll see later on, human communication both evolves, and remains constant throughout history. These posts will give a comprehensive definition, and a stringent list of examples to add context to the definition.

 

Human communication. Such a vague, and ever-present designation in our world. Indeed, human communication is one of the key factors keeping us alive as a species. But what is it? Such a relevant topic must yield an obvious definition one would think. But no, in the following pages we will formally define human communication, and test it through a labyrinth of scenarios, and tests to provide context, and validity to the definition. Finally, we will discuss human communication in today’s world.

 

Definition:

The renowned scholar Stephen W. Littlejohn (2011) defined human communication as, “when a human being responds to a symbol,” (P. 24). Generally speaking, that is a definition of human communication. However, Littlejohn’s definition does not detail what kind of symbol the human is responding to, or to whom he or she is communicating with.

In order to further define human communication it’s important to take note of where the words human and communication originated. The word human comes from the old French word, humain, as defined as, “of, or belonging to man,” (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2016). The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines communication as, “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc,” (2016). Etymologically speaking, communication is derived from the Latin word, communicationem. After scrutinizing both definitions, a more accurate definition of human communication would be: a person-generated symbol created either consciously, or subconsciously, in the intent of expression, and/or exchange amongst one or more people.