Feb. 20, the Department of Communication Studies hosted the 27th Annual David C. Bicker Communication Ethics Conference. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Blending Identities, Technologies and Cultures.”
“We want to raise the academic profile of our department and break down the stereotype of the communication major as an easy major,” said Dr. Brooke Van Dam, chair of the conference board. “We hope to get our students participating in a larger academic discussion.”
The conference functioned as an arena to showcase student work, educate students of the Communication Studies Department and help students find jobs in the field.
“We are in a time where clear boundaries that have been drawn either by us or for us are being, not just questioned, but collapsed,” said Amy Jung, member of the conference board and assistant professor. “The theme of the conference highlights the creativity and challenges that arise when we, for example, blend television and the classroom into a new type of communication – online free lectures/lessons on Khan Academy, or entire degree programs.”
Dr. Bryant Keith Alexander, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University, opened the conference with his keynote address, “Hyphens, Hybrids and Hyperspaces as Border Crossings of Possibility.”
Alexander highlighted the idea of differentiation in the media and the mixed links in both television and radio.
“Exploring, being and becoming are critical elements in the midst of seeking answers,” Alexander said.
Two separate plenary sessions were offered throughout the day, with students presenting their work in the communication field to attendees.
Assistant professor Karen Sorensen-Lang hosted the session on gender and Christianity in which senior communication studies major Erica Palacios presented her literature review assignment about the challenges of ordained women.
“I think it is important to have communication in a loving way and listen to other struggles,” Palacios said. “It is a way in which we can change perceptions and actions of others.”
Palacios received this year’s David C. Bicker Communication Ethics Award, which included a monetary gift and a plaque. During the presentation of the award, Van Dam said the David C. Bicker Ethics Award recognizes a students who has consistently excelled academically and demonstrated the ability to integrate faith and learning, and for the potential to impact our culture for God.
Communications honor society Lambda Pi Eta sponsored a session later in the day in which students explored possible job opportunities for communication degree holders. Assistant professor Ryan Montague and presenter Carmen Navarro, a communication studies instructor from Chaffey College, hosted the session.
The conference culminated with a film screening of the 1999 Chinese drama “The Road Home,” sponsored by the APU Forensics Team.
“This conference was so interesting and informative to see how this all tied in,” junior communication studies major Tiana Thompson said. “It is a blessing to be in a room full of scholars.”