Page 5 - foxtalk issue 1 winter 2010

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Fall 2009
News & Notes
Bridging the Divide explores the communication
gap that exists between the oldest and youngest
American adults.
Marist Research Earns Lead Article in Top
Academic Journal
Led by Professor Mark VanDyke
two master’s grads publish paper
n addition to graduating
100 students since its inception in
2005, the Marist College Master’s
in Communication program can
now claim two alumni as published
authors, a first for the burgeoning
Professor Mark Van Dyke, Ph.D.,
and 2008 graduates Carmen Haynes and
Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell, co-authored
a paper that was accepted as the lead ar-
ticle in the peer-reviewed journal
Relations Quarterly
, one of the industry’s
oldest and most- respected publications.
Their research focused on ways in
which generational cultural differences
influence communication among differ-
ing age groups. The paper, “Bridging the
Divide: A Public Relations Perspective
on Intergenerational Communication,”
which began as in-class research, was first
accepted for presentation at the 2008 N.Y. State Communication
Association Conference.
“I’m especially proud of the work Carmen and Jennifer ac-
complished on this project,” Van Dyke said. “I believe this is
more testimony to the quality of work our grad students are able
to accomplish.”
For this project,
26 students conducted 60 interviews with
members of four generational groups: seniors, Baby Boomers,
Generation X-ers and Generation Next-ers. Students then paired
up and approached the topic of intergenerational communications
from different perspectives using data collected by the class.
Van Dyke said by the end of the class, almost every paper was
“conference-ready,” and he encouraged his students to submit
their papers to the New York State Communication Association
conference. Five papers were submitted, and all were accepted.
Representatives from those five groups presented at this conference,
some coming from as far away as Washington
State and Florida.
Conducting similar research himself, Van
Dyke invited students to work with him on
developing an article for publication; Haynes
and Ferguson-Mitchell accepted the challenge.
Prior to joining Marist College in August
2004, Van Dyke served in the U.S. Navy as
a public affairs specialist for 25 years, during
which he managed political-military public
relations programs in peacetime and combat
operations throughout the United States and
around the world.
“I was very eager to work with [Van
Dyke],” said Haynes, a communications
teacher at Odessa (Tx.) High School. “It gave
me the opportunity, for the first time, to be
part of the process of taking research and
developing it into a paper for publication.
Mary Alexander, Ph.D., formerly the director
of the Master’s in Communications program
and now the assistant dean of the School of Communications and
the Arts, also expressed similar sentiments.“It’s always exciting
for any program to see their students excel,” adding that getting
any work published is competitive and shows the ability Marist
students have to compete with the best in the field.
Ferguson-Mitchell, now a communications consultant at Chan-
ler Communications, in Brewster, Massachusetts, also credits the
program for her development in the field. “It really pushed me
and strengthened my skill set and strategic thinking.”