School of Communication Studies Alumnus Earns Distinguished Teaching Award
Baker University awarded School of Communication Studies alumnus Joe Watson, Ph.D., one of its prestigious teaching awards for his extraordinary dedication to broadening the horizons of students and exhibiting superior moral judgment and character in the classroom.
Watson, associate professor of mass media at Baker, was honored with the Jennie Howell Kopke and Verda R. Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching during the university's May 2014 commencement ceremony at in Baldwin City, Kansas. "It is an incredible honor at my institution to receive this award," Watson said. "I think what makes it all the more meaningful for me is that we truly have exceptional faculty at Baker."
Watson earned his Ph.D. in Mass Media and Organizational Communication from Kent State University's School of Communication Studies in 2005. He views his time at Kent State as invaluable to his growth as both an academic and a professional. "I knew they had great faculty in the School of Communication Studies," Watson said. "I knew if I went there, I would come out with a great experience and a valuable degree. I never felt like I was just a number because the faculty were always interested in what I was doing."
Watson, a 15-year television news veteran, two-time Emmy Award recipient and former public information manager for Cleveland Metroparks, has worked for several networks around the country, including Cleveland's WUAB-TV and WKYC-TV. He worked as a reporter, producer, executive producer and managing editor before relocating to Kansas to teach broadcasting, media law and public relations at Baker.
Reflecting on his time in academia as both a student and a professor, Watson said, "I have found that when students recognize there's more to college than just getting to the finish line, they really enjoy and value the process. Embrace it, and try to get the most of it."
Introducing new perspectives can help students learn about unique cultures and explore similarities and differences.
Ikram Toumi, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, has brought that possibility to Kent State University with her global education initiatives. Originally from Tunisia, Toumi is tri-lingual, speaking Arabic, English and French, which fuels her interest in multicultural and socially-diverse dimensions of global media and communication.
Kent State alumna Courtney Flickinger, ’20, has been using communication skills to advocate for aging populations since her senior year of college. In 2019, she was a communications intern with Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities, and has since began her career there as a Communication Specialist. This semester, she’s sharing her knowledge and experiences with students in two Communication Studies courses.
Students, donors, faculty, staff and friends gathered in Taylor Hall on Friday March 10, 2023, to celebrate student achievements and donor generosity. Communication Studies offers 12 scholarships for returning students. Student leaders from the school’s three student organizations were also recognized.