Putting skills to work outside the box a good thing for Cedarville students

We have this saying in the Cedarville University Department of Communication: “What Can’t We Do?”

We put it on T-shirts, hashtag it, say it, etc.

The more students apply that to co- and extra-curricular activities while on campus, the better it prepares them to find work.

In addition to my journalism teaching responsibilities in the department, I also teach a writing class to communication majors. My sense is that what we discuss and learn in that class helps them think about writing in new ways. They are, after all, comm majors and want to know the best ways to communicate in whatever job they find.

There are obvious limits on what they can do. They can’t use their degree to be a nurse, an engineer, a school teacher or an astronaut. But they can work at hospitals, innovative companies, schools and even for NASA. All those places, and just about any other place open for business, needs people to do the work comm majors do. “Where Can’t We Work?” is another way to think about it.

I could say just about the same thing for journalism majors. We train them to be reporters and to do other aspects of journalism. But they are employable beyond those areas at businesses and non-profits. Same goes for broadcasting and digital media students. We just did a survey of recent journalism graduates, and most are working either as reporters, content marketers or public relations specialists.

Similarly, students choose to work for Cedars, our campus newspaper and website, and Resound, our campus raido station, from outside of the comm department. We are inclusive, not exclusive, in both directions.

I just saw this article about a graduate from a program outside of our department. He got a good job at a web design firm and was once a part of our design team for Cedars. Andrew Spencer did some great work for us and helped us win a design award in the annual Ohio Newspaper Association contest. He looked for ways to grow his skills outside of the classroom.

Students are wise for taking advantage of opportunities outside of their specific discipline. It grows their knowledge and understanding of the world.


The Easter message can be told and shared in so many ways

Easter  has come and gone this year, but Christians should contemplate — at least for a minute — every day what Easter represents. I don’t solely mean the scriptural account and the theological truths that emanate from that account and down through the epistles. A correct biblical understanding is, of course, important.

What I need more of in my life — and I suspect we all do — is to see life-changing events that reveal the power of the cross and the resurrection. And Christians need to share the biblical understanding of it and the stories that show that power in people’s lives. I have been seeing lots of this lately.

On Sunday, I saw a link on Twitter about the true message of Easter. So I clicked the link and was pleasantly surprised to see an opinion column in the Orange County Register newspaper accompanied by a clever cartoon that spoke tremendous truth in such a simple way. I admire Mark Landsbaum for having the courage to publish such a piece. And I admire the newspaper for having the courage to allow one of their own to have the freedom to write what was on his mind and heart.

Click the link in the tweet below and read.

My recent trip to the bush of Kenya showed me and my friends the power that Christ’s resurrection can have in any life. Christians have an appreciation for that power, but to sit on dusty benches in a half-bulit church on the other side of the world and see a broken man make Jesus the Lord of his life is distinctly profound. All of us who were there see Jesus just a little differently. At least I do. He increased my faith and my trust in Him that day. As my good friend Brian Hanson says in the video below, these are things you only read about.


Brian Hanson Kenya Story (2016-03-20) from Grace Baptist Ch, Cedarville OH on Vimeo.

I was grateful to hear Brian’s story because he added details that I left out of my blog account, which you can read at the link below.

My prayer is that this experience will continue an upward trajectory of abiding in Christ more deeply, and that I will meditate on what it means for him to be the vine and for me to be a branch. Heard a great message on that in chapel Wednesday.

Telling these true redemption stories is needed. People connect to stories. That’s why Jesus told so many of them. There are great storytellers in the world, but more need to be told. Encouraging my students to do so is a developing passion I have. I am also developing a passion for wanting to do the same. I pray that I can return to Kenya sooner than I can imagine right now. There are stories in the bush that need to be shared like the one I am sharing here. And this story isn’t over. My prayer is that I will be able to tell the next chapter in this story and others like it to a wider audience if that’s in God’s plan for my life. If not, I pray someone else does.

And a belated Happy Easter.

Cedarville students take advantage of opportunity to cover Ben Carson’s visit to campus

From left, Josh Burris, Anna Dembowski and Campbell Bortel worked together to cover Ben Carson's visit to Cedarville University.

From left, Josh Burris, Anna Dembowski and Campbell Bortel worked together to cover Ben Carson’s visit to Cedarville University. (Photo courtesty of Scott Huck)

When a presidential candidate comes to campus it provides a unique opportunity for journalism students to cover a story outside of the campus bubble.

Republican Dr. Ben Carson was on the Cedarville University campus Tuesday afternoon, and our students got to report on a national story. Carson held a news conference outside and spoke at a rally in the chapel.

Anna Dembowski, a journalism major and editor of Cedars, wrote about what Carson had to say about his vision for the presidency while he was on campus. If you missed it, her story is an excellent recap of what Carson said. She did a second story about Carson’s views on what the next generation needs to succeed. Anna also live Tweeted the event.

Photographer Campbell Bortel did a great job of capturing the event in pictures.  Take a minute and look at the photos.

Of course, we also have a good video report from Josh Burris, Cedars’ multimedia person this year.

We don’t get stories like this to cover often, but when we do it’s great to see the students step up and do it well.

Josh Burris records Ben Carson's news conference at Cedarville University on Sept. 22.

Josh Burris records Ben Carson’s news conference at Cedarville University on Sept. 22. (Photo by Campbell Bortel)