Mass Communication Chair stepping down without regrets

With the many changes that take place in life, sometimes it takes a moment to stop the hectic pace and reflect again on the things we once dreamed of. This is exactly what Dr. Janet Bridges has decided to do.

Accepting the position of Chair in the Mass Communication Department almost three years ago, Bridges has seen her hard work pay off in numerous ways.

“This time has been a good learning experience for me,” Bridges said. “I didn’t come in with the intent to quit, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.”

Before taking on the Chair position, Bridges knew that her original focus of writing a book was going to be put on the back burner. With many things to take care of on a daily basis, Bridges was left with no extra time for research.

“I’m not getting any writing done,” Bridges said. “This project is something that is really important to me.”

During her time as Chair, Bridges was able to oversee many important changes with in the Mass Communication Department; changes that have made the department better.

“While I have been Chair, the department completed its transition from two separate departments to one,” Bridges said. “Before I arrived, the faculty had put together the Mass Communication curriculum and was already operating as one department.”

Those who worked with Bridges knew her as one who was able to accomplish much.

“She has given the department a whole new energy and momentum,” Mickey Herskowitz, Phillip J. Warner Chair and fellow professor said. “She was a delight to work with, and I don’t think any faculty member would feel that she hasn’t turned this department in a positive way during her tenure.”

Eventually, Bridges was able to over see the beginning of a long process of having the Mass Communication Department professionally accredited.

“The faculty had decided to seek professional accreditation of the new program,” Bridges said. “I have been responsible for making certain that the Department would meet standards for professional accreditation.”

While SHSU is currently looking for a person to fill Bridges’ shoes as Department Chair, Bridges praises the current Phillip J. Warner Chairs and the faculty that she works with on a daily basis.

“We are searching for our first Dan Rather Chair in Broadcast Journalism and have been fortunate in having two Phillip J. Warner Chairs in Journalism, teaching with us on the print side,” Bridges said. “We have added new faculty who bring both exceptional academic credentials and a wealth of diverse talents to our students.”

A few of the changes that have happened in the past two years include the addition of a full time manager for the KSHU stations, as well as purchasing new equipment for the department.

“Since I have been here, the department has received good allocation of equipment money,” Bridges said. “The Houstonian received all new computers and software and the radio-television program has received equipment, including a new transmitter to go digital. This summer, [the department], will also be getting all new editing equipment, as well as a van for mobile news coverage.”

While Bridges admits that she has a lot of research to catch up on, she says she will remain teaching.

“The plans are for me to keep teaching,” Bridges said. “It has been good getting to know our students better and it has been a very cooperative environment. Right now I am just planning on getting all my research organized.”

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