Jim Sodt, Ph.D.
Professor of Communications
Community is at the heart of communications
I started out in academia but followed that with 10 years in corporate strategy, product development and market management with AT&T, so I bring to my teaching corporate experience. This background helps me give students an understanding not only of their subject matter, but of what it’s going to be like for them when they venture out into the world. The more we get students to roll up their sleeves and do practical work to supplement and clarify the theories they learn in class, the better prepared they’re going to be to contribute.
The people doing the hiring out there are more interested in a student’s experience than in his or her command of theory. For that reason we’ve always encouraged internships and insisted on practical experience and hands-on opportunities, everything from working in the SU communications office to assisting with the yearbook to pitching in at the campus radio station.
I’m very happy that I’ve been able to help create a range of opportunities here for students. I developed both the Corporate Communications major and launched the Public Relations major, and in those early years was sometimes advising up to 90 students at a time. It was a big workload, but we proved that there was a real need for these programs and majors at SU. And I enjoy seeing students find their passion and grow into these bigger roles. Two places I see this often are the Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter here at SU, and Sterling Communications, a student-run firm that takes on real clients on and off campus, and then helps those clients address real world problems. The initiative the students demonstrate is amazing, and I get to see them grow over the course of a few years in the major and these co-curricular activities.
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