Tag: communications

Staci Thomas exudes enthusiasm and positive energy and it’s clear that students respond to her teaching tactics in her classroom where they practice the art of communication. Thomas, a lecturer in Management Communication at Olin was named one of 40 Top Undergraduate Professors by the Poets & Quants website this month.

Thomas received the Reid Teaching Award from the Class of 2017 and has been teaching at Olin since 2014 and at WashU since 2010.

Participants in the 2017 Washington University in St. Louis Olin Fleischer Scholars Program, a week-long residential summer program for for high school students geared toward underrepresented and first-generation college student populations, gathered at Bauer Hall on the Danforth Campus in St. Louis Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Staci Thomas, lecturer in Management Communications at Olin Business School, leads a workshop on resumes. Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos

Thomas uses the flipped classroom approach in her classes. Students watch lectures on line and when they get to class, they are on their feet, practicing speaking, presentation, and other communication skills.

“She has done an incredible job ensuring that the electronic content is robust and that when in class students are applying the knowledge they have gained,” Steve Malter told Poets & Quants. Malter is Olin’s senior associate dean of undergraduate programs.

“There’s a pretty clear difference between lecturing and teaching,” Thomas explained to Poets & Quants. “We need to stop “dumping information” and placing the onus of responsibility on the students to absorb it. Today’s student grew up in sound-bites, vivid imagery and ever-changing pop-culture references. Long lectures and static images are no longer effective. We need to create new ways of teaching that work for the student, not just for the professor.”

Thomas answers a series of questions on the P&Q site. And the last question says a lot about her dedication and enthusiasm for teaching, “If, in 10 years, I could look back on 10 years’ worth of successful, satisfied former students, I’d call that a success.” Link to P&Q interview.

Many new students have already arrived, and the first day of classes for everyone else is just around the corner. In the hectic first weeks of a new academic year, we like to point out some of the unique and helpful resources available to Olin students. One such treasure is the Weston Career Center’s Management and Communication Center.

The Weston Career Center and Management Communication Center share a common goal: to ensure that Olin students have the personal and professional skills required for lifelong career advancement in today’s global marketplace. We believe that professional success depends on the ability to communicate effectively, present confidently, and, ultimately influence business decisions.

The WCC–MCC partnership offers an extensive lineup of resources to help students hone marketable communication skills. Through personalized coaching, interactive workshops, and leading-edge technology, the staff of the WCC and MCC guides students as they sharpen professional communication skills that will distinguish them in interviews and help them secure jobs, leading to their career advancement. Graduates of Olin Business School will distinguish themselves among their peers as effective communicators who drive change and lead thinking. Below are some of the services MCC provides to business students:

Advising on résumés and cover letters

Consultants advise on effectively using the Olin résumé format and assist with creating compelling cover letters, making persuasive and descriptive word choices, identifying grammatical and structural weaknesses, and offering recommendations for improvement.

Practice interviews

Through in-person and recorded practice sessions, consultants lead you through behavioral questions common in most interviews. Your responses and body language will be evaluated and a personalized improvement plan is created.

Crafting effective presentations and PowerPoint slides

Personal presence, persuasive language, and audience engagement are just a few of the critical elements of a successful presentation. MCC consultants review your presentations and offer instruction and tips for improvement.

Often the weakest link in a presentation, PowerPoint slides should be a powerful reinforcement of the salient points of your presentation. MCC consultants can offer tips and recommendations for making visually interesting slides that complement the speaker’s points.

Guidance on written assignments

Executive summaries, case reviews, and professional emails are some of the written homework that you will encounter at Olin. Consultants review your written homework and make recommendations to help you develop habits to produce concise, convincing, and logical written work.

English as a second language (ESL) assistance

Consultants help students with the challenges of developing expansive English skills. Practice in pronunciation cultivates an understanding of the importance of intonation in comprehension. Both written and spoken work are evaluated for correct grammar and effective structure. Cultural questions are addressed in a friendly, confidential environment. In addition, the MCC offers individual practice sessions.

Could you use the support of the MCC? Schedule an appointment today. 

Improv and business are both collaborative acts: initiative and ideas must be accepted, and built on by everyone involved. Too quickly we want to say “no” to new thoughts or approaches, to criticize and discount, but opening up yourself to “yes” encourages the teamwork, innovation, and flexibility that furthers an acting scene or propels a business idea forward.

improv1During orientation in August, a group of 40 first-year Specialized Masters Program (SMP) students gathered in the Active Learning Lab of Bauer Hall with members of R-S Theatrics, a professional theatre company in St. Louis, to try some improvisational acting techniques.

The workshop, called “Business and Improvisational Acting,” involves demonstrations by actors followed by exercises for the students.

The guidelines for successful improv also apply to the world of business, and these guidelines can be simplified into one phrase: Yes, and…

Generally put, improvisational acting (or “improv”) is a form of theatre where two or more people act out a scene without a script. It is up to those involved to create in real-time a coherent story, characters, setting, and dialogue.

Productive collaboration does not occur, however, until everyone is listening. Too often we are busy thinking about what we want to say instead of listening to what is being said by others.

An improvisational actor must listen to his or her scene partner, as the partner’s ideas are just as important and intrinsic to the action onstage. At the same time, listening to what is being said at a meeting instead of just waiting for your turn to speak will widen your perspective.

It will influence what you have to contribute and show the other people that you are open to what they are saying. Additionally, the often stilted and uncomfortable world of networking becomes a lot easier when you focus on responding to the other person’s thoughts as a way to start a dialogue.

improv-4The workshop students started the session listening politely to the workshop leader with slightly puzzled looks on the faces, but ended the session enthusiastically engaged in improv exercises that illustrated the points above.

The application of improvisational acting to the business world is starting to be explored by university business programs across the country. If you wish to pursue this approach further, keep your eyes open for further workshops this school year at Olin.

Guest Blogger: Mark Kelley, Graduate Programs Records Assistant and member of the R-S Improv Theatrics Troupe

Cathy Dunkin

Cathy Dunkin

Cathy Dunkin, Lecturer in Business Communications at Olin, will be honored for her outstanding career in public relations next month at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) 2016 International Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

The PRSA announced the election of 23 new members into the organization’s prestigious College of Fellows, an honorary organization within PRSA comprised of more than 350 senior practitioners and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations #profession.

Election to the College, which was created in 1989 as part of an initiative focused on the future of public relations, is considered the pinnacle of a professional’s career.

College members are seen throughout PRSA and the profession serving in chapter, district, section, and national leadership positions; mentoring students and professionals; teaching; and engaging in professional practice.

PRSA_RGB_234781_altTo qualify for admittance into the College of Fellows, the public relations practitioner or educator must have at least 20 years of experience, hold the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential, and have demonstrated exceptional capability and accomplishment in the practice of teaching of public relations. Fewer than two percent of PRSA members are accepted in the College of Fellows.

The new Fellows will be formally inducted into the College at a dinner to be held Oct. 22, immediately prior to the PRSA 2016 International Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

Congratulations, Cathy!

Source: PRSA news release.

Cathy Dunkin, lecturer in communications at Olin, was named to the YWCA Metro St. Louis Academy of Leaders at a ceremony Dec. 5, 2014. The annual YWCA Leader Luncheon honors women for their career achievements and the important roles they play in business, politics, education, science, technology, and the arts.

Video intro to Cathy Dunkin.

YWCA-LogoDunkin was among 10 women named to the Academy this year described as “role models – living the YWCA Mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.”

Dunkin is the founder of the Standing Partnership, a communications strategy consulting firm.




Olin Business School Blog Olin Business School Blog