Students’ research accepted at communication conference

Students from the communication department will present their research at the 104th Annual Eastern Communication Association Convention in Pittsburgh, Pa. April 24-28. 

According to assistant professor of communication Atsushi Tajima, out of the 46 colleges and universities attending the conference, Geneseo will have 16 students presenting their papers, making the college the most represented institute at the conference. Pennsylvania State University follows Geneseo with seven students. As a public acknowledgement of academic work, the convention will host the presentation of around 100 research papers.

The 2013 convention marks the third annual James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference. According to Tajima, in the USC’s first year, Geneseo held the second largest presence and has had the largest for the past two years. 

According to Tajima, there is about a 50 percent student acceptance rate.

“All of the presenters have full papers. Each paper is reviewed by professors in other campuses, so it’s not just submitting a paper and being accepted,” Tajima said.

“I think the students really have to work very hard. The professional community sets expectations for their final products,” associate professor of communication Joseph Bulsys said. “It is highly competitive for students to get their papers accepted.” 

Bulsys also spoke about the commitment that both the students and professors make in this process. 

“It requires an awful lot of interaction between students and professors. For me, it is the combination of students willing to do the hard work and a faculty member to put in a great deal of personal time to match it,” he said. 

According to Bulsys and Tajima, the small size of the communication department has not created any obstacles for students.

“We have more students participating in the conference than do communication departments from large universities,” Bulsys said. “It is a comparison to so many other academic institutions and Geneseo is standing out. The sheer quantity and consistency of research that we have seen is unusual for a department of our size.”

Tajima said he attributes Geneseo’s presence at the convention and devotion to research to its liberal arts program. 

“We are what I like to call a ‘high-profile liberal arts college’ and this allows us to do a deep instruction in terms of how to think critically,” he said.

According to Tajima, professors within the communication department also have high expectations for students.

“We have this idea that communication is a very broad topic; among faculty members we like to have our students to produce something tangible in a very intellectually advanced way,” Tajima said.

Tajima also spoke about the precedent Geneseo communication is setting for the future. 

“I think we are becoming known as an undergraduate research powerhouse. We are getting some attention because of this success and faculty members from other schools have asked us, ‘What are you doing here to have this many students to produce high quality research?’” he said.