WELCOME to the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University! The Mass Communications
Department offers a B.A. degree in communications with a concentration either in broadcast journalism or public relations. The department is housed under the School of Arts & Sciences and offers unique courses in writing techniques for journalism, TV production and public relations.
The mission of the Mass Communications Department is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills to build successful mass communication careers and the concepts to think strategically about the role of mass communications in society. The program provides comprehensive courses of study including theory and practice in print, TV, radio and public relations.
The department houses a state-of-the-art television studio and digital editing lab in the L Douglas Wilder Library. The department's teaching goals are aimed at building professional communicators who are grounded in liberal arts, possess strong reading, writing , critical thinking skills and who will gain the strategic skills essential to be competitive within the marketplace.
Growing and Expanding. The Department of Mass Communications launched a new Public Relations sequence January 2014. The sequence created new credited courses for students to experience such as Social Media, Public Relations Writing and Production, Media and Crisis Communications, Research in Public Relations, Event Planning, Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Campaigns, and Persuasion and Propaganda.
Under the new Mass Communications curriculum, students are able to select a focus between the Broadcast Journalism track or Public Relations track. Overall, students learn techniques under each track which will make them more marketable and competitive within the workplace.
USE HASHTAGS #vuumasscomm #vuupr #vuusocialmedia #vuuprssa
Greetings! As a proud alumna of the illustrious and beloved Virginia Union University it is my pleasure to welcome you to the webpage for the Department of Mass Communications. On behalf of the mass communications faculty and staff, I am pleased that you are interested in learning about the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University and invite you to spend some time exploring the many exciting opportunities offered to our students including major and minor offerings, internships, practicums, student media, student organizations, travel/study abroad opportunities, research, close alumni connection and much more.
In accordance with the rapidly changing media landscape, the goal of the department is to promote excellence in instruction, research and professional practice by preparing future journalists, professional communicators, and media practitioners. Please rest assured that our academic programs have been designed by men and women who are experts in their various academic fields. The overall intention of our entire curriculum is to provide the students with contemporary learning experiences that will enhance their opportunity to function and serve in an ever changing and challenging global environment. We continue to seek new ways of improving our pedagogy and other learning strategies and we are convinced that you will appreciate our efforts here at Virginia Union University.
The Department of Mass Communications includes two tracks and offers courses in the areas of Broadcast Journalism or Public Relations. Students will have most of their major courses under the track selected, however are able to take courses in the other area to complete their MCM elective requirements.
Courses offered for both tracks include:
MCM 200- Foundations of Mass Communications
MCM 204- Language Skills for Communicators
MCM 206- Social Media
MCM 210- News Reporting
MCM 245- Broadcast News
MCM 307- Media Ethics
MCM 309- Radio Production
MCM 345- TV Production I
MCM 400- Mass Communications Portfolio
MCM 415- Mass Communications Internship
MCM 412- Communications Law
MCM 414- Advanced TV Production
MCM 200- Foundations of Mass Communications
MCM 2014-Language Skills for Communicators
MCM 206- Social Media
MCM 210- News Reporting
MCM 212- Principles of Public Relations
MCM 300- Research in Public Relations
MCM 302- Public Relations Writing & Production
MCM 307- Media Ethics
MCM 400- Mass Communications Portfolio
MCM 412- Communications Law
MCM 415- Mass Communications Internship
MCM 416- Public Relations Campaigns
ART 240- Photography
ART 285- Computer Graphics
MCM 304- Minorities and Mass Media
MCM 324- Media and Crisis Communications
MCM 326- Persuasion and Propaganda
MCM 328- Event Planning
MCM 424- International Communication
The Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University offers a public relations sequence which was introduced to the department spring semester 2014 when alumna, Heidi Wilson saw the need to bring more strategic communication courses to the program. The sequence has provided an array of new courses added to the mass communications curriculum. Students concentrating on public relations have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience along with build professional networks through the department's partnerships, internship/mentor program and events.
Students concentrating on public relations at VUU get to explore:
Critical Thinking, Strategy, Intense Writing, Presentation Building, Creativity, Internship Placement, Mentorship Program, Hands On Learning
Please Use Hashtag #vuupr for photos of happenings with our public relations sequence
Students enrolled in the Mass Communications program at VUU get to explore:
Mass Comm students are given the opportunity to gain real experience in the work field through internships! Internships are available in all areas of mass communications such as television, radio, public relations, social media, film etc. The Mass Communications department partners with various departments on campus to provide internships to students who may not feel comfortable transporting to off campus sites. Students also have the opportunity to intern with companies outside of the Richmond, VA area, especially during summer semester. Mass Communications professors ensure students are informed and well-prepared when applying for various internship opportunities. A special thank you to the Virginia Union University Department of Athletics and VUU Center for Undergraduate Research for continuously working with mass communications students.
Department of Mass Comm Internship
The Department of Mass Communications offers its own internship opportunity within the department. During this internship, students are able to assist with various projects implemented by the department.
Alumni of Virginia Union University are strongly connected to the university and its students. Our mass communications alumni actively engage and interact with Mass Comm students through visits to campus and the classroom, various programs, mentorships, internships and job opportunities.
During the academic year, professionals and professors are invited to campus to share their knowledge and experiences with students in and outside of the classroom.
The Mass Communications Department partners with several associations and companies to provide job shadowing opportunities for students.
Hands On Learning/Experience
Students are given the opportunity to work with real professionals and clients through campaign development, presentations and video production.
Networking and Connecting
Students are given the opportunity to meet and network with VUU alumni, professionals and future employers by participating in various university/department programs and activities!
The department houses a television studio in the L. Douglas Wilder Library. Students are able to use the studio to practice their skills and create video projects.
The Department of Mass Communications is able to partner with other departments, companies and organizations who help the department provide opportunities for student learning. Some opportunities include sponsorship for various events, internships, hands on learning etc.
The Department of Mass Communications participates in various fundraising activities through the year.
Mass Communications students have the opportunity to join the Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists as well as participate on various departmental committees
All Department of Mass Communications faculty have open door policies and work hard to connect with students in and outside of the classroom setting. Faculty members participate in several events and activities with students.
The Department of Mass Communications engages students through research. Students are able to conduct research in the form of interviews, surveys, focus groups, case studies and experiments through the MCM 300 Research course. In addition, the department works closely with the VUU Center for Undergraduate Research Center. Students participate in the VUUCUR "Panther Pipelines" Discovery Day and internships through the center.
The Department of Mass Communications offers students a variety of different programs throughout the year. Programs include workshops, symposiums, mixers, meet & greets, professional development and many more.
Ms. Heidi Wilson
Chairperson and Assistant Professor
Heidi L. Wilson is an accomplished Professor, Administrator, PR Consultant, Speaker and Innovator originally from Martinsville, VA where her love for communications, people and teaching began.
Wilson currently is the Department Head and Public Relations Professor for the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University. Along with her title as Chairperson, she also currently teaches courses such as Social Media, Media & Crisis Communications, Public Relations Campaigns, Event Planning, Public Relations Writing, Research in Public Relations and more. In 2012, Wilson designed a new Public Relations sequence on behalf of the Mass Communications department that was officially approved by the University Academic Review Committee and implemented January 2014. In May 2016, the first group of students graduated from Virginia Union University with a concentration on Public Relations. In the fall of 2015, Wilson led the department in its first ever fundraising campaign titled "Shoe Rally" in an effort to help fund a Mass Communications Week event. In April 2016, Wilson implemented the first entire week of activities for the department in the history of Virginia Union University. In addition, under Ms. Wilson's leadership, the department has become one of the top 5 majors at Virginia Union University.
Wilson's most recent accomplishments include writing a prospectus to create a Master of Arts graduate degree program in Communication Studies, chartering a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter on campus, developing the first agency course at Virginia Union University called "Panther Communications," and designing a Minorities and Mass Media course which focuses on how different minority groups are portrayed in the media.
In addition, she recently published an article in the Edward Waters College's HBCU FACULTY JOURNAL ON RESEARCH INITIATIVES titled, "New Media Negative Effects on Millennials and Generation Z at Historically Black Colleges and Universities."
Wilson's memberships include: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Richmond Association of Black Journalists (RABJ), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Public Relations Society of America (Richmond Chapter) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Emmanuel Onyedike, Ph.D.
Dr. Emmanuel U. Onyedike, Professor in the Department of Mass Communications, has more than 28 years of experience teaching journalism and mass communications at the college level. He has been an administrator for seven of those years.
Dr. Onyedike's educational background includes:
Ph.D., Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1985, Dissertation topic: “Journalism Education and Newspaper Work in Nigeria.”
M. A., Public Affairs, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1982
M. A., Journalism, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1979 Thesis topic: “Origin and Development of Nigerian Press Laws.”
B. A., Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975
Dr. Onyedike was Dean, School of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Union University July 1, 2005 – June 15, 2006. He was Professor and Chair, Department of Mass Communications and Journalism at Norfolk State University, July 2001 – June 2005. He guided the department through a successful re-accreditation visit in February 2005 by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). He wrote Part I: General Information section of the self-study report. He also wrote five of the 12 Standards (Governance/Administration, Budget, Student Records/Advising, Faculty (Full-Time/Part-Time), and Internship/Work Experience. He co-wrote an additional Standard, Curriculum.
Onyedike was Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Mass Media Arts, Hampton University, Hampton, Va. 1999 – 2000 where he guided the department through a successful re-accreditation visit by the ACEJMC 1999 – 2000 academic year. He co-authored the self-study reports on General Information, Part I and Governance/Administration. Individually, he prepared reports on Budget, Curriculum, Instruction/Evaluation, and Student Records/Advising. He also coordinated a major grant proposal resulting in a $2.3 million Scripps Howard Foundation award to Hampton University’s Department of Mass Media Arts in 2000.
Dr. Onyedike teaches the following courses at Virginia Union University: MCM 413: Copy Editing; MCM 412: Communications Law; MCM 400: Mass Comm. Portfolio; MCM 350: Visual Communications; MCM 307: Media Ethics; MCM 210: News Reporting; and MCM 204: Language Skills for Communicators.
His professional memberships include: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Association of Third World Studies (ATWS).
Robert Crocker is an adjunct professor who has taught Radio Production, Foundations of Mass Communications, Research in Public Relations courses at Virginia Union University. Crocker's background includes being a Digital Content Manager and Web Reporter for stations such as WRIC 8 News and WTVR-CBS 6. He also has taught as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University.
Jasmine Snead teaches our MCM 206-Social Media, MCM 328-Event Planning and MCM 200 Foundations of Mass Communications courses. Jasmine is a Marketing Director for Radio One Richmond where she plans and executes promotional events and contests that take place on-air and online, manages & controls marketing expenditures, manages and maintains content on the station website and social media on a day-to-day basis.
Cheryle Walters Rodriguez
Ms. Cheryle Walters Rodriguez has 30 years of communication, training, media and public relations experience. She has worked in communications for the following companies and organizations: Chesterfield County Public Library, Evans Smith Church of Leadership, UPSPEAK Consulting, Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Amber Coles teaches broadcast courses including Broadcast Newswriting, TV Production I and TV Production II. She holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Communications from Liberty University and currently works as a Newscast Director for WTVR CBS-6. She has previously worked as a Communications Specialist/Videographer for the Virginia Department of Education. Her key areas of expertise include: Word Press, Video Production, Digital Photography, Audio Production, Adobe, Creative Design and Social Media.
Jasmine Turner-Perry is currently a Reporter at WBBT-NBC 12 where she covers live breaking news and national news stories such as Hurricane Matthew, The Chaos in Charlottesville 2017 and March of Our Lives 2018. She teaches MCM 304-Minorities and Mass Media which is new to the curiculum. The course analyzes and studies how different minority groups are treated and reported in the mass media.
Rakeem Mosey is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Union University and is currently a Communications Manager for the Virginia Department of Health. He works under the direction of the Communications Director to strategize and develop the office's communications plan. Mosey has worked as a Communications Manager for Northeast New Jersey Legal Services and as Community Outreach Coordinator for CASA for Children of Essex County, Inc. His skills include: public speaking, presentations, editing, media relations, outreach, research and social media.
Ricky Parker is an experienced Creative Director with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. He is skilled in non profit organizations, event planning, advertising, branding and event management. Parker received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University and graduate degree from Full Sail University. In addition, he has worked as a professor of Marketing at VUU for the past four years, is a Ruth Coles Harris Leadership Institute Scholar-In-Residence, VUU Center for Undergraduate Research Inaugural Fellow and currently serves as the Communications Officer for the VUU National Alumni Association.
Tyra Whitney is a current News Producer at WRIC-8 News and currently teaches our TV Production courses. She is a double alumna of Norfolk State University after receiving her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and graduate degree in Communication/Media Studies and Public Relations. When Whitney is not fueling her passion for news, she's exploring the great state capital that is Richmond, cooking, spending time with family and doing community service. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc. and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Brent Solomon is an Emmy-nominated Anchor/Reporter for WWBT-NBC 12. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and graduate degree from Purdue University. During his career, he has interviewed a host of influential people including President Jimmy Carter, VP Joe Biden, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, singer Trey Songz and many others. When he is not working, he enjoys public speaking, mentoring, fitness, and giving back to the community through the service efforts of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Raina Fields has specialities in public relations, marketing, reputation and crisis management, social media and diversity and inclusion. She is accredited in public relations (APR) and possess degrees from Loyola University Maryland, Virginia Tech and VCU. In addition, she currently works for Virginia Commonwealth University as an Internal Communications Director where she leverages her integrated communications expertise to ensure that VCU faculty, staff, students, alumni and campus communicators are informed of institutional initiatives and events.
Dina Weinstein is a Richmond, Virginia-based journalist with experience in print publications and radio. She has worked as Editor and Publisher for Living Cheap and Richmond magazine. In addition, she works as a Board Director/News Producer for WRIR Richmond Independent Radio where she produces news segments for the weekly public affairs show Open Source RVA, interviews Richmonders of local, regional, state-wide and national interest, trains radio volunteers in journalism & radio. She holds degrees from Boston University in Fine Arts and Columbia University in Journalism.
The Department of Mass Communications re-established its Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists (VUUABJ) chapter on the campus of VUU Fall 2016! The VUUABJ chapter is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). NABJ is an organization of black journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide.
The VUUABJ chapter advised by Professor Aloni Hill has hosted many events and programs on the campus of Virginia Union to include: VUUABJ Presents Mark Tenia, Reporter at WRIC 8 News, a “Dorm Storm” event where members went to each dormitory to introduce themselves and provided students with study tips for mid-term exams, final exam study hall to prepare mass communications students for their finals, VUUABJ Chipotle Fundraiser Night and VUUABJ Presents Katie Dupree, Meterologist for WRIC 8 News.
The VUUABJ chapter also participates in community service programs such as the Making Strides for Richmond Breast Cancer Walk held by the American Cancer Society on October 16, 2016 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, VA.
You may follow and keep up with VUUABJ on Instagram @VUUABJ !!
The Virginia Union University chapter of PRSSA was chartered in February 2019 and is the first public relations student organization to be established within the Department of Mass Communications on the VUU campus.
Ms. Heidi Wilson, who is the chapter's Faculty Advisor and Department Chair of Mass Communications, initiated the chartering after also establishing a public relations sequence at VUU in 2014. The chartering process included obtaining a sponsoring chapter which is Public Relations Society of America Richmond Chapter and approval from the National Board of Directors for PRSA.
The goal of the chapter for the 2019-2020 academic year is to make the VUU campus community aware of the field of public relations by using the theme "The VUU Network." This theme is very inclusive and teaches all VUU students that no matter what your major is---networking and making connections is very important. The VUU chapter of PRSSA has many events planned for the year which includes: Santa's Study Hall, A Crisis Drill workshop, "What's on the Market" panel discussion, Head Shots, and various community service projects.
Benefits of PRSSA include:
Please follow and stay connected: Instagram: @vuuprssa
Any students interested in joining PRSSA, please contact Professor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please click photo for video)
(For more videos please visit our Youtube page at Virginia Union University Mass Communications Department!)
April 3, 2019
PRSSA CHAPTER CHARTERED AT VIRGINIA UNION UNIVERSITY
The Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University has a new student organization. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) organization was chartered in February 2019 in an effort to help prepare students for the profession through scholarships, conferences, professional development, networking, internships and more. It is the first of its kind to come to VUU! The chartering process was initiated by Department Chairperson, Heidi Wilson who also established the public relations curriculum at the University five years ago. "I'm very excited that VUU students will have the opportunity to gain the benefits of having a PRSSA chapter and be able to remain competitive, says Professor Heidi Wilson, Department Chair."
The chartering process included ofcourse student interest, endorsement from the local PR chapter (PRSA Richmond) and approval from the Public Relations Society of America Board of Supervisors.
“I’m super excited that our Mass Communications department now has a PRSSA chapter. It's a perfect opportunity for students to get experience in the PR field outside of the classroom. As a senior, I seriously recommend other upperclassmen join PRSSA and gain that experience before graduating," says Angel Caldwell, a Mass Communications student with a public relations focus.
In just a few short months, the PRSSA chapter has already made a huge impact on the students at VUU through such programs as a media panel, headshots, service learning and various community service projects. It is the goal of the VUU PRSSA chapter to continue to make the VUU campus aware of the definition of public relations and how it relates to all majors!
Follow @vuuprssa on Instagram to stay informed about the phenomenal work that PRSSA members are doing!
December 20, 2019
PR Professor Awarded Scripps Howard Foundation Grant for Camp
Ms. Heidi Wilson, assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University was recently awarded a Scripps Howard Foundation grant that she will use to coordinate and facilitate a multimedia training camp this summer that will train middle school and high school students interested in studying mass communications.
" I am looking forward to meeting and connecting with young scholars who are interested in studying communications, they are in for a real treat, says Heidi Wilson, Chairperson for the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University.
Students enrolled in the camp will learn the basics of journalism while exploring multi-platform reporting and new media technology that will help them create work that will be displayed in front of a digital audience.
Ms. Wilson will partner with the BND Institute of Media and Culture to plan and host the camp.
Senior Communications Specialist – Employee Communications at Dominion Energy
Community Outreach Director & Media Personality/ Radio One, Inc.
Certified Executive/Dignitary Protection Specialist
Masters Level Therapist & Counselor/ Community Council Health Systems
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
Director of Alumni Relations/Virginia State University
Owner Principal at DexRob Group
Patrice Baltimore Hagan
Senior Public Relations & Communications Manager
Virginia Department of Social Services
Account Executive, Taylor Firm
Lecturer/TV Studio Assistant at North Carolina Central University
Candace Moore-C/O 2007
"The Mass Communications Department offers a supportive environment for students to excel. Faculty members provide encouragement and candor to building professionals, ultimately challenging them to apply their skills and seize competitive opportunities in the field."
Mass Comm Student-C/O 2018
"The Mass Communications Department founded its Public Relations sequence in January 2014, this outstanding program has given students opportunities to do paid internships to earn academic credit. Also, the public relations sequence gives you first hand job shadowing experiences, networking events and guest speakers."
Taylor Jenkins-Thompson-C/O 2017
"I learned so much from the Mass Communications Department! I'm happy that I chose public relations as a major because now I am confident that I will find my dream job and continue to work in the public relations industry throughout the rest of my career. I'm thrilled and ready to take public relations to the next level!"
Trevon Womack-C/O 2017
"I'm thankful for being a mass communications student at Virginia Union University! Mass Communications is a vital part of the business world today and the department prepares students for it through its broadcast journalism and public relations tracks."
Sheora Harris-C/O 2006
"Congratulations on the extension of the VUU Department of Mass Communications. I am enjoying watching, hearing, and learning of the many ways this department is experiencing growth and developing in order to prepare students for very competitve fields after graduation. As an alumni of both VUU and this department, I am proud!"
Gerard Woodridge-C/O 2016
"The Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University has opened the door for me to proceed with my love for television."
Brittany Smith-C/O 2017
"Broadcast Journalism was my first choice when coming to Virginia Union University, after taking one course with Professor Heidi Wilson, I knew Public Relations was the best choice for me. Professor Wilson's classes has definitely prepared me for a career in PR."
The Department of Mass Communications would like to thank all of our supporters!!
If you would like the opportunity to partner with the department during our 2019-2020 academic year, please contact Chairperson, Heidi Wilson at email@example.com