I am very pleased to look back on this successful residency week in the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program. Students from near and far gathered at the Ron Joyce Executive Education Centre in Burlington, Ontario for a week of intense collaborative learning and networking. Three courses were taught: “Reputation and Brand Management,” “Negotiation: Theory and Practice,” and a recently enhanced course called “Advanced Research Methods and Capstone Project.”
We also had a lovely networking dinner at Symposium restaurant in Burlington, Ontario where we were regaled with a one-man band who played some acoustic tunes and took requests. Last night, we had our end of residency reception at Emma’s Back Porch in Burlington – what a great view of the lake from the lovely patio. Students and faculty wound down after an exciting week of learning and networking. It was very pleasant.
On Wednesday afternoon, Karen Humphreys-Blake, whose capstone I am supervising, presented her capstone project in front of the residency group of faculty and students on the topic of “Best practices in employee engagement communications.” Her presentation was superb, as was her capstone research. She took a mixed methods approach, including secondary data and in-depth interviews with organizational leaders to determine their strategic management of employee engagement communications. I hope she will soon publish her results.
This residency saw us introduce three major innovations into the program, all of which should significantly enhance the student experience. I have been working hard with Janice Peltier, our program assistant, to get these ready for liftoff during residency. I am happy to say we met our targets, with all three ready to go:
MCM Non-Disclosure Agreements
This week we introduced non-disclosure agreements that every student, staff and faculty member must sign. The NDAs ensure that MCM participants have frank and fearless conversations in full confidence and security during residency, in class, through our secure online learning environments, in MyMCM, our private social media portal.
MyMCM: A Private and Secure Social Media Portal for MCM Students, Faculty and Alumni
I was very pleased to announce the launch of MyMCM, a new social media portal private to the MCM program and fully secure. MyMCM will be a community of our program students, faculty, staff and alumni that where they can have profiles similar to Facebook pages and upload videos, audio, text, links or post status updates and participate in online discussions about any topic they choose. MyMCM will be a place for connecting and reconnecting and sharing personal life milestones, as well as professional opportunities: job postings, consulting opportunities, market intelligence and opportunities to publish.
MCM 740: Advanced Research Methods and Capstone Project
This new course, pioneered by all-star McMaster communications professor, Dr. Philip Savage, transforms the capstone project from a somewhat solitary endeavour to a project done within a supportive and collaborative community of practitioners and scholars. The course ties together all of the student’s learning of the past two years of the MCM by providing an in-depth examination of research methods from a practical, critical and ethical perspective. Dr. Savage then guides the students through the research ethics approval process where appropriate and then through to the creation of their research plan. He also remains as a trusted guide to make sure that the students and their chosen capstone academic supervisors stay on track in terms of goals and objectives and finish on time. As the MCM grows, this course will become central to the program’s consistency and sustainability.
Thus ends my second full residency as program director. I can tell you that it has been an exciting journey thus far – I have really enjoyed it. The students are excellent, the program is growing and the faculty are expanding. What could be better?