By Joe Procopio
Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, first-year assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, has taken on the role of guiding graduate students in the world of event planning and management with her course, IMC 580.
These graduate students have collaborated with the School of Journalism and New Media faculty and staff for IMC Connect!, the upcoming roundtable discussion series with prominent IMC leaders in research and practice. Invited guests include top communication executives from FedEx, The Home Depot, Chick-fil-A and Carnival Cruise Line. Additionally, researchers from four peer institutions are invited to attend this two-day experience.
This group of 25 students is broken into five groups, each in charge of two event guests. Students also have organized themselves into three groups such as writing, logistics and design. By dividing and conquering, these students have been able to make this event one to remember.
“IMC 580 has given me an opportunity to gain hands-on experience while still learning in the classroom,” said Margaret Savoie, a first-year IMC master’s student. “It has been great to be in a classroom setting where the students’ ideas are heard and put into practice with the planning of IMC Connect!”
The five teams have been involved in the planning and implementation of IMC Connect! and are able to connect with the event guests through travel management, tours of the campus and Rowan Oak, and attending the sessions within the event. By using platforms such as Slack and BaseCamp, graduate students have been able to complete checklists and communicate with their team members outside of the classroom.
Students are also responsible for communicating with professors to encourage various classes to participate in the event by attending different panel sessions during IMC Connect!.
“Dr. Bradshaw has really given me the authentic feeling of what an event planner’s day-to-day tasks look like… I am excited for the event to be here so I can see all of our hard work this semester come to life! That will be the best reward.” said Katlyn Tidwell, a first-year IMC master’s student.
Students are able to get a taste of what the life of a real event planner is like by applying textbook knowledge to hands-on planning and gaining advice from guest speakers in the classroom. Guest speakers include Joey Wagner owner of J Wagner Group, Dr. Katie Foss, professor of Journalism and Strategic Media at Middle Tennessee State University, and Amanda White, director of Marketing & Communications for a Little Bit of Hope.
“Over the past seven weeks, I have learned that event planning is truly an art form,” said Abigail Nichols, a second-year master’s student. “From the venue to the guests to the table cloths and seating chart, event planning goes beyond what we can see and hear.”
Throughout the semester, students have had site visits to assess the venues for the event, including the University Museum and The Inn at Ole Miss. At each of these locations, students have had the opportunity to ask questions regarding things such as safety precautions, parking availability and COVID-19 regulations. Once students had this information on the venue, they decided together if it was suitable for the event and helped to develop the event layout.
IMC Connect!: A Roundtable Experience will be held at The University of Mississippi March 31-April 1 featuring IMC practitioners, academic researchers and faculty who will discuss various topics in breakout sessions. IMC students and faculty will host the guests and to connect with them throughout their time in Oxford.
Click here for more information about IMC Connect! 2022.