Following the departure of Craig Freeman, J.D. from the Stillwater campus, the School of Media and Strategic Communications (SMSC) began to restructure the leadership within its master’s program. On November 1, 2022, Skye Cooley, Ph.D. was named the new Graduate Coordinator of the program.
Previously, Jared Johnson, Ph.D. served as Graduate Coordinator for the M.S. – Mass Communications program. Now he serves as the Interim Director of the SMSC, which left the position of Graduate Coordinator vacant for a portion of the Fall 2022 semester. Moving into the Spring 2023 semester and beyond, Dr. Cooley already knows what direction he wants to take the program.
“My goals are to continue the successes of our previous graduate coordinators in promoting our brand communication and sports communication certificate programs,” said Cooley. “My other goal is to do more outreach for recruitment to regional undergraduate universities in the Big XII,” he added. During his six years as an assistant professor, Dr. Cooley has built a reliable network of researchers, faculty, staff and industry professionals that gives him an advantage when strategically placing students with the right people to ensure success.
The flexibility offered to students when developing their final project is one of the program’s biggest strengths. Whether students decide to study abroad, apply for an internship, write a thesis or produce a creative component, Dr. Cooley plans to highlight diverse opportunities for each student within the program. “We are excited to add Dr. Cooley to the leadership team in the SMSC,” said Interim Director Johnson. “He brings incredible energy and the ability to work across all disciplines to create opportunities for our graduate students.” Johnson is confident that Dr. Cooley will bring the graduate program to the next level.
Dr. Cooley’s research has sparked the interest of many graduate students within the program, as he has recently been focusing on virtual reality (VR). “We have a growing relationship with the Department of Design and Merchandising concerning VR-related studies that I am excited to get our students interested and involved in,” he said. Professors Rachel Lim, Ph.D. and John McGuire, Ph.D. are also among the research team exploring VR esports, which they believe will be groundbreaking and create many opportunities for students to get involved in research. “Dr. Cooley’s work in virtual reality is something that’s cutting edge and in high demand,” said Interim Director Johnson. “In a short period of time he has built research teams spanning many different fields. This is a fertile area and he has positioned us at the front in VR research.”
With an evolving landscape of opportunities, Dr. Cooley looks forward to serving the students as Graduate Coordinator. “I am proud of our program and excited about the research our graduate faculty are producing together,” said Dr. Cooley, “It’s incredibly rewarding to be a Cowboy and we welcome all those interested in media who feel they could use a little more education to shore up skills, learn something new and exciting, or take on those big media related challenges facing the world to check out our program!”