After graduating from college, Mary Glick and her friends took a trip across America with no specific plan, no destination and no rules.
“We had an idea and we had a route plan, but if we liked some place, we’d stay an extra day or two,” Glick said. “If we didn’t like it we’d get out of town fast.”
As Cal Poly’s new journalism department chair, Glick has a similar forward-thinking attitude toward education. She plans to take Cal Poly’s journalism department to the next level in an effort to prepare students for an industry that is constantly changing.
“We don’t really know where the jobs of tomorrow are going to focus,” Glick said. “There may be new areas of opportunity, most likely driven by technology and changes to the media landscape that aren’t on our radar yet.”
Glick has extensive experience in both the journalism industry and in education. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English education from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego and a master’s degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, she went on to establish a career in several branches of journalism. Her previous experience includes starting her own public relations firm, teaching at California State University, Long Beach and directing the creation of the journalism program at SUNY Oswego. She’s also held numerous editorial positions, and was an associate director at the American Press Institute (API). In addition to her duties as department chair, she said she will gain direct contact with students by teaching Mass Media in a Multicultural Society (JOUR 219).
Glick’s strength lies not only in the breadth of her experience, but also in its depth. Her entrepreneurial nature showed early on in her career, when she started a public relations firm in Southern California. She soon moved into the journalism industry, however, finding that she had more freedom in newswriting to “serve the audience.”
Glick’s ability to start something new carried over into her subsequent positions. After working in the journalism industry for some time and teaching at California State University, Long Beach, she was called back to her alma mater to spearhead a new journalism program for SUNY Oswego.
“There were some existing courses, but creating something brand new, I find, is always exciting to me,” she said.
Though the journalism department at Cal Poly isn’t brand new, Glick said she is looking forward to the changes she and her colleagues in the department can bring.
“There are certain kinds of things that I value in work, whether I’m working in the educational world or in the journalistic world,” Glick said. “I value being able to work independently with colleagues who understand what we’re all doing together.”
And her colleagues at Cal Poly seem to be on the same page — graphic communication chair and former interim journalism department chair Harvey Levenson commended Glick’s experience.
“We hired a person who has the background to work with the challenges of the department in a positive way,” he said.
Journalism professor Teresa Allen, who served on the selection committee for the new department chair, shared a similar sentiment.
“I think that Professor Glick will lead by example,” she said.
Considering her history of keeping things fresh, it is no surprise that Glick plans on moving Cal Poly’s journalism department forward as the industry changes. Her vision for Cal Poly asks that the department strives to be entrepreneurial, highly principled, experiential, interdisciplinary and disruptive, she said.
“We want to take a leading edge, not to be following all the time,” she said.
With these goals in mind, Glick said she plans to start moving the department forward with a slight blending of the three concentrations (news editorial, public relations and broadcast).
“I think we really need to learn from each other because there’s a lot more that we have to offer each other, especially now when the dynamic of the audience is so fluid in all kinds of publishing,” Glick said. “Whether you’re a public relations person or whether you’re a journalist, you’re concerned with engaging your community.”
Though there are no immediate plans to change the current journalism curriculum, which is set to be the latest update in Fall 2013, Glick said curriculum is always a work in progress.
“What I think is important for us is to build in agility and flexibility into the existing course structure to make sure that there are ways within the curriculum as it already exists to use new technologies and new ways of doing things,” she said.