Grad Alumni Reunion and Conference

Dear Graduate Alumni of the Department of Communication,

We are writing to invite you to a very special event planned for October 7-9, 2016: a graduate alumni reunion and conference in our beautiful new building on the UMass campus in Amherst. We are thrilled to host a gathering of graduate alumni from a broad range of cohorts whose careers span a number of professional directions inside and outside the academy. October is a beautiful time to visit the Valley and take advantage of apple cider donuts, hay rides, scarecrow contests, and the wonderful company of old friends and new connections.

The purpose of this gathering is to showcase the work and ideas of graduate alums to each other, to current students and faculty, and to interested visitors and members of the UMass Amherst community; to gather information that will help us with ongoing efforts to develop and refine our graduate programs in ways that respond to current academic and professional realities; and, of course, to meet, talk, eat, celebrate and reconnect. To do so, we've created a google doc with a call for your participation in themed panels and discussions. The program offers a variety of broad themes around climate for teaching and learning, academic life, careers, and fulfillment outside of the academy, etc. We will use a few different formats, as well, from story circles to roundtable presentations to the traditional research panel. Please locate a program slot in which you'd like to present and let us know your preferences at your earliest convenience so that we may plan accordingly. We hope that participating will offer both a chance to present on your work, ideas, and experience and to enable you to secure funding for your travel and stay.

In Fall 2016, we will have been in our new building, the Integrative Learning Center, for just over two years and we're eager to show you the space—a space of creativity, invention, discovery, and collaborative scholarship and intervention—whether in media studies, social interaction, cinema, rhetoric and performance, or the study of institutions, technologies and policies. Being able to gather with you at a time of many amazing transitions and in anticipation of good company and memories will be a privilege and a pleasure. Faculty alums are also included in this invitation-and we anticipate a number of them joining us in this event.

Lodging. We have reserved a block of ten rooms at the UMass Hotel in the newly renovated Campus Center. If you would like to make a reservation you may email Jessica Vallone (jrvallon@umass.edu) with the Group code: CAR16C. Another hotel nearby is the Lord Jeffrey Inn (Amherst Center) and there are multiple lodging options in Hadley and Northampton.

Please RSVP to Kathleen Ready at kmready@comm.umass.edu as soon as possible with information about the session (see google doc) in which you'd like to participate. We hope you will join us in this reunion conference and look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Leda Cooks, Graduate Program Director; Mari Castañeda, Department Chair