What’s New at Newhouse?

Written by Francesca Sailer
Published on October 13, 2020

For many reasons, our beloved Newhouse is looking different this fall. From the most underpopulated Food.com in decades to new administrative leaders, there is much to report. Here is the 4-1-1 on what is new at Newhouse!

Welcoming new faces

While there are many new friendly faces at Newhouse, we will certainly miss our very own Center for Social Commerce (CSC) co-director Maria Russell, who retired this past spring. Russell served as an educator for 34 years at Newhouse, and her presence and knowledge will be overwhelmingly missed. We thank her for her tireless commitment and leadership since the early days of the CSC and wish her the very best.

Since Professor Russell’s departure, we have welcomed Professor Beth Egan to the CSC team to serve as co-director alongside Gary Grates, Principal at W2O. In addition to her role with the CSC, Egan is an associate professor of advertising. She brings 25 years of industry experience and is a Newhouse graduate herself. We are very excited and grateful to have her joining our team.

As announced by SU this past spring, Mark J. Lodato is now serving as Dean of Newhouse, and joins us from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He leads with an open-door policy and encourages students to reach out and be vocal about any problems they are experiencing. Lodato has come into a very different Newhouse than previous years but is still encouraging students to communicate openly with him and his team.


A very empty Food.com. Booths only allow one individual, and tables have been separated and chairs removed.

Finding ways to accommodate an unconventional semester

Like other colleges on campus, many Newhouse classes are working in a hybrid fashion, with one day in class and one day on Zoom. Professors remain flexible and understanding of students’ needs and personal circumstances. Utilizing Zoom functions like breakout rooms helps encourage participation and dialogue even when students are not physically in the classroom.

Recently, Newhouse has sent out a Mid-Course Feedback form. Unlike the usual end-of-semester course evaluation forms, Newhouse has now given students the opportunity to comment on what they are enjoying and what they are struggling with at the halfway point of the semester. Professors will be able to review and address the feedback, demonstrating that Newhouse remains diligent in engaging with and supporting its students in a digital learning environment.

Professional development in a COVID world

During an uncertain time for the job market, the Newhouse Career Development Center (CDC) remains an important resource for guidance and support. Just last week, The Martin J. Whitman School of Management and Newhouse teamed up to host the Virtual Business and Communications Career Fair, where students connected with more than 100 employers in group and one-on-one formats via Zoom. Though different than past career fairs, the event ran very smoothly, and many students had meaningful conversations and created connections with potential employers.

Though virtual, the Newhouse CDC remains open with Zoom drop-in hours almost daily for help with resumes and other quick questions. CDC staff are also helping students navigate the digital job search by providing a variety of step-by-step guides on how to register and attend virtual meetings with prospective employers.

Student success and involvement from six feet apart

Other areas that have been largely impacted by COVID regulations have been student clubs, organizations, speaker events and workshops. Large student organizations like PRSSA have already hosted speakers via Zoom this semester, including Carrie Strehlau, senior social media specialist at St Jude’s Research Hospital. On October 14, our Center for Social Commerce team will host Jon Iwata, Executive Fellow at Yale School and former Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer at IBM to discuss how the unforgettable events of 2020 are shifting the landscape for communications and marketing professionals. Register for the event here!

Many student organizations are finding creative ways to encourage engagement and participation in virtual events. For example, Student Ambassador Regan Talley shared that the Women in Communications (WIC) club asked members to submit questions prior to their virtual speaker event via WIC’s Instagram, so the speaker was able to better tailor her presentation and facilitate a lively conversation.


Image courtesy of Regan Talley from Women in Communications. An image of the first speaker WIC hosted this fall, Gaby Groh, who spoke on her platform “Adding Value” which she created to give advice to young workers on professionalism for topics like dress codes, interviewing and requesting feedback from peers. After success from their speaker, WIC have also announced more alumni female speakers to come!

2020 has been a time of change for many, and Newhouse is no exception. With both staff changes and physical changes, Newhouse has been doing its best to adapt, remain flexible and support students during this challenging time.