BUTLER UNIVERSITY STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION GRADUATE PROGRAMS: FACULTY Q&A WITH KEVIN WANG
PRSA East Central District is proud to have Butler University as our educational sponsor of this year’s leadership development programs.
Kevin Wang came to Butler University in 2011. It was his first full-time teaching position outside of graduate school, and he was joining Butler’s College of Communication early in its inception. He, alongside his colleagues, was integral in building the undergraduate Strategic Communication program at Butler.
Fast forward to today—Wang is no longer in Indianapolis. In fact, he’s living in Taiwan—but that hasn’t stopped him from staying closely connected to the Butler community. Wang teaches Research Methods Design and Analysis for Butler’s fully online Master’s of Strategic Communication program which launched in fall 2020. Excited to be a part of a program he shared a few insights about the course he teaches and the program overall.
Q: Can you share a little about the course you teach and why it’s relevant in today’s world?
A: I teach Research Methods Design and Analysis. Through my pre-course survey, I found that the great majority of students have not taken a research methods course before. Yet many of them are responsible for, or are doing, research in their current position. So you can imagine, many of them didn’t feel confident about what they do. And logically, it just doesn’t seem right. You have all these organizations putting people in charge of doing research who don’t have much background in research. I ask my students very purposely every week to talk about how they can take the concept we’re learning about and apply it to their current organization. I ask them to reflect critically and apply these things.
Q: What is the most interesting topic within your course?
A: As someone who has taught research methods for a long time and who enjoys teaching it, everything about research methods is interesting to me. For me, if I had to pick one, the topic that I find most interesting, is data visualization, which is how we can communicate complex information and complex data clearly and effectively through visualizations and graphics.
Data visualization is a topic that I think resonated with many students because of their strong desire to learn more about how to communicate effectively and clearly. We live in such an information-rich environment and our job as communication professionals is to not only gather data and gather research, but also know how to share those results and turn those results into actionable insights.
Q: How are you having students apply what they learn in your classroom to the real world?
A: I have my students walk through the entire research process. From conceptualization to presenting the results. Until they do that, they don’t realize that as a researcher they can do a lot to influence the outcomes. Most students expressed that they were nervous about this class, and a lot of them said in course evaluations that they are now more confident as a researcher. Here are a few of the qualitative comments from the course evaluations:
“For the first time in my career, I believe I understand how to collect, organize, and analyze qualitative data—a deficiency I’ve battled for years to no avail.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed being able to take the statistical concepts we learned and apply them to real world situations.”
“Every week there was a piece of the material that was applicable to most of our roles.”
Who would be a good fit for the master’s program?
A: I would say this program is best for mid-career professionals who want to update their skills—get a refresher—or people who are looking to make a change in their career and move into strategic communication. People who are mid-career professionals are probably going to get the most out of our programs because they’ll be able to take the things they learn and apply them right away.
Applications are currently being accepted for the August 2021 cohort of both our master’s and certificate program. If you’re not ready to apply, consider joining our mailing list so we can keep you updates on important information and dates.