Cornell and IC faculty exchange ideas on teaching business and professional communication

Feb 11, 2014

Contact: Ashlee McGandy, 607.254.1368,

In a world where communication tools and media are constantly changing, teaching students how to present themselves and their work professionally can be a challenge.

On January 15, communication instructors, students, and professional communication staff from across Cornell University and Ithaca College came together to share ideas on best practices in business and professional communication courses. "Innovations in Professional and Business Communication: A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium for Communication Research, Pedagogy, and Dialog" was co-hosted by the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Participants included faculty from SHA and CALS; the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, and Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell; and the Department of Writing at Ithaca College. Staff members from SHA and CALS and a student assistant also took part in the event.

"We are thrilled with the enthusiasm everyone showed for the symposium. We are united by an interest in business communication and other applied communication skills, but—until now—we haven't had many opportunities for collaboration," said David Lennox, lecturer in management communication at SHA, who co-organized the symposium with Kathy Berggren, senior lecturer in management communication at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Presentations covered such topics as using social media in business communications courses; creating written reports in Microsoft PowerPoint; and helping students adapt to diverse audiences and organize their messages coherently.  Participants—from programs as varied as engineering, business, hotel administration, and theater—shared successes and challenges and discussed research and teaching ideas.

Feedback after the event was overwhelmingly positive.  "The excitement around sharing our unique expertise with one other is a testament for the need and desire for collaborative professional development. We are already planning future opportunities for communication faculty from disparate areas to forge common ground, and learn from one another," said Berggren.

For more information about future roundtables and symposia, please contact Erica Heim, program manager, at

About the Cornell School of Hotel Administration
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research and industry advancement. The school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field. For more information, visit

About the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
With more than 3,000 students, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is the second largest undergraduate college at Cornell University and the third largest college of its kind in the United States.  Its faculty, staff and students are at the cutting edge of research in the life sciences, environmental sciences, food and energy systems, and community and economic vitality. In national surveys, CALS consistently ranks as the best college of agriculture and related sciences in the country. The land-grant mission of the College, which encompasses research, education, and extension programs, allows for the creation and dissemination of knowledge that improves lives for not only citizens of New York, but also the nation and people around the globe. For more information, visit