If you walk down the Journalism and Mass Communication wing of the Don Morris Center, you’ll likely pass Dr. Cheryl Bacon’s office. If you peer in the open door, you may see her typing furiously away on her laptop – no doubt responding to student emails, corresponding with faculty, planning a trip to her next conference, or maybe even composing her latest witty and tactful Facebook post.
Bacon has led ACU’s JMC Department since 1997. In addition to bringing a wealth of professional experience to the job, Bacon works to inspire students to use their skills to benefit others.
“I always hope that our students – while they are students and in their professional lives – will use their understanding of media and all its personifications in service,” Bacon says.
One of the ways Bacon inspires students to give back is through an event inspired by an alumna doing just that. Elise Mitchell, founder and CEO of Mitchell Communications Group, sets aside one day each year for employees of her internationally acclaimed PR firm to volunteer in the community. The event is called “Ignite.”
Bacon has modeled her own event for JMC students after Mitchell’s “Ignite.”
“Ready, Set, Give!” provides groups of JMC students $100 and two hours to go into the community to do good. In addition to serving their community, the event allows students to employ critical thinking and use organizational skills. Students also use their media skills to document the project.
In addition to serving as department chair, Bacon teaches courses in writing and public relations. The classes she teaches are grounded not only in her graduate and doctoral work, but also in her time working as a public relations professional for a state agency, a private PR firm and in various public relations roles at ACU before joining the JMC faculty.
Though her goal is for her students to learn what it takes to be successful in the professional world, it’s just as important, Bacon believes, that they learn to practice their calling as passionately as they practice their careers.