With Changes Come New Opportunities for T-birds

Source of Photo: albfoundation.org

By Mackenzie Pedersen, Staff Writer

Thunderbirds, unfortunately, must face the facts: the Arizona sun is setting upon the Thunderbird campus. This bittersweet change has arrived faster than expected. Regardless of the pain associated with leaving what is known, Thunderbirds will make Downtown Phoenix their new home. Moreover, with change comes incredible opportunity!

The staff of Arizona State University, as well as representative members of the Downtown Phoenix community, are very welcoming and open their arms wide to greet the incoming flocks of Thunderbirds with excitement. These individuals consistently reassure the students and faculty of the upcoming opportunities and resources available for Thunderbirds. ASU staff and faculty encourage Thunderbirds to do what Thunderbirds do best: Be Comfortable in the Uncomfortable. T-birds are invited to thrive in their new environment.

Courtesy of Cronkite School of Journalism

On April 11 Dean Christopher Callahan, from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, met with students in a round table setting at the Thunderbird campus along with Thunderbird staff members, Chelsea Olson and Jay Thorne. In this round table, Dean Callahan expressed his excitement regarding Thunderbird joining the Downtown community. Prior to joining the ASU family, Dean Callahan was an administrator for an established high school that moved to the downtown area. He understands the anxiety that comes with moving in such a significant manner, but he expressed the benefits of doing so. Dean Callahan suggested that moving to Downtown held many positive aspects and was ultimately grateful to have done so.

A Word on Opportunities from Dean Callahan

As a self-proclaimed fan of Downtown Phoenix, Dean Callahan described various attributes for students to be excited about, including the variety of restaurants, sporting events, and the culture of Downtown as a whole. Furthermore, Dean Callahan also conveyed the various downtown ASU events that are hosted in the area. Some of these events include:

  • Brown Bag Lunches with Inspirational Individuals
  • Speaker Series
  • Opportunity for Thunderbird Speakers
Courtesy of the Fall 2017 Intake Facebook Group

Thunderbirds will have more educational opportunities as well. Currently, student enrollment is limited, and enrollment for each program is around 60 students. Due to this fact, there are only so many more classes that can be offered based on class size. On the other hand, Dean Callahan offers students the opportunity to extend their class options. Specifically, I asked him if ASU hosted a variety of classes on International Conflict and Project Management that Thunderbirds enroll in, and he enthusiastically replied that he believes ASU hosts about three classes on International Conflict. Moreover, he offered that if students had an interest, they could attend a variety of classes on communication: Public Relations, Social Media, Skype and Online Communications.

To add to that, Dean Callahan stated that if at least six students were interested in a class topic, it could be created. Some of the ideas that were pitched included: Podcast Development, Professionalism over Telecommunications, Presentation and Communication Literacy, and so much more. The trick here is to ensure that the desired class is justified to a Thunderbird student’s career path.

Expanding the Thunderbird Network

Because Thunderbird will now be downtown and will have more influences, the opportunity to network will increase. Students will have the chance to meet and network with C-Suite individuals in the area as well as those who come to the accessible Downtown area. In an email, Dean Callahan further described:

“I would just add that the entire Downtown Phoenix Campus community is very excited to welcome Thunderbird to your new home. This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us. We envision not only Thunderbird students taking advantage of the nightly events hosted by the Cronkite School, O’Connor College, College of Public Service and all of the downtown colleges, but also creating new joint extracurricular programs. And of course we hope Thunderbird students will look at the many electives available to them at the neighboring schools and colleges downtown, and even think about new courses we can create specifically for Thunderbird students. The possibilities are truly limitless! And all of these academic and professional opportunities will be in the heart of the nation’s fifth-largest city, walking distance to our region’s most important cultural venues, sports opportunities such as MLB, NBA and WNBA games, award-winning restaurants, shops and clubs.”

Overall, the current flock of Thunderbirds will see challenges, but they will also see plenty of opportunities. Dean Callahan encourages students to contact him with their concerns, questions, or suggestions he can assist with. He stresses that if a student runs into any issues regarding classes to let him know. Dean Callahan can be reached at 602.496.5012 or ccallahan@asu.edu.

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