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California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Checking in With Communication Chairman: Dr. Cardaras

Who is Mary Cardaras?  She is a leader, journalist, and professor in the arts of Communication. Her advocacy for change has made her the illustrious Chairman of Cal State East Bay’s Communication department. Before she expanded the horizons of her department, she was Communication Chairman at New England Institute of Art and Northeastern University which both are based in Boston. She passionately taught journalism and media there and decided to pass on her knowledge to the Bay Area where she is now serving her second term as Chairman. Dr. Cardaras is a visionary who always strives for change.

Dr. Cardaras’ core value in the field is the importance of journalism and the necessity of young people in the political process. She encourages to keep aware by understanding issues and working to solve them together. She shares insight with students that even though making money is important, she doesn’t want students to become cynical in their pursuit of education. Ultimately, her main goal is to have her students graduate realizing how much power they truly have. When the youth exercise their power, comes progressive change.

Cal State East Bay’s Communications department is amidst the Cardaras Era. When she ran for office in 2015 to serve her first term, she stated, “If no one is up for change, don’t vote for me.” Dr. Cardaras strives for change unapologetically and relentlessly pushes for increased student enrollment, more faculty, new degree options, and media freedom to express oneself in this digital revolution.

Plans for Dr. Cardaras’ roadmap include building a media freedom center, routinely run study abroad programs, launch students to Grad school, launch new careers in the Comm field, and most importantly empower faculty because it’s about sharing the voice with others and not just the Chairman. By sharing the voice of leadership with other faculty brings inspiration to spark change.

Dr. Cardaras’ inspiration for the communications department came from her experiences many years ago when she worked in news management for CNN as an executive producer. As you can imagine, working for a big news company came with its challenges as it was in a constant cycle of change. Though a bit hectic, the changes in themes on the job is what inspired her to continue to produce a change for the future in her departments. While she was the chairman at both NEIOA and Northeastern University, 100% of her communication students got positions in their careers.

Communication essentially interacts with every aspect of our lives, whether it is done consciously or unconsciously. “Communication focuses on every single thing”.  Communication is a very important skill because it allows you to be able to communicate in both a personal and professional environment. This degree is one of the most useful degrees because it helps you with: personal relationships, professional team building, negotiating, business, conflict management, and etc. Communication helps spread knowledge and information to people around the world, it ultimately plays the most vital role in human life. Between face to face interaction, creating relationships and spreading and gaining knowledge through text, it is something that every living thing on this earth does.

When students obtain positions in their careers, Dr. Cardaras emphasizes to meet and connect with others, especially the person you’ll be working for. The reason for this is because positive, productive change will be harder to achieve if there’s a disconnect between you and the people you work with. As we live in a digital world, online communication is the primary route to take to make contact with someone. However, what it lacks is its effectiveness to build rapport. Nothing can replace the human connection. Social media and other digital outlets are useful tools of the future, but we need human chemistry to unify the digital era. Having a human connection with those you work with will significantly improve progress and inspire change. As a core of our existence, human chemistry from face-to-face interaction is what seals the deal between us and our advanced media technologies.

What Cardaras hopes for the upcoming future communication students is for them to begin to understand the importance of grad school and programs. With the uprising of social media playing a very heavy influence in our lives, she hopes more students become excited and engaged within their fields of study. She hopes the current generation of communication students “send the elevator down”, which means hoping for encouragement from students to others looking to decide for a major. Within her two years as the chairman of the department, she feels her terms have led up to the best experience and relationship between faculty and students. She often leaves her students with a few words of encouragement such as “only keep the company of those who uplift you” and “negativity is a killer”.

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