Introducing Michael Kim, Our New Communication Studies Professor!

Join us in welcoming our new professor in Communication Studies Dr. Michael Kim! Professor Kim is teaching two classes this semester: CMM375 Social Change and Advocacy Communication and CMM353 Persuasion and Social Influence. Professor Kim’s research and teaching are focused on social change communication, specifically, the important roles of communication and media in the process of social change. For example, he investigates how the actors of social change (NGOs, journalists, etc.) communicate about social issues. His courses teach students the strategic and critical thinking that can lead to changing the mechanisms within the social structure and culture. Michael Kim headshot

Professor Kim was born in Bloomington, IN, and grew up in South Korea, where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Hanyang University. He then earned his master’s from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK. In America, he spent a year at The University of Texas at Austin, followed by another 4 years at the University of Miami working toward and then earning his PhD. Before coming to New Paltz, Professor Kim was not familiar with the area, but he always envisioned himself living in the New York area. He loves the location of New Paltz and enjoys the welcoming community. Although it is a completely different climate, both socially and environmentally, compared to Miami and South Korea, Professor Kim is adjusting well and appreciates the engagement from both faculty and students on campus. Professor Kim is ecstatic to be teaching here and broadening his horizons, as this is early in his career in academia.  

Professor Kim’s personal interests changed a lot with transition as he moves from place to place; however, he has always enjoyed playing soccer or futsal. In New Paltz he has been exploring the area, hiking and taking walks, and finding his place in the community. 

In class, Professor Kim would like to emphasize issues of social change and international development and encourage students with critical thinking. In general, he wants students to be able to think critically and apply what they learn to their area of interest. As this is his first teaching position, Professor Kim is still figuring out his unique teaching style. However, he sees himself more as a mutual facilitator of learning than simply an instructor. He values student engagement and encourages them to be able to relate to the topics and content to their own experiences. His classes will consist of lectures and discussions.  Professor Kim wants his students to be approachable and open-minded to lead to an enjoyable classroom experience. He is still experimenting in terms of course design and looks forward to his students to reach out freely with feedback and suggestions about the course, topics, and format. 

Org Comm and Interpersonal Comm Majors Should Take Research Methods Courses to Prepare for Senior Seminars

The Department of Communication offers two research methods courses (see below) that play a crucial role in preparing students for the subsequent 400-level seminar courses, CMM454 Organizational Communication Seminar or CMM455 Interpersonal Communication Seminar. For this reason, the Department strongly recommends you take one of them instead of CMM353 Persuasion & Social Influence prior to the semester when you take your senior seminar. 

Both methods courses, CMM352 Qualitative Communication Research Methods and CMM354 Quantitative Research Methods, help students become critical consumers of data and scholarly research as well as become familiar with techniques for how to design original research. Broadly speaking, CMM354 focuses on types of research and techniques that result in numbers-oriented data (e.g., surveys, experiments), while CMM352 focuses on types of research and techniques that lead to more context-centered data (e.g., observation, focus groups). Please don’t let the words “research methods” scare you! In the information age, being able to manage and analyze data are skills increasingly sought by employers from a wide range of communication-related industries and professions. 

In sum, these two research methods courses play a crucial role in preparing Interpersonal/Intercultural and Organizational Comm. students for their later 400-level senior seminar. Again, we strongly suggest taking one of the methods classes in place of CMM 353 Persuasion & Social Influence to make sure you are best prepared for success in the senior seminars.