TKluck Defensive End 2006

From football to faculty: Union welcomes new journalism professor

If anyone had asked Ted Kluck, assistant professor of communication arts, where he imagined himself 15 years ago, he would have lit up with excitement while describing a career playing or coaching in the NFL. However, reality emerged from the bench and put on the jersey for a game that Kluck had never dreamed of playing.

Kluck recuperated in a hospital bed halfway after an operation prompted by a college football injury, when an influential professor stopped by for a visit. The professor pitched an idea to him which elicited a reaction of laughter and skepticism: a writing career.

Ted Kluck with Family Postgame

“At that point, the answer was no,” Kluck said. “In my hometown, people didn’t read, and people didn’t write. It wasn’t even on my radar.”

Kluck rapidly fell into love with writing, and as of today he has written over 20 books.

“At some point my life become about putting myself in uncomfortable situations so that I could create a work of art,” Kluck said. “I could never just be a guy punching a clock. I like to feel scared… Often when you’re scared, you write the best.”

Kluck also never planned on teaching, but a community college adjuncting opportunity provided the chance to pick up another paycheck. It did not take long for him to become infatuated with the profession.

As soon as a ‘rough around the edges’ student softened witj a paper describing a childhood memory of learning to ride a bicycle, Kluck was hooked. Kluck says the teaching has been even greater than writing because he has never really had a bad day while teaching.

Aside from writing and teaching, Kluck’s adventurous life holds much more: marrying his college sweetheart, coaching in Europe, living in Lithuania as a missionary, adopting two sons from Ukraine, opening a publishing company and participating in wrestling.

“To do a dull thing with style— now that’s what I call art.” –Charles Bukowski

“I’m always kind of cooking up some crazy thing to do next,” Kluck said. “I’m actually playing arena football in the spring.”

If someone were to ask what Ted Kluck will be doing 15 years from this moment, many who know him would agree that the possibilities are endless: coaching football, writing the next great American novel, re-entering the mission field or maybe even on his own sports talk show.

Regardless of what Kluck does in his life, these things are certain: he share generosity from his pen with every blank page he meets, and he will always strive to inspire others through his work.

Ted KluckTed Kluck teaches writing courses and advises the Cardinal & Cream, Union’s news source. Kluck is the author of many books, on topics ranging from Mike Tyson to the Emergent Church. Both Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Kevin DeYoung) won Christianity Today Book of the Year awards, and Paper Tiger won a Michigan Notable Book award in 2008. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today.

Faculty of the Year

Blair named Faculty of the Year

Union University presented more than 70 awards to students, faculty and staff at the annual Awards Day chapel service. The Carla D. Sanderson Faculty of the Year Award went to Ashley Fitch Blair, assistant professor of communication arts.

Blair coordinates the Public Relations major and serves as the faculty advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, faculty director of Bulldog Communication Group, and chair of the university’s Faculty Development Committee.

In her 15 years at Union Blair has spearheaded the chartering of Union’s Public Relation Student Society of America chapter (2005), helped guide the public relations major to CEPR certification through PRSA (2012), co-founded Bulldog Communication Group, a student lead public relations agency (2011), and co-hosted a PRSSA regional conference (2008).

This year, Blair took on the role of Adviser to the Cardinal & Cream, leading them through the transition to a completely online news source and the inaugural issues of the C&C Magazine, which was ranked the #1 college magazine in the Best of the South competition at the 2015 Southeast Journalism Conference in March.

Scott Heit, Union’s assistant vice president for university communications, was awarded with the Gary L. Carter Staff of the Year Award. In addition to his work with University Communications, Heit has also served as an adjunct instructor in Communication Arts, teaching the Publication Design course.

The Awards Day chapel, held May 1 in George M. Savage Memorial Chapel, commemorated seniors, students and professors that have shown academic excellence in their studies and teaching.

An academic excellence medal is given to one student from each academic discipline. In order for a student to be eligible for the academic excellence award, the student must have at least a 3.5 GPA in their major courses and must have earned a minimum of 15 hours in their major here at Union, Hopper said.

Communication Arts Academic Excellence Awards:




JOURNALISM: Katherine Sue Burgess



THEATRE: Daniel Poore

The Kina S. Mallard Communication Arts Student of the Year Award was presented to Jenaye White, senior pubic relations major and managing editor of the Cardinal & Cream.

Into the Woods

Theatre, Music open “Into the Woods”

The Union University theater program and music department are joining forces to put on one of the most well-known musicals of this year.

“Into the Woods” will be performed April 23-28 in the W.D. Powell Theater at Union University. Many of the actors, actresses, directors, musicians, costume designers and others involved in this production have worked for months to put together the performance.

The theater program and music department are still working to make the show perfect for opening night on Thursday.

“Rehearsals are going really well and I think things are shaping up for it to be a fantastic show,” said Christian Al-Hagal, freshman theater major here. “Our set designs and our costumes are absolutely gorgeous.”

Al-Hagal is starring in the role of Jack in “Into the Woods” and loves the musical because there is “something magical” about it.

“What I love about ‘Into the Woods’ is that it takes some of history’s greatest fairytales and mixes them all into one big story,” Al-Hagal said. “So it’s taking all of these classic fairytales and making them into something brand new.”

There had been some uncontrollable setbacks in the beginning of this semester with illnesses and the snow days, but that only made the cast work extra hard to put on the best show, cast members said.

“The show is very entertaining,” said David Burke, professor and director of theater and the director for the musical. “There is a lot of laughter and singing and the audience will receive that.”

One of the biggest joys for Burke from putting together the musical is seeing theater students and music students spending time together outside of rehearsal. It is very comforting to see the two departments coming together and building strong bonds with each other through one common cause, he said.

“The joy, for me, is getting to work with new people,” Burke said.

Tickets for the shows are still available for purchase at Union Station from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Tickets for the general public are $12.00 the day of the show. Tickets for Union students are $10.00 the day of the show.

IPDA National Champions

Debate Team wins IPDA National Title

On the weekend of March 27, the Union University debate team brought home the national title from the International Public Debate Association national championship at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The team won first place in the novice and professional divisions, the team sweepstakes and the overall season long Founders Award, the season-long championship.

“It was a really great feeling at the tournament,” said Allison Pulliam, junior double major in broadcast journalism and political science. “It was a really good feeling to be able to walk up on stage and everyone on our team win an award.”

Pulliam won first in the nation for the professional division in season long awards.

“It was extremely enjoyable,” said Thomas Gray, sophomore broadcast journalism major. “We did something that was unprecedented and unheard of.”

The schools that the team went to compete with ranged from small schools to large universities.

“It was also really interesting to have nationals in Boise because a lot of our tournaments were regional tournaments and we were competing against people from the south,” Pulliam said.


Gray also said competing nationally was different than competing regionally because there are schools from all over the country, so competitors have different backgrounds and styles of speaking, and that provided the team with a different dynamic.

“I appreciated seeing all the different styles at nationals because when you compete regionally, it can isolate you and your team just a little bit, from the rest of the country,” Gray said. “Nationals was a really great opportunity to break out from your region and see what people from other parts of the country value in the way they debate.”

Pulliam said that the team was competitive and driven to succeed, and this helped them be victorious at nationals.

Web Drake, chairman of the communication arts department and the debate director, went along with the team on this journey and watched them succeed.

“This year’s team was a privilege to coach,” Drake said. “They understood what was necessary and set out to accomplish their objectives with determination and focus.”

C&C Magazine

C&C Magazine named Best in the South

C&C, a magazine publication of Cardinal and Cream, was named Best College Magazine of the South at the Southeast Journalism Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, the weekend of Feb. 26-Feb. 28.

Katherine Burgess, senior journalism major and editor-in-chief of Cardinal and Cream, said she was surprised and excited by the award.

“My heart jumped and I nearly teared up when I found out the magazine was the ‘Best of the South’,” Burgess said.

Jenaye White, senior public relations major and managing editor of print for Cardinal and Cream, said she had a similar reaction.

“I was blown away and so excited,” she said. “It’s a huge deal to win such a prestigious award.”

Last semester was the first semester Cardinal and Cream published a magazine. It was a collaborative effort by the entire staff, and Burgess said she was pleased to see their work recognized.

“From the photos to the text to the layout, the pieces came together beautifully for our first magazine. I’m so pleased with the work the Cardinal and Cream staff accomplished. It’s wonderful to see that work acknowledged by SEJC,” she said.

Courtney Brown, senior art major and design editor for Cardinal and Cream, said she thought collaboration was key to the magazine’s success.

“It was a real group effort across the board. There was a real commitment to excellence, so everyone poured in a lot of time and effort to make it timely and timeless,” said Brown.

White agreed, and said careful planning was also integral to the magazine’s success.

“We thought long and hard about each article, and I think our careful planning really showed in our final project,” she said.

Ashley Fitch Blair, faculty adviser to Cardinal and Cream, said that not only was each article carefully planned, but every visual detail was as well.

“I believe attention to detail really gave us an edge. The staff did an exceptional job of combining strong writing, design and visuals. Nothing was left to chance. Every story, photo, graphic, color and font was intentionally chosen and refined to create a cohesive piece,” said Blair.

The conference is composed of more than 45 colleges and universities in seven states across the southeast. Each year, the top ten individuals and schools are awarded for their work in a variety of categories ranging from multimedia journalism to print layout. Cardinal and Cream staff won a total of twelve awards.

Cardinal and Cream’s print newspaper was ranked third and the website was ranked sixth. Individual awards include alumnae Kate Benedetti, fifth in magazine writing;  Brown, second in magazine layout; Burgess, second in the College Journalist of the Year category and sixth in news writing;  senior Christian ministry and missions major Mikalla Cotton, second in multimedia journalism; senior advertising major Evan Estes, ninth in arts and entertainment writing; alumnus Nathan Handley, second in special events coverage and sixth in newspaper page layout and White, eighth in feature writing.

Estes said he was both surprised and pleased at his individual award, and advised aspiring journalists to “treat every article as if you were submitting it to win an award.”

Cotton said she was “pleasantly surprised” with her award. “I knew I could have made my multimedia submission better, but I’m still humbled to receive such a high reward,” she said.

Blair said her hopes for future C&C magazines are high.

“The inaugural C&C staff has created a tremendous foundation for the future and set a high bar for excellence. I hope the C&C will build on this foundation, showcasing the unique strengths of each year’s editors, writers, photographers and designers as they cover compelling stories for the Union community,” she said.

Cardinal and Cream’s next magazine will be available May 1.


Life after graduation – Flippin lands job with Make-A-Wish

Between the uncertainty of life after graduation and the 7.3 percent unemployment rate in America, many college students face the challenge of obtaining a job. Despite the discouraging statistics, many recent communication arts graduates have been hired and are on the road to success.

Kathryn Flippin, a 2013 Union public relations graduate, is now a wish coordinator under the Program Services Department for Make-A-Wish Mid-South, one of the 62 independently chartered non-profit chapters that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.

“I first learned about Make-A-Wish America from my sorority, Chi Omega,” Flippin said. “We raised money each year to grant a wish for a child with life-threatening illness. I still remember the first wish granting I was able to participate in, and we were able to grant Dillon’s wish of going to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

“It was through that encounter with Make-A-Wish America that I realized how special the organization was,” she continued.

After her junior year of college, Flippin planned to study oversees, but the plan fell through. Flippin looked at various internship options and was approached by another Union student who had interned at Make-A-Wish Mid-South the previous summer and who encouraged her to apply.

Flippin was accepted for the internship and helped coordinate the wish granting events in Memphis, Tenn. and surrounding areas.

“My biggest take-away from interning at Make-A-Wish Mid-South is that no detail is too small,” Flippin said. “”So many times we get so caught up in making a big impression that we forget about the little things. The little things matter, and I take pride in my attention to detail and my effort to take initiative in the small things.”

After the fall semester of her senior year, Flippin was contacted by her previous manager who informed her that a wish coordinator position had become available. Because of her internship, Flippin’s previous manager knew she had the set of skills and experience necessary to do the job. Flippin sent in her résumé and got the job.

Flippin encourages students to intern with the hopes of gaining experience for life after graduation.

“If you are at all thinking about interning while in college – go for it because internships lead to jobs,” Flippin said. “They also give you a good feel for a work environment. The best part, though, is the relationship you can build with your supervisor.

“When the time comes for you to get a job after college, the recommendation from your boss can really set you apart from other people,” she continued. “It is hard for employers to hire people without experience, so even if you are looking at an unpaid position for a summer, the impact that job can have is worth all the time you spend in it.”


Communication professors attend California film conference

Union University communication arts professors Chris Blair and David Burke recently attended the Cinema Studies Conference hosted by the Los Angeles Film Studies Center in Los Angeles.

The conference theme was “The Business of The Business,” and it featured executives from Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Wind Dancer Films, as well as Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise.

“David and I went to see the current state of the entertainment industry, so we could bring these ideas and trends back to our film studies courses at Union,” Blair said. “We also had a chance to eat lunch at Warner Bros. with a communication arts alum, John Crook, who works in their Worldwide Theatrical Distribution division.”

The conference offered a behind-the-scenes look at the RED Studios in Hollywood where “I Love Lucy” was filmed in the 1950s and “Seinfeld” was filmed in the 1990s.

Blair also made a presentation to the faculty attending the conference, entitled, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as a Teaching Tool in Cinema Studies.”

According to the LAFSC website, the conference was aimed at the “overlooked essentials” of show business:  marketing, finance and distribution.

The Los Angeles Film Studies Center offers a semester-long, immersive filmmaking program, where students learn the art and craft of filmmaking in a Christian environment. Numerous Union students attend LAFSC as part of the Film Studies minor.


UNews to Expand this Fall

JACKSON, Tenn.—UNews, Union’s student-based news program, has launched for its fall season again this year. Since its beginnings fall of 2012, UNews has developed to provide campus wide news in a variety of ways.

In the past, UNews has provided students with a recap of the prior week’s news accompanied with a brief update of news for the future week. News has included campus and sports events accompanied with game results.

Cam Tracy, Union’s web development agent, oversees UNews production. He submits the final work, which is displayed on campus monitors and released online on Union’s portal. The student crew includes Gabe Farmer, junior digital media studies major and news editor; Kacee Enzor, junior media communications major and sports producer; Kathryn Feathers, junior media communications major and news producer; and Kelsey Graeter, junior broadcasting journalism major and director for social media.

Farmer edits and uploads content online. Feathers budgets events and assigns projects to UNews members. In addition, various students serve as anchors, not limited to communication arts majors.

“We do on-campus news,” Feathers said. “We target the students of Union, but occasionally we do have people from Jackson that will come to us. We had rappers last year, and we had to do promotion for them.”

This year, the crew plans to provide more entertainment by using a relatable personality with humor integrated between news segments, adding new background locations around campus and providing more student interviews. UNews also plans to provide Student Government Association’s officer speeches during their election period in April.

For sports news segments, the crew recaps previous games and reports on athletes’ awards and upcoming games.

Enzor writes the budget, listing what events need to be covered. Designated crew members then report on the events and write the scripts.

“We want our anchors to develop their personalities more,” Enzor said.

UNews, however, consists of more than what viewers see in finished segments.

“There are a lot of parts to the puzzle that people don’t see to get in on the air every week,” Enzor said. “We find the events, we attend them, we film them, we write about them, we record them, we edit them, we upload them and then we share them all over the place.”

Overall, each week the UNews crew meets every Friday for the final editing process for the weekly submission of news.  This process includes recording information and/or live events, editing the news content and uploading that content.  In all, this process involves six to seven crew members who meet at 3 p.m. and submit final products later that evening.

“We work really hard at it, but we love it,” Enzor said.

To contact UNews for any story proposals, email

Debate 20

Debate team completes first tournament with success

Monticello, Ark. — The Union University Debate Team completed its first tournament of the season Oct. 4-6 at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

The team placed first in the International Public Debate Association sweepstakes and second in the overall sweepstakes out of 10 teams at the tournament.

“The team got off to an excellent start,” said Web Drake, debate team coach and chair of the communication arts department. “The new debaters blended into the team naturally and easily. The returnees continued to build on their previous experience.”

Lacie Fink, sophomore accounting major, won the novice division. Abby Williams, senior English and music major, placed second in the varsity division while Hunter Cochran, junior mathematics and physics major, placed second in the professional division.

“[Fink, Cochran and Williams] were wonderful representatives of our team,” said Ali Holcomb, debate team captain and senior social work major. “It was great to see how the whole team was able to come together and support them.”

The tournament was the first opportunity for the team’s seven freshmen to compete.

“I think we will have a really excellent season,” Holcomb said. “[The freshmen] worked really hard, and I have a lot of confidence in them.”

Full results from the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s “Weevil Wars Tournament”:

Team: IPDA sweepstakes first place and overall sweepstakes second place.

Cochran, professional debate finalist and professional debate speaker fifth place.

Williams, varsity debate finalist and varsity debate speaker second place.

Luke Brake, varsity debate quarterfinalist.

Holcomb, varsity debate quarterfinalist and varsity debate speaker third place.

Anna Goodman, varsity debate octo-finalist and varsity debate speaker fourth place.

Janie Owen, varsity debate octo-finalist.

Sam Strickland, varsity debate octo-finalist.

Fink, novice debate champion and novice debate speaker second place.

Daniel Keylon, novice debate quarterfinalist.

Cassandra Solis, novice debate octo-finalist.

For more information about Union’s debate team, contact Drake at (731) 661-5961 or


Union Broadcast Systems to merge with National Broadcast Society chapter

JACKSON, Tenn. — Union Broadcast Systems and Union’s National Broadcasting Society chapter are merging to provide new national opportunities for broadcasting students and remove confusion between the two organizations.

Currently, UBS and NBS are different organizations with similar functions made up predominantly of broadcast journalism and media communications majors. UBS is responsible for producing Union basketball and soccer telecasts for TV channel 6 and the student-led UNews broadcast on campus.

UBS senator Caleb Shore said the main difference between the two is level of commitment and intent.

“Anyone who sees themselves having a future in the industry of media communication should be a part of NBS,” Shore said. “UBS is good to be a part of if you’re not sure exactly what you are going to do or if you just want to get your feet wet, but once you become serious about the business then NBS is the platform which you need to build yourself on.”

With the merger, Shore said NBS will be the umbrella under which UBS operates.

“The society is the people, and the system is the operation,” he said.

Combining UBS and NBS will help the students by joining the day-to-day student production side of the present with making contacts and getting their name out for their professional future, Shore added.

Ray Eaton, executive director of media production and adviser of the NBS chapter, said he thinks the merger can be successful and beneficial.

“The functions of UBS will not totally go away,” Eaton said. “UBS will still be there and do what it does.”

Eaton said the merger would remove inter-societal complications and confusion among members of both groups, making everything “neater, smoother and more streamlined.”

Kathryn Feathers, vice president of UBS, said the merger will create a more unified broadcasting program, with UBS officers becoming NBS officers once the merger is final

NBS chapter membership requires yearly dues, but the officers say they intend to rework the constitution to allow students who do not want to be full members to work on Union broadcasts.

Members of NBS will have added resume opportunities — such as AERho, the broadcast honor society, and access to a variety of competitions. Additionally, they can attend the annual NBS conference and make contacts with key professionals in their areas of interest.

Feathers said several members of the society plan to attend the annual conference in the spring, which will be held in Los Angeles.

“The society is growing and we are serious about our careers,” she said. “We are excited to attend the conference this year and utilize everything that NBS has to offer.”

The officers plan to raise funds for the trip.

UBS senator Dominique Willingham said he is excited to be a part of what the future holds for the broadcasting program after the merger.

“We are going to be more involved with campus life and get the name out there more,” Willingham said. “It’s going to be great this year because we have a great team leading us, and we want to really grow.”