Paramount partners with communication department



Alabama State University Department of Communications chairman, William Russell Robinson, says that the grant received from Paramount Studios will be used for the practicum/internship program and for oratorical programming.

Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

This semester at Alabama State University, the communication department has partnered with Paramount Studios, which included the department receiving a $20,000 grant from the company.
The program also strives to prepare students for entree into C-level Suites positions of media according to William R. Robinson, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the department.
Robinson, explained how the partnership came to fruition.
“I have to give a big thanks to Dr. Carlos Morrison (professor of communications) because he was the one that tipped me to it,” Robinson said. “So when I was first told about the opportunity, I was a little ambivalent cause it was like, ‘brand new, don’t know what’s gonna happen, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And so when we started talking to people and understanding that this is actually real money, the idea was ‘so how do we make this a very good opportunity for our students?’”
Robinson spoke with Ti-Shea Meadows, a representative of Paramount, and Phoenix Higgins, a representative of Black-owned music company State Seal, about what exactly the collaboration would look like.
“One of the things that we want to do is make sure that we are creating the pipeline,” he said. “We want to use the money that we have, which is 20 grand. Part of that is going to be used to prepare our students for oratory competitions. The other part is going be used to augment our internship/practicum program. There is a glaring need that we have as far as getting our students ‘market ready’ from day one.”
He also mentioned having professional headshots and teaching resume and cover letter writing initiatives for students in partnership with the Office of Career Services. He wants to implement assignments built around the career center, conversations about professional dress and student brand management. The goal is to give students the skills to ensure their success from the classroom, to the presentation room and eventually a boardroom.
Another initiative Robinson wants to implement is having interns that can stay with the program long-term, although he calls this initiative a “long shot.”
“We actually want them to actually go off to Paramount for a week in New York to see how this game is played at the national/global level,” he said. “So we’re trying to see how we can make that happen on behalf of the Department of the University in Paramount.”
As far as the future of the partnership, Robinson is optimistic about how far things can go.
“What I want this relationship with Paramount to do is mushroom,” he said. “I think this is a good incubator. It’s seed money, if you will. If we are able to demonstrate that we are doing proper with this money. If we’re able to show that we’ve taken a student who is really like on the cusp of being ready, but then take them past the cusp and actually demonstrate solid deliverables, we demonstrate a student who not only is proficient academically, but a student who’s proficient technically, and a student who’s professional, uh, proficient as long as I would say conversationally.”
Overall, Robinson is dedicated to mining the “rich talent” within the department and believes putting those students on display will make a difference. In order to do that, the department will have to continue to elevate and partner with global partners as well.
“When we start putting products like that out there, that makes us look good to them and they’re like, ‘okay, let’s give them, as opposed to 20,000, 200,000’ or to another company like that,” he said. “If we’re able to start producing more graduates who are able to be a part of the Paramount ecosystem, what does that do for our brand as a department, as a university?”