The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Communications, selected Dr. Jeff Brand as their Outstanding Alumnus, 2012. Brand graduated in 1986 with his BA in Journalism with a Broadcasting emphasis. He later received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He now lives in Australia, and is recognized as an international expert. He traveled back to Grand Valley to accept his award, and spoke about his time here as an undergrad:
“It’s surreal [to return]. The heart of the campus is still here, but it’s changed a lot. I can see the old buildings like Lake Superior and Lake Michigan Hall, and I see old parts of the campus, but they’re now… not buried, but they fit inside a much bigger shell. It seems strange. The best thing though, is that I went into three communications classes and talked to students, and it was so special. It was like the circle had closed for me. It was a way of coming back and engaging with Lakers again, sharing my experiences and listening to them. Honestly, the heart of Grand Valley is still here, which is the most important thing to me. It’s still a very personal learning community, and that’s beautiful.
He also offered advice to students who are about the graduate with a communications degree:
“There will be jobs. There will be a lot of jobs. They may not come in the first week after graduation. They may not come in the first three weeks, or even three months. But they will come. The most important thing for students is to keep doing whatever it is they learned. If you learned to write articles, keep writing articles, even if you don’t get paid. Give them away. Eventually, you’ll get traction. You’ll find work in the newest form of the news media, or public relations or advertising, or broadcasting. It may be narrow-casting, but it will still be a big audience, because that’s now possible with digital media. Don’t give up. Stay the course. You will succeed.”
Brand is now an associate professor and an associate dean at Bond University. He has published over 40 research articles on interactive games, playable books, digital publishing, mobile learning, multimedia, global media. A sample of his work can be found on YouTube.