Student Media Names Top Student Award for Charter Board Member

Dean Phillips

By Patrick Neal

The NC State Student Media Board of Directors has named its top student award in honor of its longest-serving faculty member.

The board established the Dean Phillips Award for General Excellence at its October meeting. The award is open to any Student Media student, excluding those serving on the board, with board members considering all nominations and deciding the honoree each April. The honorees’ names will be added to a perpetual plaque on display outside Student Media’s offices, and honorees will receive a $250 cash award from the Student Media Enhancement Fund.

In the resolution establishing the award, the board recognized Phillips’ achievements in both the media industry and as a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication. Prior to joining the communication faculty, Phillips was an award-winning broadcaster for WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WNCN-TV in Raleigh, and also served as vice president of program development for Carolina Broadcasting.

After establishing his own media and public relations consultancy, Phillips joined the communication faculty in 2001, where he taught a host of courses and created two new ones. From 2010 until his semi-retirement in 2020, Phillips also served as the department’s undergraduate internship director, helping students gain experience through work for media outlets, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and other private-sector firms. He is currently a senior lecturer emeritus. 

Phillips said that in his nearly 15 years on the board, he’d seen a bit of everything. ”I’ve seen years that were seemingly carefree, years that were troubled by budget problems, a year that could have been lost because of a virus,” he said. “What is more, times have changed over the last 15 years. What was accepted in our dealings with each other is not necessarily accepted now. In this area, it has been the younger people educating older people like me. As long as it is good natured, I think we can always learn from each other. As young journalists learning that there is immense power in words, our students are reshaping culture.”

Phillips said his service on the Student Media board made him appreciate the real-world experience it gave students. “I love listening to the youthful enthusiasm of these young journalists and watching it mature as they confront and handle real world issues facing professional journalists every day they practice their craft,” he said. “It is nice that I can drop in a little wit and wisdom now and then to help guide them along the path.

As for the award, Phillips — who did not know anything about it until the reading of the resolution in his honor — said he thought it was a prank at first. “I won many awards in my prior careers, but this totally unexpected honor is truly humbling and special,” he said. “I’m blown away by it.”

This post was originally published in DASA.

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