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Ideas for Our Future: Thoughts from David Bohan

David BohanThe sound of waves crashing in the background punctuates the thought-provoking answers coming from David Bohan (B.S./Bus.Ad. ’70), chairman of BOHAN, a full-service advertising and marketing firm in Nashville, while on a working vacation. Bohan serves on the CCI Board of Visitors and the UT Development Council. His company (www.bohanideas.com) has served a national list of clients including healthcare companies, vacation destinations, makers of consumer goods and non-profits.

Thoughts on the future of UT and CCI

“It is vitally important that alumni and all Tennesseans support the university. In the past, being a donor might have been enough. However, state funding will continue to diminish. In the future, supporters will need to provide substantial amounts of their personal talents and time, plus money. CCI alumni need to think about providing support from their businesses – such as through creating internships and hiring graduates.”

“Former Gov. Bredesen made trustee and development council positions working roles rather than figurehead positions. By doing so, the professionalism and standards were increased to strive for excellence. Setting goals to become a Top 25 research university is a move in the right direction, but it will require sacrifices. Some programs mayhave their funding reduced or eliminated in this new environment, and that will mean alumni donor commitments will be needed to continue certain programs.”

Advice for students and recent alumni

“I encourage students and recent graduates to build and maintain relationships with faculty and advisors. If our firm needed to find a dynamic, young advertising person, UT faculty recommendations would be one of my starting points. Staying connected and seeking UT grads for employment is a way many of our alumni can help – everyone has to stay in touch.”

“If you’re still in school, get practical experience. View internships as opportunities, not just as jobs. See beyond the horizon, and don’t set your sights too low. You may find an opportunity in Spain or New York, not just in your hometown or in Nashville or Knoxville.“

Ideas for CCI alumni

“Get involved with the university beyond athletics. Understand what the school is doing today versus when you were there. Understand what is being taught today. Offer your help as a mentor, or provide internships. Find out faculty members’ specific needs. Perhaps your company offers some training programs that could be offered to CCI students. Step up your support!”

“Think about the opportunities UT provided you and how it shaped your life. Give back to the college in proportions equal to the value of the education you received.”

The best things about CCI

“The collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory is among the ways CCI moves communication and information sciences into the realm of engineering and science. Innovative programs and a commitment to increase its academic standards are points of pride for CCI.”

“Ron Taylor, Professor and former Director of ADV/PR raised academic quality and faculty production to levels of excellence. With a limited budget, Taylor’s leadership helped the school become a highly rated undergraduate and graduate program. He has shown the value of student competitions and of faculty involvement in national and international forums. We must have more financial support to enable these activities because they ultimately result in higher college rankings.”

Where do we go from here?

“CCI will need to step up the level of outreach. Just as universities compete on the athletic field, they also compete in the classroom and in the job market. CCI alumni can assist in this area. Providing the college with access to contacts that might result in national press coverage by major media will highlight the academic innovation and vitality of CCI.” 

“Administrators and faculty will need to think of themselves as early adaptors. The academic focus is not on what is current. The focus is preparing for what’s next.”