Bluffton University - Woodring communicates academic excellence

Alex Woodring, Sherwood, Ohio


Alex Woodring was like many first-year students when he came to Bluffton three years ago.

I had no idea what I wanted to do, admits the Sherwood, Ohio, native, who sampled classes in several possible majors. But during spring semester of that year, he started volunteering at campus radio station WBWH, where he met communication majors who told him about the department.

The following fall, Woodring took his first communication courses, in radio production and rhetoric, and found just the right combination of the practical and the intellectual, he says.
Now a senior, he is merging the two in a radio program, Academic Excellence with Alex Woodring, that debuted in October on WBWH. The station, at 99.3 on the FM dial, is also streamed online at
His interest in the intellectual aspects of communication was fueled, he says, by his rhetoric professor, Dr. Gerald Mast. And on the media side of his major, he likes production, which he has learned from Dr. Daniel Fultz, an assistant professor. The radio show, he says, seemed like a great opportunity to engage both at the same time.
To that end, Woodring is recording Friday afternoon colloquia at which Bluffton faculty discuss their research then interviewing them afterward. That material will comprise some of the programs, as will, he hopes, interviews with faculty about their journeys on recent sabbaticals and on the academic road to earning their doctorates. He also plans student-focused shows, including one with volleyball player Jenna Eshleman on maintaining academic excellence while in athletics.
Woodring, says Mast, exhibits the kind of curiosity about the world and enthusiasm for learning that professors dream about when they think about engaged students.
When it comes to working with technologies, Alex is as tenacious as he is fearless and his productions demonstrate both qualities, adds Fultz, also praising him for the ability to bring the right mix of students together to accomplish big projects.
Woodring does that in part as practicum supervisor (head editor) of Bluffton Connection, which incorporates an online version of the former student newspaper, The Witmarsum, and WBWH.
Looking beyond Bluffton, he intends to stick with media production, whether radio or television. But he s not forgoing his intellectual interests, either graduate school is on his radar within the next couple years, and college-level teaching is a possibility after that, Woodring says.