UW Comm awarded for support of students in the military

Domke Award Mar 27-2247

The U.S. Department of Defense, through its Washington arm of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), presented a Patriot Award to Chair of the UW Department of Communication David Domke in late March. The award description says it “reflects the efforts made to support Citizen Warriors though a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.”

“I am honored by this award,” Domke said. “This was clearly an award for the entire Department. From our staff to our faculty, we have the utmost respect and the greatest commitment to working with members of the military.”

Domke, along with the rest of the faculty, was nominated by fourth-year Ph.D. candidate Will Mari, who is an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Mari is in training to become a public relations officer for the Navy while pursuing his degree.

“It’s a little crazy to try to do this alongside a Ph.D., but the faculty help make it possible,” he said. “By giving me time off for my military work, and being flexible, Domke and the Department have supported me, and, in that way, the U.S. Navy. They, and many other employers, have shown real patriotism – not the cheesy kind – by taking away my stress while away, and helping me focus on my military mission.”

Domke said faculty tell him, and he also has experienced, that students who are members of the military have proven to be some of the most hard-working and dedicated, making their academics a priority in the midst of very challenging situations.

“What I’ve learned from them military folks is that there is not a conflict between open-minded, critical thinking about our government and our system on one hand and service to the country on the other – and I’ve seen that over and over again,” he said. “Members of the military are often the most thoughtful of our political and national leadership because these are the people that are putting their lives on the line. So we tend to do all that we can to make it work for them.”

Mari, who is in the beginning stages of researching newsroom work culture in the first half of the twentieth century, said that even though support of the military may be less common on campus than a few decades ago, it’s important to represent the military in the academy, and the Department is definitely a part of that.

Domke said, “We appreciate being recognized for something that we’re just happy to do.”