Meet Christine Sprunger, the Department of Communication Studies administrative coordinator for the past 14 years. 

Christine has been a trusted and organized professional in the department since she started in 2010. She loves getting to know the Communication Studies students and helping out however she can. Christine is a valued and appreciated part of the department, and she continues to work behind the scenes to help students, faculty, and staff. 

Christine sat down with CCIM Outreach Office Student Worker and Senior Communication Studies major Maggey Parker to discuss her career, experiences, and involvement in the Ball State and Muncie communities.

Christine sits on a bench, laughing with four other women. They are all wearing Ball State affiliated t-shirts.

What does a “day in the life” look like for you in your current position?

Every day is different because I’m here to support my department, which encompasses various tasks; it also depends on the time of year and the deadlines associated with that term. I’m supervising four student office secretaries and helping grad assistants and faculty with any requests they bring. I problem-solve in various areas, permit students to enroll in courses, and process grade change forms. I make hotel reservations and submit travel and university vehicle requests for faculty, GAs, plus Speech and Debate team tournaments. I also reserve space on campus for events, request equipment delivery, and order supplies. I budget multiple accounts, process reimbursements, and manage payroll faculty load and student scholarships.  

What is your favorite thing about your job?  

I adore working with everyone in my department – I’m fortunate there is an incredibly supportive work culture here. I enjoy working with my student office assistants, knowing the skills they’re developing will help them in the future, and being able to say I contributed in some way.

What have been some of your favorite moments within the COMM Department over the years? Why?  

There are so many memorable moments, but it’s hard to pick one. Some memorable moments would be the Speech Team winning 14 consecutive State Tournaments. Our department’s annual holiday gathering is always entertaining due to the competitive white elephant gift exchange. In summers past, Dr. Glen Stamp and I would walk to the duck pond to see the turtles sunning themselves, and one time, we helped a grad assistant release a painted turtle he had rehabbed into the White River. That same grad once pranked Glen, which may or may not have involved baby turtles, goldfish, and multiple-lidded bowls.

Christine and Dr. Glen each hold turtles they are about to release back into the wild.

Tell me about your journey to Ball State – what led you here? 

My first “adult” job was at Muncie Public Library. However, after the birth of my second child, I needed employment with more income, fewer (or no) evening shifts, good benefits, and preferably a place that had a Public Employment Retirement Fund (PERF). Ball State had all that, and I could start at Bracken Library after my maternity leave. 

Christine posing with Charlie Cardinal at the Chase Charlie 5k.

I never graduated from Ball State; I started here but remain an eternal sophomore. I married young and had kids and didn’t join the university for several years after that. Since returning in 2004, I still love our community, campus, and department. Everyone has been so kind to me. 

How did you choose your major and how is it still impacting you today? 

In 1989, Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska, creating one of US history’s most significant environmental disasters. I was 13 and was affected by the images I saw on the news; it hurt my heart to see the massive destruction of habitat and the death of endangered animals. I wanted to go there to help clean crude oil off animals. I’m conscientious of the impact humankind has on our planet and try to do my part in protecting the environment from harmful chemicals and waste.

I appreciate that Ball State is making strides to be more environmentally aware. I’ve noticed the initiatives in their recyclable trash cans, the lights that turn off, and the toilets that flush by themselves. Specifically, the geothermal initiative makes me happy because I’m glad we’re being more mindful about our waste and energy. 

What are some things you’ve done in your career that you’re proud of?

I was the 2017 recipient of the A. Jane Morton Award. I really like being part of the A Jane Morton Committee, Staff Council, and Staff Conference Committees. It’s satisfying knowing I’m part of something influential. 

What is the A. Jane Morton award?

The A. Jane Morton Award is for any Ball State staff who has been here for more than three years, and they can be recognized for going above and beyond their regular work expectations. A. Jane Morton is used as a reference because she did so much. She was active in her community, she created the first handbook, so we use her name to acknowledge the people who give to their department, the university, and their communities. 

Christine poses for a picture with one of her students.

When and how did you find your passion for what you do?

Navigating my role in the department was a little choppy due to a tragic loss in my Chair’s family a few weeks before I started in 2010. I wanted to uplift the faculty somehow and would draw silly pictures on Glen’s whiteboard, provide a candy bowl in my office to lure people to visit so I could get to know them, and post encouraging messages at the end of emails. As morale rose and I started to feel more comfortable in my job, I soon discovered the impact and importance of my role. The faculty appreciated my efforts and were supportive as I learned the ropes, and it’s because of them that I am where I am.

How are you involved outside of Ball State?

I love being active with my church and being community minded. We have one particular week called Serve Week, where we go into the community and involve the youth. We recently went to Selma to help with some of the debris pickup after the tornadoes that hit down there. I also kept a Facebook page for a Systems of Care group advocating awareness of Delaware County’s mental and emotional health resources.

Christine working at an event.

What’s something you want others at BSU to know about you?

I’m an avid bird watcher. I love hiking, enjoying nature, and being outside whenever the temperatures get warm. I am also a kid at heart. I still want to go horseback riding, see dolphins and whales, walk on the beach, and put my toes in the grass — all that makes me happy.

Christine making a glass-blown pumpkin at the Marylin K. Glick Center for Glass.

What makes the COMM department special? 

We’re one of the strongest Comm Studies programs in the region. Our faculty are some of the most student-oriented faculty you will ever meet. The COMM 210 program is unique due to the mentorship of our graduate assistants and the coaching they provide to the undergrads in labs and through our innovative Speaking Center.