Archive for the ‘faculty & staff’ Category

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Cinema program continues its growth

November 18, 2010

Cinema has always been an important part of the School of Communications’  curriculum, but this year it got a major face-lift with the addition of new faculty, programs and student activities.

“It’s really grown considerably,” said Kenn Gaither, the associate dean of the School of Communications. “In the last couple of years we’ve added new faculty, we’re growing our student organizations and programs. Cinelon and Elon Docs, for example, are both getting larger.”

Included in these improvements is Elon’s hiring of screenwriter and director Paul Castro as a visiting faculty member. Castro is most well known for his screenplay for the movie “August Rush,” a major motion picture starring Keri Russell and Robin Williams.

“What I believe I can bring to the cinema program is experience and passion,” Castro said. “I certainly have the experience to teach screenwriting and filmmaking, but more importantly is the passion, the passion for my students’ success.”

The changes in the cinema program have not gone unnoticed in the professional world.  Elon was recently one of 13 colleges and universities selected to participate in the Sprite Refreshing Filmmakers Challenge.  The contest, which gives students the chance to work on a professional commercial, is only open to the selected schools and includes some of the most prestigious film programs in the country.

More than anything, Elon cinema students have the opportunity, now more than ever, to hone their skills and to one day become important members of the very competitive entertainment industry.

“I just love what I do,” said cinema student Josh Chagani. “I love being behind the camera or in front of Final Cut, and I’m really glad that the support system here is as amazing as it is.”

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School of Communications announces leadership appointments

April 7, 2010
From left: Don Grady, Kenn Gaither, Jessica Gisclair

From left: Don Grady, Kenn Gaither, Jessica Gisclair

The School of Communications on Wednesday announced the appointments of two associate deans, with associate professors Don Grady and Kenn Gaither assuming their new responsibilities on June 1. Associate professor Jessica Gisclair will succeed Grady as the school’s department chair.

Dean Paul Parsons announced the appointments based on an internal application process and substantive faculty/staff conversations following the selection earlier this year of current associate dean Connie Book as associate provost for academic affairs. The Communications faculty voted to remain a holistic school with a single department chair and to add an associate dean rather than create multiple departments.

“We work well as a holistic school, and Don Grady, Kenn Gaither and Jessica Gisclair are terrific individuals with leadership talents that complement one another,” Parsons said. “They have the spirit of innovation that makes the School of Communications special, and their appointments also ensure continuity of our learning-centered mission.”

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David Copeland takes sinewy route to academia

April 7, 2010
David Copeland

David Copeland

Ask David Copeland to describe himself and he will respond, “David Copeland is just a guy who loves to teach and has been doing it for a long time.”

With that statement, Copeland does not cover a fraction of what he has accomplished in his time as a historian, an educator, a journalist and a musician. He dug an outhouse in historic Williamsburg, did freelance archaeology in his hometown, lucked into the position of sports editor at a local daily newspaper, played trumpet with The Temptations and wrote nine books.

When he applied for his position as sports editor, he was asked about his journalism background.

“‘I don’t have any,'” Copeland told them. “‘But,’ I said, ‘I can write.’ And they said, ‘Go home tonight and watch the World Series.'”

Copeland was told to not read anything and to not watch any reports on it. His task was simply to write it up and turn it in the next day. He was hired and his hands-on journalism education began.

He has earned two master’s degrees – one in divinity and the other in theology. Copeland served as a music minister from 1987 to 2001 in addition to working as a journalist and earning his doctorate degree.

One of the facts Copeland likes to share when first introducing himself to his students is that he once played with The Temptations. What his students don’t realize – judging by the chuckle that runs through the room when he says it – is that he really did play with The Temptations. They had a show band with a complement of trumpets, saxophones and guitarists, and one night, a trumpet player was sick. The band called Wake Forest, where Copeland was an undergraduate student at the time, and he was asked to fill in for show. The only thing he needed to do to prepare was to find a white tie to fit in with the navy and white attire.

“I kind of took them aback when they looked back there and saw me sitting there,” Copeland said, “because they didn’t exactly expect me to be there. So, it was pretty fun. What was really fun was I had a lot of friends who had gone to the concert and had really up-close seats and they were going, ‘What are you doing there!? I can’t figure this out!'”

Copeland principally teaches Media History now in addition to serving as director of the Interactive Media graduate program.

Read more about David Copeland:

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Faculty & Staff Updates

March 30, 2010

Colin Donohue ’05, Travis Lusk ’05 present at annual College Media Advisers conference

Colin Donohue and Travis Lusk

Colin Donohue and Travis Lusk

Travis Lusk, a 2005 Elon alumnus, and Colin Donohue, coordinator of student media in the School of Communications and a 2005 alumnus, presented two sessions about student media Web site development on March 15 at the College Media Advisers conference in New York.

Lusk and Donohue gave an initial session titled “Starting a professional student org Web site” that was geared toward students who didn’t have Web sites for their media organizations or who had sites but wanted to reconceive their online presence. The second presentation, titled “Advanced student media Web sites: Content, marketing, technology and revenue,” was a higher level discussion aimed at students who wanted tips about how to promote and monetize their sites.

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Katherine Branston ’09, Lee Bush publish study on social good networks

Lee Bush

Lee Bush

Katherine Branston ’09 and Lee Bush, associate professor in the School of Communications, had a paper published in a special nonprofit issue of the international online public relations journal PRism.

The paper, titled “The nature of online social good networks and their impact on non-profit organisations and users,” examined online networks that connect multiple nonprofit organizations and causes with the public. The study used a mixed-methods approach–content analysis, user survey data and in-depth interviews with nonprofit organizations–to identify emerging trends in cause-related networking and determine the benefits for nonprofit marketing and fundraising.

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Book by David Copeland explores media’s impact on national agenda

David Copeland's Active Voice

David Copeland's Active Voice

When four black students from North Carolina A&T University decided to sit at a segregated lunch counter in a Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s store 50 years ago, they didn’t plan on using media to affect national change. They were simply making a principled stand in their small corner of the nation.

But when the local media and, in turn, the national media picked up the story, it led to sit-ins across the country and demonstrated to influential black leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., the power of media to influence cultural shifts. It’s anecdotes like these that pepper Communications professor David Copeland’s new book, The Media’s Role in Defining the Nation: The Active Voice, published by Peter Lang Publishing.

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Harlen Makemson studies media, NASA in new book

Harlen Makemson's Media and NASA

Harlen Makemson's Media and NASA

ABC News journalist Jules Bergman filled the TV screen to give an update on the Apollo 13 space mission. Bergman had been covering the space program since before the Gemini missions, so he had become a signature personality in media coverage of lunar events. On this day, Bergman had bad news.

“Apollo 13 is apparently also losing breathing oxygen,” he said. “The emergency has ruled out any chance of a lunar landing and could endanger the lives of the astronauts themselves, if the (lunar module’s) oxygen supply plus whatever is left of the Command Module’s oxygen can’t last them until they can get back to Earth.”

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