October 25, 2014  

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Six Join Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism Faculty

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Six new faculty members bring a combination of professional experience and academic training to the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism for the 2012-13 academic year.

*Visiting Associate Professor Cindy Blackwell previously served as an associate professor of agricultural communication at Oklahoma State University, where she co-directed four major grant projects, including one in which her team assisted with the education and development of media specialists in Mali, West Africa.  She holds a master’s and Ph.D. from Texas A&M and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She is teaching in the undergraduate and master’s programs in public relations and is advising The Agency at Southern Miss, the school’s student-operated advertising and public relations firm.

*Visiting Instructor Maya Champion earned a BFA at New York University’s highly regarded film program and an MFA in film at Columbia University.  She has worked as a television and film producer and writer in New York.  She also has a master’s degree in secondary English education from the University of Alabama and has worked as a school teacher. She is teaching film studies and scriptwriting.

*Assistant Professor Teddy Champion has an MFA in film from Columbia University and is a doctoral candidate in mass communication at the University of Alabama. He has worked as a documentary maker for a variety of television networks, including the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, BBC, NBC, Disney, E! News, CMT and MTV.  He is teaching courses in video production and leading the school’s undergraduate program in media production.

*Assistant Professor Gina Chen earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.  She spent 20 years working as a newspaper and online reporter and editor with most of her professional experience at The Post-Standard in Syracuse.  Her research on social media has been published in a variety of journals, including Mass Communication and Society, the Newspaper Research Journal and Computers in Human Behavior. She is teaching courses in multimedia storytelling and newspaper and online journalism.

*Visiting Instructor Peter Chen attended California State University-Fullerton before spending 18 years as a photographer, reporter, photo editor and multimedia journalist at The Post-Standard in Syracuse.  He is teaching courses in multimedia storytelling and photojournalism.

*Associate Professor Vanessa Murphree previously served as an associate professor at the University of South Alabama.  She earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Alabama and her doctorate in mass communication at the University of Southern Mississippi.  She is the author of "The Selling of Civil Rights: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Use of Public Relations." She is teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and media history.

“This is an impressive group, and they bring a lot of positive energy to the school,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, the school’s director.  “They also bring great media experience as well as very impressive academic backgrounds.  We’re thrilled, and our students are already singing their praises.”

For additional information, contact Campbell at christopher.campbell@usm.edu or 601.266.4258. For more information about the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism, online visit www.usm.edu/mcj.