Faculty / Staff

Leon Alligood

Leon Alligood
Mass Comm 229D

Leon Alligood, associate professor, joined the MTSU faculty in the fall of 2008 following a 29-year career as a print reporter. For 22 years he was based in Nashville, first at the Nashville Banner, then The Tennessean. While at The Tennessean, he primarily wrote human interest and narrative stories on a variety of beats. He also was an embedded reporter covering the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan and Iraq. His writing has won awards in national, regional and state contests. He currently teaches Reporting, Feature Writing, Interactive Media, and Immersion Journalism. He is married to Bertie, an elementary school principal. They have two grown sons and one granddaughter.

Kenneth Blake

Kenneth Blake
Mass Comm 114A
Website: www.mtsu.edu/~kblake

Dr. Ken Blake, associate professor of journalism, earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication in 1997 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches courses in writing, reporting and quantitative research methods. Additionally, he is operations director for the MTSU Poll, a once-a-semester telephone poll measuring the opinions of residents living in the 39 counties that constitute Middle Tennessee. The poll is funded by the Office of Communication Research, the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellend in First Amendment Studies, and the MTSU School of Journalism. Dr. Blake’s research interests include mass media and society, public opinion theory and methodology, and Internet-based instruction. A former newspaper reporter, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

Larry Burriss

Larry Burriss
Mass Comm 258
Website: www.mtsu.edu/~lburriss

Dr. Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss’ publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.

Katherine Foss

Katherine Foss
Mass Comm 231A

Dr. Katherine Foss, associate professor, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2008. Her teaching interests include health communication, gender and media, cultural studies approaches to media and qualitative methods. Her current research focuses on breastfeeding discourse in media (from advertising to entertainment television), constructions of health responsibility and representations of deafness and hearing loss. Her past research projects have examined gender and victimization in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Minds, the discourse of television theme songs, pioneer medicine in television and portrayals of journalists in comic book films.

Her work has appeared in Health Communication, Disability Studies Quarterly, Women & Health, International Breastfeeding Journal, Communication Quarterly and other peer-reviewed journals, along with book chapters in Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities and The Harms of Crime Media: Essays on the Perpetuation of Racism, Sexism and Class Stereotypes.  She was an invited speaker at the 2012 Great Nurse-In, a breastfeeding advocacy event held on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She also won the 2012 James W. Carey Media Research Award for her co-authored article (with Dr. Kathy Forde), entitled “‘The Facts—the Color!—the Facts’: The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910,” published in Book History.
Curriculum vitae: (DOC)

Edward Kimbrell

Edward Kimbrell
Mass Comm 229D

Dr. Edward Kimbrell, professor of journalism, holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Missouri. Dr. Kimbrell is the founding chair of MTSU’s Department of Mass Communication and served as dean of the College of Mass Communication from 1989 through 1991. He has received MTSU’s Outstanding Teacher Award, Gamma Beta Phi’s Teacher of the Year Award twice, the MTSU Public Service Award, and the MTSU Foundation’s Career Achievement Award (2005). He teaches Freedom of Expression, Mass Media Law, and American Media and Social Institutions. Dr. Kimbrell has been a reporter, photographer and editor for the Chicago City News Bureau and other newspapers, radio and television stations, and he has also worked in higher-education public relations. He is the winner of four Emmys for his weekly media commentary on WSMV-TV Nashville, and he hosted the bimonthly interview show “Metro Journal,” for which he won a national TELLY Award in 1995.
Curriculum vitae (PDF)

Jane Marcellus

Jane Marcellus
Mass Comm 271B

Dr. Jane Marcellus, professor, teaches media history, feature writing, and graduate seminars including qualitative research methods and cultural studies. Her research focuses on media history and gender, with a particular interest in representation of employed women in the 1920s and 1930s. Her work has been published in Journalism Mass Communication Quarterly, American Journalism, Women’s Studies: an Interdisciplinary Journal, Journal of Popular Culture, and Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, master’s degrees from the University of Arizona and Northwestern, and a bachelor’s from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She is a former journalist.
Curriculum vitae (PDF)

whitney matheson

Whitney Matheson

Whitney has joined the School as its Journalist in Residence starting in Spring 2015. She was the writer and editor of Pop Candy, an award-winning blog she founded during her 15-year tenure at USA Today, where she covered a wide range of topics related to pop culture. She continues to write for a variety of sites including MentalFloss.com, Decider.com and Playboy.com.

Greg Pitts

Gregory Pitts
Mass Comm 249

Dr. Gregory Pitts is a professor and director of the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. He has been a mass communication faculty member at both public and private universities for more than 25 years. He previously led the Department of Communications at the University of North Alabama, where he led the mass communication program to earn its initial accreditation review by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Other leadership roles include: Director of Faculty and Student Programs for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Educational Foundation and media management trainer for the International Broadcasting Bureau, a unit of the U.S. Department of State.

He is an active member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and completed the Journalism and Mass Communication Leadership Institute for Diversity (JLID) Fellowship through AEJMC. He is also a member of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) and is a past board member.

Pitts is the recipient of two Fulbright appointments (Zambia and Montenegro) and two Fulbright Specialist appointments (Ukraine). He is co-author of The Radio Broadcasting Industry (with Alan Albarran) and has published in Communication Technology Update, Communication Law & Policy, Journal of Radio Studies, Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, Ecquid Novi and Feedback.

Jan Quarles

Jan Quarles
Mass Comm 205

Dr. Jan Quarles, professor, earned her doctoral degree in Mass Communications from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She teaches courses in global news and world media cultures and masters courses in media management and has an extensive background in public relations. She first worked in Washington D.C. in health care public relations and subsequently earned her doctorate at the University of Tennessee in 1986 while working part time as a copy editor at the Knoxville News-Sentinel. She has taught for more than 30 years in universities in the United States. She also taught at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, where she directed a degree program in Public Relations and worked with graduate students. She has served as Associate Dean, Director of the School of Journalism and Director of the Masters program at various times during her tenure at MTSU.

Dr. Quarles is the author, along with Bill Rowlings of Australia, of Practising Public Relations: A Case Studies Approach, the first case studies text for Australian students. She is a lifetime member of the Public Relations Institute and worked on the initial accreditation structure for Australian public relations programs. She is actively involved in ACEJMC and with its accreditation process.

She has published in Media Asia and has a chapter on Cambodia in Alozie’s Advertising in Developing and Emerging Economies. Her current research focuses of the flow of cultural products around the world, cultural policy and the impact of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity.

Dr. Quarles has received two Fulbright grants, a post-doctoral grant to study Australian reporters and newsrooms in Melbourne, and a Senior Specialist Grant to the Royal University of Phnom Penh. She has traveled widely and worked on projects in St. Petersburg, Russia, in Australia and New Zealand and across Southeast Asia. She is a Salzburg Fellow, a graduate of the Journalism Leadership in Diversity program and a graduate of the HERS program at Bryn Mawr. She was an initial founder of the group Tennesseans Against Genocide.
Curriculum vitae (PDF)

Jason Reineke

Jason Reineke
Mass Comm 264

Dr. Jason Reineke, associate professor, holds masters and doctoral degrees in Journalism and Communication from The Ohio Sate University, and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Miami University. His research and teaching interests are focused mainly on public opinion and political communication, especially involving freedom of expression and support for censorship, as well as research methods and statistical analysis.

Dr. Reineke is the associate director of the MTSU Poll, a statewide survey conducted twice each year to assess Tennessee residents’ opinions on a variety of issues. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, the Journal of Communication, the Journal of Health Communication, and Mass Communication and Society.

Jennifer Woodard

Jennifer Woodard
Mass Comm 262

Dr. Jennifer Bailey Woodard, who was trained and educated in journalism as an undergraduate at MTSU, joined the faculty of the School of Journalism after graduating from the University of Georgia with an M.A. in mass communication. She received her Ph.D. at Indiana University—Bloomington in mass communication. While at IU, she concentrated on scholarship that would enhance her ability to teach students the value of a diversified newsroom and the role that technology would play in their future job opportunities.

She currently teaches courses on convergence, digital writing, podcasting, audio journalism, women in the media and race, class and gender. Dr. Woodard has published articles and reviews in such journals as Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Communication, and The Communicator. She is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication where she has served on numerous committees including chairing the Minorities and Communication division. She is also a member of the Broadcast Education Association.

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