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New Faculty Join CCI

CCI welcomes four new assistant professors and two lecturers. 

Nicholas Geidner, Ph.D., joins the School of Journalism and Electronic Media this fall after completing his doctorate at Ohio State University. Geidner’s recent publications focus on understanding opinion expression and the spiral of silence. The title of his dissertation is, “The Role of Diversity and Communication Modes in Creating Cohesive Online Discussion Groups on Newspaper Websites.”

Michael Martinez, Ph.D., joins the faculty of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media after completing his doctorate at the University of Missouri. Several of his recent publications are about current journalistic topics such as professionalism and ethical journalism.  His research interests include First Amendment/freedom of expression issues, with particular focus on cameras in the courtroom. The title of his dissertation is, “Cameras in the Courts: Television News Programs and Their Democratic Role in a Community.”

Catherine Kingsley Westerman, Ph.D., joins the School of Communication Studies faculty this fall after completing her doctorate at Michigan State University. She has taught courses at both West Virginia University and Michigan State University. Her most recent work focuses on health communication. She has numerous publications on a variety of communication topics. At UT, she will be teaching organizational communication, health communication, and research methods. The title of her dissertation is, “Silence or Voice? Using Facework to Facilitate Employee Responses to Autonomy and Competence Face Threats Posed by Negative Feedback.”

Xiaohua (AWA) Zhu, Ph.D., will be joining the faculty of the School of Information Sciences in January after completing her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she taught courses on managing digital resources. Her publications include research work on site licensing of electronic resources.  At UT, she will be teaching courses on information organization and representation, cataloging and classification, and information architecture. Her interests are in social informatics, e-resource licensing, and intellectual property. The title of her dissertation is, “The Access Rights to Digital Legal Information: A Historical Case Study.”

Lecturers –

Maria Fontenot, PhD., will be a lecturer for the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University where she taught classes in multi-platform journalism and production, media law, graduate seminars in telecommunication rules and regulations and media and politics.  She completed her doctorate at the University of Tennessee CCI in 2005.  Her dissertation title is, “Indecent Proposals:  A Legal Analysis of ‘Indecency’ Applied to Broadcasting and the Internet.”

Syrenthia Robinson, Ph.D., will also be a School of Journalism and Electronic Media lecturer.  She has been employed by HGTV, Scripps Networks Interactive as a production manager.  She completed her doctorate at the University of Tennessee CCI in 2006.  Her dissertation title is, “Scripted vs. Real: An Analysis of Parent-Child Interactions in African American Sitcom Families and Real-Life Families”