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Rob Heller Selected for CCI Board of Visitors Professorship

School of Journalism and Electronic Media Professor Rob Heller has been selected as the fourth recipient of the CCI Board of Visitors Professorship. 

The BOV Professorship, currently held by Suzie Allard, Chancellor’s Professor in Information Sciences and CCI Associate Dean for Research, was made possible by generous gifts from donors including current and emeritus members of the college’s Board of Visitors. The three-year rotating professorship was established to recognize and reward outstanding CCI faculty members whose research, creative activity, teaching, and academic and professional service have uniquely contributed to the mission of their school, the college and the university.

Heller has been educating future photojournalists and graphic designers for more than three decades at the University of Tennessee. He has been a member of the JEM faculty since 1986 and was promoted to professor in 2009. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. 

His 20-year retrospective exhibit of “Eyes on LaFollette” photography was on display at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville and was featured in then-UT President Joe DiPietro’s presentation to the State Legislature as a prime example of UT’s academic research and creativity that serves students, citizens, the State, and the world. “Eyes on LaFollette” was also selected as an exemplar by UT for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

His book, Living On: Portraits of Tennessee Survivors and Liberators, presented pictures and stories of people who experienced the Holocaust. The photographs from this project have been exhibited in museums all over Tennessee, including the Frist Art Museum in Nashville and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. In addition, his photography of Holocaust survivors has been exhibited in six cities in Poland, including the Galicia Museum in Krakow and the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The “Living On Project” has been the subject of an award-winning documentary created by Nashville Public Television and televised on public television stations across the country.

Heller’s photographs have been accepted for 15 nationally and internationally juried exhibitions over the last five years, and he has published scholarly work in Visual Communications Quarterly, Journalism Educator, Journalism Monographs, and Afterimage.

Heller has won four College of Communication and Information faculty awards: the Faculty Teaching Award, the C.W. (Bud) Minkel International/Intercultural Faculty Award, the Innovative Technology Teaching Award, and the Faculty Service/Outreach Award.

In addition to his service work for JEM, CCI and UT, Heller also has a long history of professional service including: his service to the Tennessee Press Association, teaching workshops at their winter conventions and at the UT/TPA Institute of Newspaper Technology; serving on the Advisory Board for the Pellissippi State Community College Photography Program; serving as a member of the Newspaper Research Journal editorial board; and serving in a variety of positions for the Visual Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) including Membership Chair, Teaching Chair, Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair, Division Vice-Head, and Division Head.