Helping students achieve fluency in the English language, whether verbal, visual, or multi-modal, is a complex undertaking, as Professor of English Education and former Department Chair Roy Fox knows very well. Dr. Fox is a long-time advocate of using visual media to foster language fluency. Media literacy has been an important subject in both his classrooms and his research. Recently, he has been employing even more unconventional methods of teaching and continuously expanding the field of English Education and literacy.
Marvin Overby has been described as the Political Science department’s "utility infielder" in American Politics, and over the years his expertise has only spread. His research interests range from legislative procedures in the U.S. House and Senate (and Canadian Parliament, too) to the politics of minority groups. And his interests continue to grow.
The fact that Nancy M. West finds herself focusing so heavily on the visual in her research and teaching may at first seem to be “a sort of a curious thing,” but for the associate professor of English this fascination for the visual extends all the way back to a childhood devoid of photographs. “I love thinking about what photography means to people. Having grown up with very few photographs in my household, I’ve always been drawn to them,” she admits. It was no surprise, therefore, that West stumbled upon her first book project while scrounging through the bargain bin of an antique store: “I came across all of these old Kodak ads from the turn of the century, and I thought they were amazing. The images were just breathtakingly beautiful. The captions were unlike those we see now in ads. They were much more elaborate, much more descriptive. They addressed the consumer in very interesting, clever ways, and I just fell in love with them.” And at that serendipitous moment, the idea for Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (2000) was conceived.
Finding a way to transform MU’s School of Journalism into a think tank for the news and advertising industry has been the main research goal for Esther Thorson, who serves as Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and Director of Research for the Reynolds Journalism Institute. While medical schools, law schools, and engineering schools have long provided think tanks for their fields, journalism schools have never focused on the creation, research, and application of new industry ideas. Simply put, thus far journalism schools only “produce the fodder for the personnel in those companies,” but this is something Thorson aspires to change.
Dr. Fox continues to explore the issues he finds with “Channel One,” particularly the ability of advertisements to instill negative values in students through the excessive repetition of ads to which students are forcibly exposed.
For twenty-five years Dr. Fox served on a national committee dedicated to pointing out and highlighting intentional manipulation of language by public figures. His activities with this group helped him understand the problematic programming of “Channel One”: a ten-minute in-school program that bombards students with “MTV-esque” advertising.
Behm-Morawitz also studies video game advertisements that promote certain racial and sexual stereotypes. The graphic art in these ads, she explains, is so advanced that some of her students had trouble identifying whether an animated character was real or not.
The fact that Nancy M. West finds herself focusing so heavily on the visual in her research and teaching may at first seem to be “a sort of a curious thing,” but for the associate professor of English this fascination for photographs, and especially snapshots, extends all the way back to a childhood devoid of photographs. Traveling to Rochester, New York, home of the George Eastman House, West spent a week digging through boxes of advertisements (both published and unpublished) and documents ranging in date from 1888 to 1932. Her research eventually resulted in Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (2000), an interdisciplinary study that examines the advertising campaigns of the Eastman Kodak Company and reveals certain key fascinations in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century American culture.
Internet Advertising: Theory and Research, which Thorson co-edited with David W. Schumann (University of Tennessee) and now in its second edition, was the first book on Internet advertising. Its contributors are some of the most innovative scholars in the area of advertising and the Internet.
Finding a way to transform MU’s School of Journalism into a think tank for the news and advertising industry has been the main research goal for Esther Thorson, who serves as Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and Director of Research for the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Her first major effort, in collaboration with Margaret Duffy, was to address the news and advertising crisis caused by the “digital revolution,” reacting to the reality that newspaper and television audiences have been plummeting as consumers and advertisers alike are shifting toward the Internet and other new media technologies.
Having a Ph.D. in psychology has aided Thorson in observing and understanding people and how they respond to messages, and her research program calls upon her to be a “jack-of-all-trades.” She spent a lot of her early years in advertising research, looking at people’s responses to ads and figuring out what kinds of visual images or auditory stimuli grabs and holds their attention.
The American Association of Advertisers is a group that includes both scholars and practitioners. Though originally advertising was considered a man’s field, Thorson wonders why no other women have yet been voted into the organization’s fellowship.
By examining the economic results of desegregation in the insurance industry, Weems began to notice how corporate America profited as well from the Civil Rights Movement. The result was his second book, Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (1998)—a comprehensive look at the African-American community as a consumer base in the U.S.
Miller discusses his journey through New York, commercial advertising, and art school—ulimately leading to his position in the Department of Theatre here at Mizzou.