The Communication and Media Studies program has a new face roaming the halls this fall, Professor Jeffrey Morris. Morris is a Georgia native and attended Paulding County High School near his hometown of Hiram. He later went on to earn degrees from Berry College and San Diego State University. His professional experience includes nine years of teaching and 10 years of operating his own videography company.
Morris answered a few questions to help students get to know him and explain his goals at Reinhardt:
Q: What would you like students to know about you?
A: “I want my students to have goals and to work to achieve them. I feel my job as a professor is to share knowledge in a way that illuminates ideas they hadn’t thought of or focused on and at the same time has a practical application. I don’t believe it is enough to complete assignments as purely academic exercises. I believe that assignments and projects should build on and demonstrate a growing knowledge of whatever subject you are studying, and that should lead to knowledge of a career you are pursuing so that the student leaves Reinhardt prepared to enter the job market.”
Q: What would you say is the most interesting part of your job?
A: “The most interesting part of my job is seeing what the students create in the production classes. Everyone has a unique perspective and creative vision, regardless of their level of experience or talent. I enjoy seeing the students develop their talent and discover their own unique capabilities.”
Q: Why did you choose Reinhardt and how was the transition?
A: “I was already familiar with Reinhardt before the position became open because my wife, Kelly, works in the Human Resources (HR) department. I already had decided (in the back of my mind) that I would like to get back into the classroom again. As chance would have it, Mr. Webb decided to retire last year, and the open position felt like a perfect fit. It has been a challenging transition, going from setting my own hours as a business owner and freelance videographer and editor and going to a set schedule with a five course load this fall. That being said, the Reinhardt community has been very welcoming, and I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know all of the students, faculty and staff I work around.”
Q: Did you always plan to go into academia?
A: “No, but I did decide early on that academia was a good fit for me. I love shooting and editing (especially editing and post production), but I also like sharing knowledge and teaching others. I had an opportunity to teach public speaking while I was a graduate student at San Diego State University, and that was an important formative experience. When I moved back to Georgia a couple of years later, a teaching positioned opened up at my undergraduate alma mater that I accepted. For the next three years, I taught all of the production courses and had a blast! I’ve generally been split between teaching and running my own production company, so in 2006 I decided to focus on building my own company full time and that is what I have predominantly done the past 10 years. However, I never lost my affinity for teaching and now I am back in the classroom.”
Q: What are your goals during your tenure at Reinhardt?
A: “My goal this year at Reinhardt is push the students to do their very best work, regardless of which class they are taking, and achieve this by giving them the knowledge and guidance they need for each assignment or project. I am also sorting through all of the equipment to better utilize the resources that Reinhardt already has while looking for areas that need to be improved. Another major goal this year is to assess where the students and program are at so that the Communication and Media Studies Department can chart a clear course for the future.”
Q: What classes are you currently teaching or plan to teach in the future?
A: “I am currently teaching Digital Film and Video Production, Media and Sports, Audio Design and a special section of the Communication Capstone Seminar. Next semester, I’ll be teaching Part II of Digital Film and Video Production along with Editing and Post-Production (no pre-requisite, students from any major can take it and learn all about editing) and Producing and Directing. I am also teaching a section of COM108 Communicating Effectively each semester.”
Q: What is something none of your students know about you/oddest hobby?
A: “I am a huge fan of Jim Henson’s work from the Muppets to Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal. I have a great respect for his artistry and vision as well as his focus on creating entertainment for children that also appeals to adults.”