Meet Our New Faculty

by Halima Fasasi, photos by Tonja Hagy, Riannon Rowley, Sara Stelling and David Vaughn


Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Kevin Stoker, Ph.D., is involved in the selection process of new faculty members for the College of Media & Communication. Dean Jerry Hudson, Ph.D., has the final decision in approving the hiring of new faculty members. Stoker said that potential faculty members have to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge through research to be considered for a permanent faculty position.

Erik Bucy, Ph.D. Erik Bucy, Ph.D., is the new Marshall and Sharleen Formby Regents Professor of Strategic Communication joining the Texas Tech University College of Media &amo; Communication in Fall 2012. Before arriving, Bucy was a professor at Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications from 1997-2010.

In 2011, Bucy was appointed vice president of research for SmithGeiger LLC, in Westlake Village, Calif., a news and entertainment research company that provides strategic advice to multimedia and nonprofit clients, domestically and internationally. From there, Bucy moved into the academic world, as a professor at Texas Tech.

Transitioning from the academic world to market research was an exciting experience for Bucy, and he said it enabled him to assist media companies with key decisions and new initiatives. A researcher in political communication and new media, Bucy brings his interests in media, market research, and politics to students in classes that address communication theory, the changing media landscape, and integrated marketing communication.

Bucy is the author of two recent books: “Image Bite Politics,” winner of two distinguished research awards, and the “Sourcebook for Political Communication Research.” Bucy said he is proud to be part of the College of Media & Communication and said he is thoroughly impressed by the collegiality of the faculty and accessibility of administrators and staff at Texas Tech.

Melissa Gotlieb, Ph.D. Melissa Gotlieb, Ph.D., assistant professor of advertising, initially studied psychology. As a psychology student, Gotlieb became interested in advertising, leading her to pursue a second major in mass communication. From there, Gotlieb pursued her higher degrees.

Gotlieb’s research focuses on the effects of advertising, particularly ways that different types of messages affect different types of consumers, and what motivations are influenced by the advertisements. Gotlieb also explores how consumer motivation and advertisements interact to increase the incidents of political consumerism and the use of socially conscious considerations, such as avoiding products made by companies that use sweatshop labor, when purchasing a product.

During the mortgage crisis and while Gotlieb was in still in graduate school, she worked with a team doing consulting work for nonprofit organizations, assessing the effectiveness of their communications.

Gotlieb said she brings her research experience into the classroom, to help students understand the mechanics of creating a message, and to comprehend the audiences’ perspectives.

Jerod Foster Jerod Foster has been an adjunct instructor teaching at Texas Tech since 2007, and he recently was promoted to Professor of Practice in Journalism and Electronic Media. Foster’s undergraduate and master’s degrees are in agricultural communications from Texas Tech.

Foster is a photographer and has shot photographs for many books and magazines, including his own book “Storytellers: A Photographer’s Guide to Developing Themes and Creating Stories with Pictures.” Foster is in the process of writing his second book, which will be published in March 2013.

Foster co-owns a publishing house, Badlands Design and Production, with Sylinda Meinzer, the wife of Texas State Photographer Wyman Meinzer. Badlands Design and Production produces coffee table books about Texas culture and Americana.

Foster said he thinks the recent joining of the journalism and electronic media and communication departments is a more useful way to address the issue of content. He said electronic media serves as the vehicle by which all types of media exist.

Jo Grant Jo Grant, a 1978 graduate of Texas Tech, is the newly hired Professor of Practice in Public Relations. Prior to her employment in the College of Media & Communication, Grant was the director of marketing for the School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where she oversaw advertising, promotion and public relations activities, and patient care opportunities.

From 1982-1993, Grant worked at the Hendrick Medical Center as a public relations specialist and later as coordinator.

After working at the Hendrick Medical Center for more than 10 years, Grant spent the next 11 years, 1994-2005, at Shannon Medical Center as the director of marketing and director of the Children’s Miracle Network.

After 30 years in the health care industry, Grant said that the HIV/AIDS crisis was one of the most memorable. Grant said that the general public, the community and the patients had fears and worries about the disease because the first projections were grim and chances for survival were dismal.

Grant said that the hospital she worked for had to field media inquiries about how the HIV/AIDS disease was spread and to combat fears because many people were afraid to accept blood transfusions or to give blood.

Grant said that she learned a lot from her 30 years of experience in the health care industry, and she hopes to teach her students the lessons that cannot be learned from a textbook.

Sun Young Lee, Ph.D. Sun Young Lee, Ph.D., is a visiting assistant professor in public relations. In Fall 2013, Lee will be taking a new position as an assistant professor.

Before coming to Texas Tech, Lee worked for Korean corporations Designhouse Inc., a publishing company, and Dex Media, a web magazine company.

Lee’s research focuses on corporate communication, specifically corporate reputation, corporate social responsibility, crisis management, and media relations.

Lee believes that her experiences in corporations led her into the world of corporate communication, and she said she believes corporate communication is strongly related to our everyday lives.

Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D., is the newly hired assistant professor of advertising. She earned her master’s degree from Syracuse University and doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D. Ortiz said that she became interested in advertising after conducting research with advertising professors as an undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She then went on to work for a large advertising agency, a community newspaper, and a direct marketing firm before eventually going back to school to study health communication and media effects.

Ortiz said she was interested in the research being conducted in both the university and industry settings and wanted to learn more about how advertising works cognitively in people.

While at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ortiz participated in many health communication campaigns, including evaluating MTV’s documentary show “16 and Pregnant” with local Boys & Girls club members for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to examine its effects on teen pregnancy attitudes. She also has conducted research on promoting suicide prevention methods for lesbian adolescents and their parents.

Ortiz said her biggest goal in the classroom is to pique students’ interests in and educate them about work regarding social marketing and promotion of pro-social issues.

Kent Lowry Kent Lowry has been named Professor of Practice in Advertising. He came to Texas Tech in 2008 as a graduate student and part-time instructor in the College of Media & Communication.

Thirty years ago, Lowry was founder, publisher, editor and advertising manager for “Point of View: A Film Journal.” Lowry also spent time as a fulltime blogger and weekly columnist at the Las Cruces Sun News. Lowry never worked for an advertising agency but he said that all of his experiences in the media industry involved advertising in some form.

Lowry has been an adjunct instructor teaching advertising courses in the college, and he also has been a news producer for KCBD’s morning news.

Lowry currently is finishing his dissertation on what happens when big lectures and smaller lab classes are combined. Lowry said he has combined the two styles of the classroom in his History and Practice of the Film Trailer course, a course not offered at many universities and unique to the college. Lowry will use research methods based on the scholarship of teaching and learning as well as data from student-produced movie trailers to measure the benefits of combining the two concepts into one class.

Lowry said that he wants students to understand that employers look highly upon professionalism and common courtesy in the workplace.

Melanie Sarge, Ph.D. Melanie Sarge, Ph.D., assistant professor, came to Texas Tech after finishing her doctorate in communication from the Ohio State University. While at Ohio State, Sarge split her time as a graduate student working as a research assistant on audience selection of and response to mediated messages that varied in genre, topic and frame.

While finishing her Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Kentucky, Sarge interned with a nonprofit public relations agency, recruiting donors, planning events, and creating advertisements in order to promote city involvement. Before entering graduate school at Ohio State University, Sarge worked in retail management and marketing with the Ann Taylor Company as the visual and operations manager. Sarge was in charge of developing and executing employee incentive strategies and implementing in-store marketing.

Sarge said she brings her research and advertising experiences into the classroom to help students put the theory behind advertising messages into practice. mc




Halima Fasasi is a freshman journalism major from Arlington, Texas.
Riannon Rowley is a December 2012 electronic media and communications graduate from El Paso, Texas.
Sara Stelling is a sophomore journalism major from Houston.
David Vaughn is a junior university studies major from Spur, Texas.


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