UF College of Journalism and Communications announces unprecedented expansion

New investigative reporting faculty position named after College alumnus killed in Capital Gazette shooting

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The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has announced the addition of 15 new full-time faculty members, an expansion of faculty ranks that is believed to be unprecedented in the field.

Included among the new positions is the Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer in Narrative Nonfiction. Both Connelly, a best-selling author, and his wife are alumni of the College.

The Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting was partially funded by an anonymous donor in memory of the CJC alumnus who was killed on June 28 in the Capital Gazette shooting. 

New journalism lecturer Joanna Hernandez also will fill the College's new position of director of inclusion and diversity, where she will be responsible for evaluating the College's climate, diversity and inclusiveness on an ongoing basis and recommend strategies and tactics for a more inclusive culture.

The College is expanding from 53 to 68 faculty members, including 44 research faculty and 24 professional faculty, in addition to 21 professionals working in its immersion venues. 

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to expand our world-class programs while contributing to the University of Florida's push toward preeminence by reducing class size, improving student-teacher ratios and advancing our research," Dean Diane McFarlin said. "At the same time, our students will have opportunities to learn by doing under the guidance of some of the country's top professionals."

Following is the list of new faculty by department:

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  • Benjamin Johnson, assistant professor. Dr. Johnson previously was an assistant professor in communication science at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. His research focus includes consumer psychology, media psychology and effects and social media.
  • Bienvenido Torres, lecturer. Torres has been a guest lecturer since 2015 and previously was a copywriter at Leo Burnett.
  • Kasey Windels, assistant professor. Dr. Windels previously was an associate professor at Louisiana State University Manship School of Mass Communication. Her research focus includes creative leadership and strategy, digital and mobile media communication and consumer insights.
  • Dan Windels, formerly a lead brand strategist and market researcher at Baton Rouge-based Covalent Logic, will join the department as visiting lecturer for 2017-18.

Journalism

  • Cynthia Barnett, environmental journalist-in-residence. An award-winning author and environmental journalist, Barnett has been a Hearst Visiting Professional since 2015. Her position is a joint appointment with UF's Bob Graham Center for Public Service.
  • Moni Basu, Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer for Narrative Nonfiction. Basu has been an award-winning journalist for 30 years, most recently as senior writer for CNN Digital's Enterprise Team.
  • Ted Bridis, Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting. Bridis most recently was editor of the Associated Press' Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington investigative team and was AP's leading expert on security practices for source-protection and on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and related laws.
  • Joanna Hernandez, lecturer and CJC Director of Inclusion and Diversity. Veteran journalist Joanna Hernandez previously was founding director of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's diversity initiatives.

Public Relations

  • Natalie Asorey, lecturer. Asorey previously was head of social media at BODEN and led the agency's award-winning social listening practice Escucha.
  • Myiah Hutchens, assistant professor. Dr. Hutchens previously was an assistant professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Her research focus includes communication technology, media psychology and political communication.
  • Mickey Nall, professional-in-residence. Nall is a 30-year public relations veteran, most recently as managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in Atlanta. He was a visiting professional at the College in 2016-17.
  • Former Burson-Marsteller Worldwide Vice Chair and Chief Client Officer Pat Ford will return as Visiting Professional-in-Residence for 2018-19.

Telecommunication

  • Roxane Coche, assistant professor. Dr. Coche previously was an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Memphis. Her research focus includes international and intercultural communication, social issues in sports and gender issues in media content.
  • Andrew Selepak, lecturer. Dr. Selepak has been an adjunct instructor in the Telecommunication Department since 2011.  He is also the program director for the College's online Master's with specialization in Social Media.
  • Jieun Shin, assistant professor. Dr. Shin formerly was a journalist in Korea and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California Center for Applied Network Analysis in the Department of Preventive Medicine. 
  • Iman Zawahry, lecturer. Zawahry is an award-winning filmmaker and TV programming consultant and director of the Islamic Scholarship Fund film grant program. She has been an adjunct professor since 2014.

The Agency

  • Jim Harrison, creative director. Harrison has been creative director for the College's strategic communication agency since 2016 and has added teaching to his responsibilities. Previously, he was senior creative director for the University of Florida.

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