InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Monday, April 23, 2012

University Libraries Shines Spotlight on Scholarship in New Exhibit Series

The University Libraries recently introduced a new series, “Spotlight on Scholarship,” that will highlight the scholarly output of one academic department each semester.

Communication and Theatre Arts was the first department chosen to be in the spotlight. Traditional research and creative works produced by faculty members over the past 10 years have been featured this month in an exhibit in the Learning Commons at Perry Library (see photos below).

A bibliography of recent works for each full-time faculty member is included in the exhibit, along with posters from theater and dance events, books and book chapters by faculty authors, fliers and journal article covers. The materials will be on display through Monday, April 30.

The University Libraries hosted a reception for the department on March 30. Following a welcome by Virginia O’Herron, university librarian, five faculty members from the department discussed their recent work.


Department chair Gary Edgerton gave opening remarks and introduced his colleagues. He talked about the variety of research styles in the department and spoke briefly about his “Mad Men: Dream Come True TV” book and his latest book, “Westerns: The Essential Collection,” which he co-edited.

Thomas Socha discussed his early, ground-breaking research on parent-child communication and communication in black, white and biracial families, noting that he is also interested in intercultural collaborations and the role of happiness in family communications. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Family Communication at ODU and serves as graduate program director for the new M.A. program in Lifespan and Digital Communication.

Burton St. John, introduced by Edgerton as someone bringing a journalism and PR dimension to the department, also spoke. He has published a lot in the past few years, including a new book he co-edited, titled “News with a View: Essays on the Eclipse of Objectivity in Modern Journalism.” His interests are in public journalism and strains between journalism and public relations.

Avi Santo, whose upcoming book, “Selling the Silver Bullet,” is about branding the Lone Ranger, commented on the respect among colleagues in the department and how well they work together and share ideas. He is involved in the establishment and development of MediaCommons, a community network for scholars, students and practitioners in media studies to promote the exploration of new forms of publishing within the field.

Jenifer Alonzo, who has a costuming and experimental theater background, discussed her Science Alliance Live project, which combines her interests in biology and theater. She does fun theater work with children and is looking to the National Science Foundation for funding future projects. Science Alliance Live events combine innovative interactive theater, hands-on science activities, and online games and simulations to promote scientific literacy in an inclusive, family-friendly environment.

The next Spotlight on Scholarship will be in November. An announcement will be made closer to the opening of the exhibit regarding the department to be featured.

Photos by Chuck Thomas

Burton St. John

Jenifer Alonzo

Tom Socha

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