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New and promoted faculty named

As the beginning of the 2011–2012 academic year approaches, Emerson announces a number of faculty promotions as well as the addition of 15 new full-time faculty members.

“The new faculty are a great group,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Moore. “They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will complement the good work of the faculty they are joining.”

Emerson's new 2011-2012 faculty are pictured with President Lee Pelton. (Not pictured are Angela Cooke Jackson, Tim Riley, and Nicole Files-Thompson.)

The faculty promotions follow:

Daniel Gaucher of Visual and Media Arts was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Roger House of Journalism was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Scott LaFeber, associate professor of performing arts, was awarded tenure.

Paul Niwa of Journalism was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Scott Pinkney of Performing Arts was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Jan Roberts-Breslin of Visual and Media Arts was promoted to full professor.

Lauren Shaw of Visual and Media Arts was promoted to full professor.

Mako Yoshikawa of Writing, Literature and Publishing was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

The new full-time faculty for 2011–2012 follow:

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Elaine Geller joins the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department as a visiting professor. Her expertise is in child language acquisition, language disorders in children (with a particular interest in autism spectrum disorders), multiculturalism, and clinical education and supervision. Her research interests involve integrating relational and reflective clinical practice into speech-language pathology. She has several recent articles in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Infant Mental Health Journal, and Zero to Three. She has lectured at the local, state, and national levels in these areas.

Scholar-in-Residence Toni Walters joins Emerson following an academic appointment at the University of the District of Columbia, where she taught in the area of child language development and child language disorders. Her current research is in the area of literacy and school-age language.

Communication Studies

Assistant Professor Angela Cooke Jackson’s research and teaching interests focus on the links between interpersonal relationships, culture, and health among underserved and disparate populations. She has served on a number of research grants and worked as a Health Communication Contractor for the Department of Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her recent co-authored article (Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 2008) and book chapter focuses on Appalachian culture, reality television and hillbilly stereotypes in entertainment media.

Nicole Files-Thompson, Scholar-in-Residence in the Communication Studies Department, comes to Emerson on the heels of completing her coursework at Howard University, where she is pursuing her PhD in mass communications and media studies with a concentration in women’s studies. Her research focuses on theoretical concerns of empowerment for African American women in popular culture and society. Besides her academic experiences, she also worked in production on a variety of television shows, ranging from Showtime @ the Apollo, to the Democratic National Convention and Lifetime’s Get Married.

Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

Nancy Hiemstra joins the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies as a scholar-in-residence. Hiemstra is a political geographer with research interests in global migration, migration policy-making, processes of racialization, Latin America, and feminist methodologies. Through extensive fieldwork in Ecuador, her dissertation examined U.S. migrant detention and deportation practices and the embodied consequences of immigration enforcement policies in countries of migrant origin.

New Scholar-in-Residence Yasser Munif was born in Damascus and has lived and worked in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris. In 2011, he received his PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He wrote his dissertation about the impact of urban renewal on Afro-French youths living in a poor Parisian suburb. His research focuses on the role of French colonial planning on postcolonial urban renewal. His teaching interests include critical race theory, urban studies, nationalism, political economy, and the history of the modern Middle East and North Africa.


Assistant Professor Tim Riley is a National Public Radio music critic and has written for the Washington Post, Newsweek, Boston Magazine and many other publications. He is the author of Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary (Knopf/Vintage, 1988); Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary (Knopf/Vintage, 1992, Da Capo,1999); Madonna: Illustrated (Hyperion, 1992); Fever: How Rock 'N' Roll Transformed Gender In America (St. Martin's/Picador, 2005). He recently completed a major new John Lennon biography for W.W. Norton, which will appear this fall. He has lectured widely on censorship in the arts and rock history, and was Brown University's Critic In Residence in 2008.

Journalist-in-Residence Cindy E. Rodríguez is an award-winning journalist, instructor, blogger, social media strategist, and web content creator whose career spans 20 years. During her career, she specialized in race relations and cultural affairs at The Detroit News; wrote provocative columns on the intersection of culture and politics for The Denver Post, where she also wrote a widely read blog on social issues; and covered immigration and demographics at The Boston Globe. She has been published in The New York Times,, The Village Voice, Latina Magazine, and several other publications.

Journalist-in-Residence Doug Struck was a reporter for more than 30 years at the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and other newspapers. He has extensive foreign reporting experience, and served as bureau chief in the Middle East, Asia and Canada. He reported extensively from Iraq for over 16 years, and covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the West Bank, East Timor, and the southern Philippines. He reported from all 50 states, six continents, and developed a specialty in global warming reporting. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2003-2004, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2002, and a fellow in Asian Studies at George Washington University in 1998-1999.

Marketing Communication

Judith Pfeffer joins the Department of Marketing Communication as executive-in-residence. Her background includes hands-on work in newspapers, magazines, and public relations. She previously taught at four community colleges in her native Southern California. She is also a creative writer and in recent years has earned awards in that arena as well as for journalistic and other nonfiction work.

Paul Mihailidis is an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing Communication and director of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. Mihailidis’s research concerns the connections between media, education, and citizenship in the 21st century. He has published widely on media literacy, global media, and digital citizenship. He is the editor of the forthcoming News Literacy: Global Perspectives for the Newsroom and Classroom (Peter Lang) and co-author of The Media Literacy Project (Pearson).

Performing Arts

Stage and Production Manager-in-Residence Debra Acquavella’s career spans more than 25 years on Broadway, off Broadway, and regionally. On Broadway, she was production stage manager for the year-long run of the Tony Award-winning Metamorphoses, stage manager of Master Harold…and the boys (starring Danny Glover), and Jane Eyre, The Musical directed by John Caird. She comes to Emerson after four seasons as resident stage manager of Baltimore’s Centerstage and continues to work professionally with Contemporary American Theatre Festival, a new play festival performed in rotating repertory, among others locally and abroad.

Visual and Media Arts

Jim Taylor is Emerson’s new Jane and Terry Semel Chair in Screenwriting. He has been a screenwriter for 20 years, primarily as a collaborator with writer/director Alexander Payne. Among the screenplays they have co-authored are Election, About Schmidt, and Sideways. Payne and Taylor have been honored for their work with two Writers Guild Awards and one Academy Award. In 2005, Jim Taylor formed the production company Ad Hominem Enterprises with partners Jim Burke and Alexander Payne. The team has produced or executive-produced The Savages, Cedar Rapids, and The Descendants.

Distinguished Director-in-Residence Theodore Regge Life’s ethnographic documentaries on Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean have won international praise. His documentaries are part of the permanent collections of more than 800 schools and libraries. After serving as an NEA Creative Artist Fellow in Japan, he went on to produce an award-winning trilogy of films, Struggle and Success: The African American Experience in Japan, Doubles: Japan and America’s Intercultural Children, and After America…After Japan. Currently in development is Cocktail Party, adapted from the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel of the same title, which details the complicated and often-tragic relationship between the U.S. military stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and the local residents.

Writing, Literature and Publishing

Lecturer Mary Kovaleski Byrnes writes poetry, nonfiction, travel narrative, and essays with interests including migration, identity, international education, urban literacy, and Andalucían poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including the Minnetonka Review, the Squaw Valley Review, and Silk Road, and her travel narratives appear regularly on’s “Passport.” She is the co-coordinator for EmersonWRITES, a free creative writing program for Boston Public high school students.

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