By: Gina Carfagno
Dr. Gwyneth Mellinger is a new professor at Xavier University and the new Head of Deaprtment for Communication Arts.The Newswire sat down with Dr. Mellinger to learn more about her.
Xavier Newswire: What brought you to Xavier?
Gwyneth Mellinger: The opportunity to develop curriculum and other programs at a university committed to the liberal arts and to interdisciplinary study. I also was attracted to the university’s commitment to social justice and the expectation that ethical considerations be incorporated into every class.
XN: As the new department chair, what ideas and innovations do you have for the department?
GM: At this point, I am beginning a conversation with my faculty colleagues about the future of the department. We hope to develop a shared vision that will take into account the academic and professional needs of our students, who are spread across four majors. After we lay the foundation for this discussion, I would like to schedule meetings with students as well.
NW: What inspires you about Communication, why should students study Communication?
GM: I’m personally attracted to the discipline because of its potential to make a difference in the world. No matter what path we choose, communication and its impact, for better or worse, are relevant concerns. At the heart of the study of any area of communication is a recognition that words and deeds matter and that communicators are accountable. I also appreciate the versatility of the discipline. While we may be concerned with the production of advertising and measuring audience responses to various media, we also are interested in the ethics of public relations, the effectiveness of organizational communication, and the documentary film as a vehicle for social change.
NW: What do you want students to know about you?
GM: I was a distracted student in my first two years of college and was fairly ambivalent about my coursework. Between my sophomore and junior years, I had an academic epiphany and became a serious A student. I was inspired, in part, by a professor who made time for me. As a result, I believe that faculty accessibility is an extremely important ingredient in college success.
NW: What do you do outside of class?
GM: Read and travel, mostly. My husband and I have kayaks and are anxious to explore the rivers near Cincinnati.
NW: Are you heading up any clubs or groups at Xavier?
GM: Stay tuned for announcements from the department this fall.
NW: Where do you see the department in 10 years?
GM: That will be determined in a collaborative way by faculty in the department. However, I would anticipate that our department will affirm a commitment to preparing Communication Arts students for professions and graduate study that emphasize the relationship between communication and technology.