interim division chair, Division of Applied Behavioral Sciences
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati
A.B., M.S., Miami University
Jonathan Shorr's C.V. (.pdf)
I'd always just wanted to be an English teacher, but early in my career teaching junior high English, I noticed that my students were more interested in talking about Archie Bunker and The Dukes of Hazzard than about Robert Browning and Mark Twain. My epiphany was that if people get more of their information about the world through the electronic mass media than through traditional print, schools needed to recognize that shift and help students learn how to understand mediated information.
Since then, I've helped elementary school children, graduate students and parent groups develop media literacy skills. I ran a small, community access cable channel and championed public access TV in Baltimore. I still teach English, but I also teach courses about media effects, film, news and documentary, and media aesthetics. Read an excerpt from my audio drama "The Bind of Isaac."
One of the things I like most about the University of Baltimore is the ease of interdisciplinary learning. At many schools with which I'm familiar, English majors (for example) can't take journalism courses because those courses are in the College of Journalism and are off limits to arts and sciences students. They can't take graphic design courses because they're offered by the College of Art, and they can't take video and film courses because they're offered by the College of Communications.
At UB, all of those courses—as well as poetry and Web design and Shakespeare and public relations and many more—are right here in the School of Communications Design. So students can very easily pull together courses that will help them move in the communications-related direction of their choice.