Teaching Experience

Cindy in labStudents should emerge from a university education with an innovative spirit and the ability to think critically. In the journalism and mass communication discipline, this translates to broadly preparing graduates to participate in a digital media future. To best prepare students for the ongoing requirements of the field, I feel it is important to integrate issues of judgment, problem-solving and social relevance, in conjunction with technology skills. I also feel that an instructor must constantly innovate, assess and modify teaching techniques and update his or her own competencies.

My teaching platform focuses on developing confidence and fostering creativity in students in several areas:

  • weaving online skills with concepts, and emphasizing a communications context for technology
  • an emphasis on data and coding techniques
  • experiential learning projects that assimilate classroom learning and bring students in direct contact with professionals
  • recognition of issues of gender and technology - both the opportunities in advancing students' digital skills in a discipline with a high percentage of females and recognizing the ways in which women are portrayed in tech culture and media
  • emphasis on networking and community engagement

The links below and throughout this site provide examples of courses and projects that demonstrate the elements of my teaching platform.

Texas State University
Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 2016-present
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 2011-2016
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 2006-2011

Experiential Learning Projects - Outside learning experiences can provide the opportunity to reflect upon and assimilate classroom exercises, and social media tools offer efficient and cost-effective ways to publish work associated with experiential projects. Two such activities are highlighted below. Each of these projects integrates the physical and virtual in meaningful ways, allowing students to network with professionals and industry leaders and to be exposed to cutting-edge tools and topics – using web design & development, social media strategy and other current communication platforms – while engaging with them at the same time.

  • Jon and LewisSouth By Texas State - students provide coverage before and during the annual South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin. We have covered the event since 2008.
  • Texas State Mass Comm Week - several classes work to cover our annual Mass Comm Week with articles, interviews and live video streams. This four-day event features speakers, panels and interviews with professionals across the mass communication and online media realms. Notable guests over the years have included Brian Stelter and Jacqui Maher of New York Times, Pulitzer-prize winner and University of Nebraska professor Matt Waite (formerly of Politifact), Gary Vaynerchuk (social media expert), Burnie Burns of Red vs. Blue, Internet pioneer Bob Metcalfe, Nakia of NBC's The Voice, former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith and more. In 2007, I launched the social media presence of Mass Comm Week, and in 2011 and 2012, I was the chair of the committee organizing the event.

Virginia Commonwealth University
Assistant Professor, School of Mass Communications, August 2005-June 2006

  • Media Graphics
  • Web Site Design
  • Communication Technology and Global Society

University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Instructor
August 2000 - August 2005

  • Journalism Web Publishing Course
  • STS Information Technology and Social Life Course
  • TLC Intro. to Web Development Course
  • Advised student project Freedom of Information Web site that accompanied printed paper
  • Advised student project Texas Journalist: Focus East Austin that accompanied printed paper
  • Advised student project The Convergent in conjunction with Advanced Photojournalism course
  • Developed Final Project Showcase - Longhorn Life