Spotlight: A Focus On Students
COM associate professor Dr. Jason Edward Black ‘has a passion for everything he does, everything he teaches and his students.
By Nathan A. Wingert
Walking into Reese Phifer room 210E, one might feel a bit overwhelmed: two bookshelves crammed with tomes on history and rhetoric, a multitude of plaques that highlight the occupant's educational and research background hang on the wall, papers litter the floor, and pictures of the occupant's family sit on a desk. Sounds like the office of a typical professor, right? While Dr. Jason Edward Black, the occupant of 210E, is a professor, he's not a typical professor; Black does more than teach.
On top of his teaching duties, Black is the undergraduate program director for the communication studies department.
"I help faculty and students to schedule classes, communicate with students via Facebook and a listserv, and help to coordinate Lambda Pi Eta, the communication studies honors society," Black said.
Black is an associate professor in the communication studies department. His areas of teaching and study include African-American studies and Native American studies. These areas of Black's research are linked to Tuscaloosa, which is why Black decided to come to UA several years ago.
"I wanted a solid program in the South with a rhetorical tradition," Black said. "Plus, the Tuscaloosa area has a historical, social and political environment that suits my work in cultural studies, especially Native heritages."
Black attended Florida State University as an undergraduate, majoring in communication studies, and attended Wake Forest for his master's degree and the University of Maryland for his doctorate.
Frank Thompson, associate professor of communication studies and the director of the Alabama Forensic Council, said that Black’s work as the undergraduate advisor helps him.
"He gives guidance for faculty for advising, such as handouts and information,” Thompson said.
Black's reputation with his colleagues is reciprocated. Black said another reason why he came to UA was the communication studies faculty.
"I knew the communication studies department at UA had a good faculty reputation,” Black said.
Boasting a passion for undergraduate student affairs, Black works on the University Scholars in Communication Studies program.
"This program is where students start taking graduate-level classes their senior year, and can get two degrees in five years, instead of six," he said.
Although students in this program often feel a little more pressure, Black enjoys working with them because they're passionate, which might reflect on Black, his job or the department.
"Jason is enthusiastic," Thompson said. "He has a passion for everything he does, everything he teaches and his students. And he approaches everything with energy and optimism."
Nathan A. Wingert is a College of Communication and Information Sciences student.