Dr. Dianne Bragg Receives AJHA Teaching Award

Aug 12, 2022

Dr. Dianne Bragg, associate professor in journalism and creative media, has been selected to receive the 2022 American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA) National Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators. Bragg will receive the award during the annual AJHA national conference, which will take place September 29 through October 1 in Memphis.

Bragg attributes her teaching success to those who taught her.

“I’ve been fortunate to have many wonderful teachers in my life, including AJHA founder Dr. David Sloan, who set me on this path,” she said. “They taught me that the ‘devil is in the details,’ and I am better for it. I encourage my students to pursue topics that matter to them, and those who take that to heart often find their own passion, which makes it such a joyful journey.”

She added that the fulfillment of teaching media history is twofold.

“It combines my passions for journalism and history,” Bragg explained. “Mostly, though, it is because of how much I learn from my students. They often choose research topics on subjects I have not yet explored, and so I discover a journalist I’ve never heard of or a publication I never knew existed. And, for them and for me, looking at the past always seems to offer a more enlightened path for the future.”

Bragg’s interim department chair, Michael D. Bruce, praised Bragg for her passion for teaching and student success.

“Dianne devotes an enormous amount of time coaxing and mentoring students into media historians, at least for the semester,” he said.

Her colleague Chris Roberts said he has worked with her on several history-focused theses.

“She has an extraordinary ability to guide students through the long process from half-formed idea to finished thesis,” he said. “Between theses and term papers, her students have created work that has been presented (and won awards) at many regional and national academic conferences—another testament to her skill.”

Rebecca Robinson, one of the students whose thesis Bragg directed, also worked as a graduate assistant under Bragg.

“She truly engages her students in the subjects she teaches, whether it is a freshman in an introduction course or a senior in her (very rigorous) media law class,” Robinson said. “Her extensive knowledge of mass communication and journalism history makes any class she teaches an absolute joy to take.”

Bragg earned her doctorate from The University of Alabama and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Memphis. She has won numerous awards for her research and teaching, including second place best faculty paper and the Jean Palmegiano Award, both from AJHA.

Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society. For more information on AJHA, visit http://www.ajhaonline.org.

This story was originally published by the American Journalism Historians Association.