2010 Election: Meet the Candidates

Andrea Ellis – candidate for at-large director

Training & Outreach Specialist, Arlington Independent Media

My first experience with NAMLE was when it was the Alliance for a Media Literate America.As now, I was very excited to learn that there were others out there who felt as strongly about this area of focus as I did. I joined as a member and got involved on the periphery of the organization, assisting with various responsibilities as my schedule allowed. Now I am at a point where I can commit more time and energy to this endeavor. Time has also allowed me to bring more layered expertise in non-profit management, media production, and educational development.

I am interested in helping NAMLE, and media literacy education in general, become common words in households across the United States. As many of you know, the general public still
does not have a clear idea of this concept called media literacy, if they have heard of it at all. I would like to work with the NAMLE Board and its members to further our reach both within educational institutions and the general public.

Currently I work as the Training & Outreach Specialist for Arlington Independent Media, which is a public access television station. There are national conversations happening now about community media and public media and their continued sustainability in the United States. And I believe that there is opportunity and space in those conversations to insert the undeniable importance of media literacy education.

If chosen as a NAMLE Board Member this year, I am willing to commit my time and expertise to being an effective and active asset to the organization. Thank you for your consideration.

Kathleen M. Clarke-Pearson, MD FAAP – candidate for at-large director

General Pediatrician, American Academy of Pediatrics

I welcome the opportunity to serve on the NAMLE Board. As a pediatrician, I believe that I can bring the voice of my pediatric colleagues to the media literacy table as a NAMLE Board member. I am currently a member of the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Media and Communications and I embrace the opportunity to work with NAMLE to promote what both organizations advocate for: getting media literacy education concepts into families struggling with overuse of all screens and the expanding media landscape. I also serve as the chair of the North Carolina Pediatric Society’s Committee on Media. We are a group of mediatricians who work across our state to promulgate the importance of engaging pediatricians in communicating with parents about media education during well child care visits.

I feel strongly about the importance of getting my AAP and NAMLE and other media literacy advocacy groups to collaborate together to have a stronger national voice and presence about media domination of children of all ages. It is always to important to acknowledge the amazing resources that the internet/current screens offer but it is equally important to help parents navigate and balance screen use on the home front.

I appreciate the opportunity to be considered for this NAMLE Board position.

Sherri Hope Culver – candidate for president

Assistant Professor, Temple University

A commitment to media that educates and entertains has been a core thread of my career. I’ve been working in broadcast media for over twenty-five years, but it’s during the past eight that I have focused passionately on using media to enhance an appreciation of diversity and cross-cultural understanding, particularly for children. I believe that any discussion of media and children must acknowledge the pervasive extent of media in our culture and the need for children to develop strong critical thinking skills, leading to their media literacy. That passion is what first brought me to NAMLE and it’s what compels me to run for a second term as president.

Currently, I serve as Director of the Media Education Lab at Temple University and as Assistant Professor in the Department of Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media. My research with the Lab and on the faculty is balanced with an extensive background in commercial and public television as both a senior executive and producer. I’ve served in several leadership roles in public broadcasting, including General Manager of WYBE Public Television in Philadelphia and as a consultant with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I hold a masters degree in Public Culture from the University of Pennsylvania.

I’ve served on the board of NAMLE for four years: the last two as president. During that time, I’ve had an opportunity to learn about the organization from the inside: its opportunities and its challenges. I’ve served as chair of the Development Committee, served on the committee for the national conference and lead the committee that ultimately recommended a change in the name of the organization, to the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

I am interested in serving another term as President of NAMLE because I can see what is possible for the field of media literacy education with a strong, effective national membership organization. I am eager to share my experience in executive media management, public broadcasting, government advocacy, and visibility strengthening to help NAMLE reach its mission. As I look over the goals the board drafted at our annual retreat, I see many connections to my experiences in public broadcasting and on previous boards. I understand the responsibility and the need for a board president who is active and committed and can create an environment for collaboration with our members and all individuals interested in media literacy education. In my service on other nonprofit boards, I have held positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Visibility Committee Chair, and Campaign Leadership Chair. I have also facilitated Strategic Planning and drafted the Plans themselves.

Articulating a vision for NAMLE is something that, I believe, requires input from the board and other thought leaders in the field. However, I do see a vision for NAMLE in which the organization is at the forefront of bringing media literacy education to all environments that connect with young people; in school, after school, and in the media they (and we) consume. NAMLE should be seen as the lead organization for media literacy education in the US and its strongest advocate and should work to serve the needs of its members with every action.

Mark Hannah – candidate for at-large director

Director of Academic Communications, Parsons the New School for Design

This is an opportune time to be promoting media literacy education. Current trends such as the proliferation of mobile media, the diversification of traditional media, and educational innovation place media literacy at a critical juncture.

The widespread integration of mobile and online media into almost every aspect of American life affords numerous personal conveniences and professional efficiencies. But it also brings new concerns about privacy and safety, particularly in regard to children’s use, and unforeseen dangers like cyber-bullying and “textual harassment.” This applies tremendous urgency to the mission of media literacy movement.

The “niche-ification” of television and print media and the rapidly changing media landscape have spurred public interest in media consumption and creation. Outlets like IFC and Comedy Central’s Daily Show have turned their attention to media criticism, if not going so far as to take on media literacy education as a cause outright. Organizations like the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also expressed a formal interest in media literacy education.

Traditional components of the public education system are currently being interrogated on a national level. Policymakers have demonstrated an openness to innovative ideas about how we should best educate students, and what emerging skill sets they’ll need to succeed.

The National Association for Media Literacy is well positioned to seize upon these trends. To do so, it will need to focus its vision, advocacy operation and message strategy so that its core objective – the proliferation of media literacy education – can be achieved. NAMLE’s mission is to “ensure that all people have the skills needed to critically analyze and create messages using the wide variety of communication tools now available.” This is intentionally broad. Moving forward, NAMLE will need to continue to work with its membership to create more short-term, measurable and realistic objectives that will feed this more overarching mission.

NAMLE’s current board of directors is comprised largely of media literacy education scholars, which lends tremendous credibility and thought-leadership to the organization. While I maintain an academic interest in the topic, I’m a communications professional and think that my unique skill set would allow me to contribute to – and diversify – the perspective of the organization. Having written my master’s thesis on NAMLE, I’m intimately familiar with the communications challenges of the media literacy movement generally, and those of NAMLE specifically. I’ve provided recommendations to the organization’s board in the recent past, and am eager to further explore ways of intelligently promoting NAMLE’s important mission.

I’m able to fully commit the time and energy necessary in this pursuit. And I believe fully in the premise and the purpose of NAMLE. As I commented in a blog post on PBS.org*, “The Millennial generation has tools at its disposal that empower its members to become citizen journalists and create and experience media in ways previous generations couldn’t imagine, let alone develop curricula for.” I’d like to work with NAMLE to fully take advantage of the current media climate to promote our core mission.

Timothy J. Oldakowski – candidate for at-large director

Online Program Coordinator/Graduate Student, University of Pittsburgh

My name is Tim Oldakowski and I’ve been a member of NAMLE (previously AMLA) since 2001. I originally became involved with the organization while I was teaching high school media courses in Orlando, Florida because I felt that as an educator who was creating his own curriculum I needed to keep up to date on relevant media literacy sources. Since then I have entered and am soon to complete a doctorate program in English and Communications Education. In this time, I have found NAMLE to be so much more than a repository of sources as how I first approached it. As I have evolved so has NAMLE. Whether I am networking with individuals who have much experience in media literacy education (MLE) or working with first time conference attendees, I have found that NAMLE to be a constructivist approach to staying up to date with learning about MLE. While other educational organizations exist, none is so specialized. NAMLE is about people connecting ideas, be they research based or practice-oriented. Being a member of NAMLE enables constant connectivity to the ever-changing world of MLE.

In working with NAMLE, it will be my goal to assist in the planning of the biennial conference. Twice I have been a proposal reviewer but I would like to take an ever more active approach so that we can represent the ever-growing field of MLE and provide opportunities for all to engage and interact as we share our experiences. I have always been an organized planner and initiator, and these are the skills that I can bring to the organization. I am also quite enthusiastic about issues in which I believe, and I think that my enthusiasm towards expanding NAMLE can be infectious.

I have always been able to connect with people and as a board member it is my intent to help the organization grow. I was fortunate enough to twice bring students to the NAMLE conference and was impressed with their involvement in the Modern Media Makers Production Camp. I plan as a future college instructor to always incorporate media literacy in my teaching. I have influenced both pre-service and certified teachers and inspired them to become more critically aware of texts that surround them.

I am interested in working on multiple committees, such as Communications and Programs. One of my biggest goals is to see attendance increase at the NAMLE conference. I feel that there are many people, educators included, who can benefit from such a conference. As a board member, I hope to continue to grow as a media educator but to also influence and inspire future generations of individuals, no matter what their field. I hope to share my positive experiences, knowledge and thirst for MLE with current and new members of NAMLE.

Cindy Pulley – candidate for secretary

Project Development Specialist, University of Missouri St. Louis

I am committed to furthering the idea that media literacy is more than just reading and writing text. Ninety percent of the meaning we obtain in today’s multi-media world comes to us in a multimedia format, with audio, textual and visual converging in our digital environments. It is critical that all gain skills to be active participants and collaborators in understanding knowledge, building meaning, and disseminating information.

I have been involved in media literacy for over 20 years, as a journalist, as an English/Journalism teacher, as a university instructor teaching communication, and as a program specialist deploying media education for health literacy purposes and marketing in K-12 schools in Missouri. I have been named the Missouri College Media Adviser of the year and I have been on the NAMLE board for the past two years. In addition, I am working on PhD in Education, focusing on digital literacy and rhetoric. I also serve on the board for the Gateway Media Literacy Partners.

My skills are varied and appropriate for this organization. I have taught graphic design and media courses, and because I have been a public school teacher, the experience gives me credibility with the very population we are targeting for membership-people who have direct responsibility for media education and dissemination.

I have written over $14 million in successful in grant proposals, and I manage grants and develop curriculum and programs that are deployed in schools, youth groups, charter and private schools.

Media literacy is a critical skill for today’s public. That need crosses all age groups-from pre-school to senior citizens. Asking the right questions. It is not enough to be able to ask the critical questions as to who created the message and why-media education needs to include learning to produce messages that all ideas may be available through the current social media that is consumed by the public everyday.

NAMLE is the only organization committed to the training of the those that train the public in media literacy. While the main thrust for our training efforts is probably the schoolteacher, it is not limited to a specific discipline or setting. As mentioned earlier, NAMLE serves as a conduit and convergence point for all that want to increase the means for dialogue in a digital world where not only knowledge is power-the power to create and disseminate information in all the media forms using multiple literacies is critical that for inclusive and problem-solving communication.

Erin Reilly – candidate for at-large director

Research Director USC / New Media Literacies

We are in a paradigm shift in education. This shift changes the focus of literacy from individual expression to community involvement where creativity and active participation are the hallmark. And it makes it increasingly important to understand and be competent in the skills of citizenship, art, and expression of social connectivity. As educators, we need to work in the gap between life and school.

My vision for NAMLE is to encourage a blurring of the boundaries between “formal” and “informal” learning. Lying outside these boundaries are the spontaneous, interest-driven activities young people pursue during their free time. These activities are fueled by a passion and an excitement that any teacher would love to see in the classroom. Young people learn negotiation skills as they move between communities with differing social norms, for instance; they learn to think of themselves as authors when they write and critique fan fiction. Students’ interest-driven practices can illuminate and inform what is taught in both formal and informal classrooms, and classroom content can help learners apply new knowledge to their own interest-driven experiences.

In a world in which the line between consumers and producers is blurring, young people are finding themselves in situations that no one would have anticipated a decade or two ago. Their writing is much more open to the public and can have more far-reaching consequences. The young people are creating new modes of expression that are poorly understood by adults, and as a result they receive little to no guidance or supervision. The ethical implications of these emerging practices are fuzzy and ill-defined; yet it is too easy to talk about “media effects”. Rather, we need to embrace an approach based on media ethics, one that empowers young people to take greater responsibility for their own actions and holds them accountable for the choices they make as media producers or as members of online communities.

To encourage this vision, we need for adults and young people alike to both make and reflect upon media and in the process, acquire important skills in teamwork, leadership, problem solving, collaboration, brainstorming, communications, and creating projects.

As Research Director of Project New Media Literacies, my goal if I were to be chosen as a Board of Director for NAMLE would be to bring my knowledge and research to the organizations’ programs and mission. Having co-founded a non-profit organization in the past, I have extensive experience on the process of visioning, managing, and facilitating a non-profit organization and know that the heart of an organization is to encourage the volunteers and members of the organization to stay vested to the mission in order for NAMLE to continue to do great work. Also, having worked closely with the K12 sector throughout my career, I would hope to make connections to other organizations (such as ISTE, SITE, CoSN, etc) that see the importance of media literacy across disciplines and know the importance of bringing experts in the media literacy field to the table when making decisions on the future of education.

Annelise Wunderlich – candidate for at-large director

National Community Engagement and Education Manager, The Independent Television Service (ITVS)

My vision for NAMLE as a national educational organization is to strive for greater connectivity, inclusion and innovation. In my work as a documentary filmmaker and managing educational outreach for the PBS series Independent Lens, I’ve had the privilege of meeting thousands of educators around the country who are dedicated to helping students interpret and mediate the barrage of media that surrounds them. Many of the creative teachers, media producers, and educational game developers who I meet may be doing great things to promote media awareness and skills, but aren’t aware that a framework and community network exist to help their work have far greater reach and impact. Too many of them work in isolation without much support from their administration or academic community to implement and sustain new ways of teaching media literacy for the 21st Century.

NAMLE is uniquely positioned to bring people together and create platforms to share our stories and teaching strategies. My goal as a NAMLE Board Director would be to connect more of these innovative thinkers and share their ideas and inspirations in exciting new ways.

As National Community Engagement and Education manager for the Independent Television Service (ITVS), I produce a program called “Community Classroom.” In this role, I work closely with independent media makers to create curriculum for educators that is designed to help students analyze the films and decipher their meanings. These resources also provide opportunities for students to go beyond the classroom and find similar stories in their own communities. The goal of the program is to bring PBS programming outside of its core audience- typically older, white, affluent viewers – and into the lives of younger, more diverse viewers who we hope will be inspired to share their own stories within public media. Another key goal is to encourage young people to explore other cultures and countries in the global community. I believe this mission is closely aligned with one of NAMLE’s core principles: developing informed, reflective and engaged participants essential for a democratic society.
I hope to bring my experience in education, filmmaking, communications and production management to the NAMLE board. I am particularly interested in drawing from my background in digital media to expand the organization’s reach and to explore new ways of engaging membership. I would like to help make the website a true destination for media literacy educators seeking new ideas and tools to help them in their work. I see great opportunities there to share resources and information, and to create new ways for people to work collaboratively online.

I would also strive to make NAMLE more accessible to a broader range of educators – as a Board Director, I’d like to undertake outreach to teachers, after school programs and youth organizations that are under-resourced and often disconnected from mainstream avenues of support. I would want to help NAMLE benefit from the wisdom and experience of educators out there in the trenches with students who are least equipped to reflect on the media that plays such a powerful role in their lives.

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