Four faculty members earn promotions in 2000-2001
As the Schools faculty numbers continue to grow, several current members also have earned new credentials. Four faculty members in the School received promotions in the 2000-2001 academic year: Associate professor Jan Yopp became a full professor and assistant professors Deb Aikat, Carol Pardun and Lucila Vargas became associate professors.
Jan Johnson Yopp is associate dean and a professor in the School. She graduated from UNC-CH with a bachelors degree in 1970 and received her masters degree in 1971 from the University of Florida. She has taught at the School since 1977.
Prior to joining the faculty, Yopp was a reporter and assistant city editor for The Raleigh Times. She also was media relations specialist for Wachovia Bank in Winston-Salem and public relations director for a Durham advertising agency. She wrote a weekly column, "Life with Kids," for the Herald-Sun newspaper in Durham for three years. She has written freelance articles for numerous newspapers and magazines and consulted with organizations about how to improve their media relations.
In the School, Yopp teaches newswriting, reporting, and public relations writing. She coordinated all newswriting classes for 10 years. She has served as faculty adviser to the Carolina Association of Black Journalists and director of the Freedom Forum Rainbow Institute. She has written two books, including Reaching Audiences: A Guide to Media Writing, which is in its second edition and published by Allyn & Bacon. She also has a contract to write a book about local reporting.
In 1995 she won the Schools David Brinkley Teaching-Excellence Award and the Favorite Faculty Award from the senior class, the General Alumni Association and the Division of Student Affairs.
For the past two years, she has coordinated the Hearst competition and advised the School publications. She also served as member and co-chair of the Faculty Legislative Liaison Committee that worked for a number of years to get higher faculty salaries and graduate student benefits at the University.
Debashis "Deb" Aikat is media futurist and associate professor in the School. He created and teaches JOMC 50, "Electronic Information Services." The class, which was adopted as a required course for all JOMC majors in 1996, covers Internet publishing, online research, CD-ROMs, electronic databases and the Web.
A native of India, Aikat earned a bachelors with honors in English literature from the University of Calcutta in 1984. He continued his studies there, receiving a masters in journalism in 1990. He then worked as a practicing journalist, reporting in India for The Telegraph newspaper and BBC World Service before coming to the United States. He earned his doctorate in mass communication and journalism at Ohio University in 1995, writing a dissertation about information content on the Internet that was among the first studies of its kind in the field.
Since joining the School in 1995, Aikat has won seven teaching awards, including a Superlative Favorite Faculty Award for the past three years. He also won this years David Brinkley Teaching Excellence Award, the highest teaching honor in the School.
His current research involves teaching classes through distance learning via the Internet. Since 1997, Aikat has developed and taught the Universitys first distance learning course in journalism, JOMC 191, "Introduction to Internet Issues and Concepts." In addition to teaching, Aikat is also the founding faculty adviser of The Fifth Estate, the Universitys student-run online publication that supplements classroom curriculum with a technologically rich real-world reporting and editing experience.
Carol Pardun is an associate professor of public relations and advertising. She came to the School in 1997 after teaching for five years at Kansas State University. She earned her bachelors and masters degrees at Wheaton College and completed her doctorate at the University of Georgia in 1992.
Prior to entering academia, Pardun worked as a copywriter for The Puckett Group, as an editor for Christian Financial Concepts, and as a freelance writer and graphic designer for several clients in the Atlanta area.
Parduns current research interests include images on music videos, product placements in television and film, and the relationship of magazine advertising and corporate Web sites. She recently received, along with Professor Jane Brown, a $2.6 million National Institute of Health grant to study the mass media and adolescent health.
Pardun has published articles in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Communication Reports, Youth & Society, Journal of Internet Research, and Public Relations Review. She currently serves as the editor of Mass Communication & Society, published by Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates.
Lucila Vargas is an associate professor focusing on international communication and feminist and minority issues in mass communication. She earned a Licenciatura en Filosofia at the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua in 1982. She went on to complete her graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a masters in Latin American studies in 1987 and a doctorate in international communication in 1992.
Vargas joined the faculty at UNC-CH in 1994, after teaching in the School of Mass Communication at Bowling Green State University for two years. She is currently a co-advisor in the Odum Institute Working Group on Girls, Media and Cultural Production with Professor Jane Brown of the School and Assistant Professor Beth Kivel of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.
Her main academic interest has been communication and social change. She draws on cultural studies and qualitative research for her teaching and research. Her book, Social Uses and Radio Practices (Westview Press, 1995), and other publications pay special attention to the role of the media and communication in the reproduction of social distinctions such as class, gender, race and ethnicity. Her work has been published in Fem, The Howard Journal of Communication, The Urban Review, Social Education and Critical Studies in Mass Communication.
Cyndi Soter is a first-year master's student in the professional sequence.