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The faculty in the Department of Communications Media provides students with a variety of resources. Following is a list of faculty members within the Department of Communications Media who are approved to teach courses at the doctoral level.

Luis Almeida, PhD in Instructional Systems

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Almeida is an experienced technologist whose primarily area of research is to bring awareness about the responsible use of computing for instruction and productivity in education and society. As a pragmatist, he takes pride in helping students to understand “what it takes” to make it in the real world by combining inquiry, creative problem solving, and leadership techniques. Dr. “A” is a one-of-a kind person—an award-winning academic with articles published in three continents, TEDx and conference keynote speaker, certified “Class A” master teaching golf professional, and business entrepreneur. Dr. Almeida is currently the department’s assistant chair of Communication Media.      

Oscar Guerra, PhD in Journalism and Mass Communication

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Guerra is a researcher, producer, and educator. His primary research interests are critical educational technologies among low-income Latino students and organic educational technologies. Dr. Guerra has also been a faculty member in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Tec de Monterrey University in Mexico City. With a professional foundation in audiovisual production, Dr. Guerra’s career spans the spectrum of television environments, multimedia production, and a vast international experience. Most recently, he produced news and coached the staff of china.org in Beijing, China.

Steven Kleinman, PhD in Communication

Ohio State University

Dr. Kleinman has his research focused on (1) selective exposure to and subsequent effects of political messages in the new media environment, and (2) the antecedents of interpersonal political discussion in everyday life. He seeks to understand how political knowledge, attitudes, opinion,s and behaviors evolve over time as a result of various communicative processes. Steven has coauthored articles in the Journal of Communication, Political Behavior, and Communication Research. Prior to attending OSU, he received an MA in television and film production from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University. Steven has worked professionally in film and television production, including both scripted digital video shooting and unscripted live multi-camera television production. He has worked in various positions for small independent film production studios, major television shows (ABC’s The View), and major cable networks (QVC, The Food Network). Steven has taught courses in persuasion, public opinion, research methods, mass communication, and media and terrorism.

Mary Beth Leidman, EdD in Organizational Communication

Vanderbilt University

Dr. Leidman has been an active broadcast media producer and on-air interviewer throughout her career. Her activities include hosting radio shows on WGAY-FM and WGMS-FM in the Washington, D.C. market for 10 years and being heard locally on WRID, Homer City, and WCCS, Indiana. She has received two A.I.R awards in the Pittsburgh market, was a three-time A.I.R. award finalist in Washington, D.C., and received the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Award for Best Public Service Announcement. She has hosted a regular program on WIUP-TV for over 15 years and has produced television shows for regional PBS television stations and other Western Pennsylvania media outlets. Other media activities include working as educational consultant for the nationally syndicated television program Gina D’s Kids Club from 2003 to 2008. She has over three dozen publications and presentations which concentrate on communications and society, children’s media, and media criticism.

James Lenze, PhD in Instructional Systems

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Lenze has over two dozen publications or presentations focusing on virtual worlds, curriculum development, instructional technology, distance education, communications media, and synthetic writing. After earning his PhD, he spent three years as a tenure-line professor at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, and then subsequently assumed another tenure-line position for three years at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He joined the faculty at IUP in 2000. He earned the rank of full professor in 2009. He co-developed the proposal for the CMIT degree with Dr. Mark Piwinsky and served with him as one of the initial co-coordinators of the program. He was appointed as the dean’s associate for the School of Graduate Studies and Research at IUP, where he served from 2008 and 2009. He also authored the curriculum proposal to offer the BS in communications media online. Over his career he has authored or co-authored successful proposals for the creation of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. He has also developed online courses and programs. He is currently the director of VERGE (Virtual Environments Research Group in Education), a grant-funded project building a grade 9 through grade 12 curriculum for boys using virtual worlds technology.

Nurhaya Muchtar, PhD in Communication and Information

University of Tennessee

Dr. Muchtar’s primary research interests are international and intercultural communication, journalism studies, and media development in developing countries. She has a background as a broadcast journalist, media training consultant, and development aid specialist for a number of international organizations. Her background has influenced her interests in collaborative research activities with other disciplines such as adult education, women’s studies, and professional studies. Dr. Muchtar has presented her research in regional, national, and international conferences and has been active supporting a new organization called ASIRPA—Asian Society for International Relations and Public Affairs, both as chief editor and as chair of the organization. Her teaching interests include courses in international and intercultural communication, women in media, research in media, and cultural theory.

Vicky Ortiz, PhD in Communication

Purdue University

Originally from Guatemala, Dr. Ortiz has spent the last 12 years at Purdue University, where she graduated with a PhD in communication. Dr. Ortiz’s research is concerned with the intersections of immigration and communication. Specifically, her research focuses on student activism, media portrayals of immigrants and immigration policies, and blogs by undocumented students. Dr. Ortiz studies these issues through a critical lens, always questioning the significance of various forms of activism to the present and future. Her work privileges the voices of her participants and people in general. Dr. Ortiz’s research interests inform her approach to teaching. In the classroom, she strives to foster an environment in which community engagement, passion, enthusiasm, and a commitment to social justice are valued. These goals are led, informed by, and accomplished through active learning, meaningful dialogue, and critical thinking.

Mark Piwinsky, PhD in Political Science

Ohio State University

From his background as IUP’s chief information technology officer, Dr. Piwinsky brings extensive experience in technology planning, implementation, training, and financing. Success of this approach is evidenced by IUP’s recognition as one of the 25 “Most Wired” campuses in the nation and its cost-effective implementation of academic and administrative support systems. He participated in the development and coordination of the Advancing the Development of Educators in Pennsylvania to Teach with Technology grant, the NEDIC/CIMS emergency management systems grants, and the Preparing Teachers to Teach Using Technology grant, for which he was a co-recipient of the IUP Sponsored Programs Award for Outstanding Achievement in Curriculum and Instruction. As an academic administrator, he served as vice provost for Administration and Technology at IUP and director of Analysis and Planning at Ohio State University. As a political scientist and academic administrator, his work also addresses the impact of communications on the political process, public policy and public opinion, and on research methods. Dr. Piwinsky is currently chair of the Department of Communications Media. 

Zachary Stiegler, PhD in Communication Studies

University of Iowa

Dr. Stiegler’s primary research interests are media history, communication law and policy, and critical studies of popular culture. His research has appeared in the Journal of Radio and Audio Media, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Javnost: The Public, as well as a number of edited volumes. His own edited volume, Regulating the Web, was published in 2013 by Lexington Books. His teaching interests include courses in media history, broadcasting, communication law and policy, cultural theory, and alternative media. After supervising campus radio station WIUP-FM for five years (concluding 15 years in college radio), he now serves as doctoral coordinator for the CMIT PhD program.

Jay Start, PhD in Educational Communication and Technology

University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Start has done over two dozen video publications, including biographies, organizational profiles, product training videos, community action, and social issues. He has over a dozen publications or presentations focusing on media production and media operations management. He served as station manager for WIUP-TV for 20 years, which provided him first-hand experience in media operations and productions.

B. Gail Wilson, EdD in Administrative and Policy Studies in Higher Education

University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Wilson has been involved in broadcasting for over 25 years and served as faculty advisor of WIUP-FM from 1986 to 2004. Several of her publications and presentations have explored college radio programming, financing, and management. Additionally, she has researched other areas of broadcasting, including television news programming and broadcast management. She has also conducted research on career portfolio development for communications students. Dr. Wilson received the Radio/Television News Directors Excellence in Journalism Education Fellowship and the National Association of Television Programming Executives Faculty Fellowship, and she was invited to attend the International Radio and Television Society and National Academy of Television Arts and Science Faculty Seminars. She was recognized as National Member of the Year and National Advisor of the Year by the National Broadcasting Society. Among her areas of teaching expertise are broadcast news writing, presentation making, and portfolio development. She teaches Media Ethics, Crisis Communication, and Teaching Communications Media in the CMIT program.

  • Department of Communications Media
  • Stouffer Hall, Room 121
    1175 Maple Street
    Indiana, PA 15705-1058
  • Phone: 724-357-2492
  • Fax: 724-357-5503
  • Office Hours
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