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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 a TEDx speaker, whose research lies under the umbrella of communication education and game design. He takes pride in helping students to think differently by engaging them in design-based research methods. He is currently serving as an international columnist for the Brazilian newspaper Investmentos e Noticias, where he writes about technology and education in America. Dr. Almeida has served as an elected board member for the Systemic Change Division of AECT for three years. He is currently in his seventh year serving as a consulting editor for the prestigious ETR&D academic journal. He likes to teach classes in games, instructional design, and management.

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, opinions, 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 M.A. 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 multicamera 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 more than 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 Gina D’s Kids Club from 2003–2008. She has more than 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 more than two dozen publications or presentations focusing on virtual worlds, instructional technology, distance education, communications media, and synthetic writing. After earning his Ph.D. at the age of 26, Dr. Lenze held tenure-line positions at Lawrence Technological University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and IUP. He earned the rank of full professor in 2009. He codeveloped the proposal for the CMIT degree with Dr. Mark Piwinsky and served with him as one of the initial cocoordinators of the program. He was appointed as the dean’s associate for the School of Graduate Studies and Research at IUP and served between 2008 and 2009. Over his career he has assisted in the creation of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, several with extensive online components. He is currently the director of VERGE (Virtual Environments Research Group in Education) and works with doctoral students in that group to promote efficient, effective, and ethical research practices within 3D worlds.

Nurhaya Muchtar, PhD in Communication and Information

University of Tennessee

After working for nearly seven years as a media training consultant, development aid specialist, and broadcast journalist in Indonesia and Washington, D.C., Dr. Muchtar completed her master’s degree in Communication and Development at Ohio University. Dr. Muchtar is an editor of ASIRPA, a new journal for scholars from Southeast Asia that publishes articles with themes related to that area. Her research interests are international and intercultural communication, journalism studies, and media development in developing countries.

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 Ph.D. 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 by, 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 corecipient 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 radio history, communication law and policy, and critical studies of popular culture. His 2013 edited volume Regulating the Web: Network Neutrality and the Fate of the Open Internet examines the controversial topic of Internet regulation in the United States. Dr. Stiegler's work has been published in the Journal of Radio and Audio Media, Javnost: The Public, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Sociology Study, and a number of edited volumes. Dr. Stiegler teaches courses in media history and theory, media law and policy, radio production, and critical studies of popular culture. In addition to teaching and research, he also serves as editor of the department’s Journal of Communications Media Studies and as faculty advisor for WIUP-FM.

Jay Start, PhD in Educational Communication and Technology

University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Start has done more than two dozen video publications, including biographies, organizational profiles, product training videos, community action, and social issues. He has more than 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 firsthand 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 more than 25 years and served as general manager 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 newswriting, presentation making, and portfolio development. Dr. Wilson is currently the CMIT doctoral program coordinator.

  • 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
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.