Exceptional talent joining Moody’s world-class faculty

Moody College welcomes 19 new full-time faculty for the first time in its history
New faculty


The Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin proudly welcomes the addition of 19 new full-time faculty members after a year of rigorous searching and recruiting. This influx of new scholarly, professional, clinical and creative talent pushes Moody toward its goal to be the best college of communication in the world, up from its current fourth-place global ranking.  

“Never before in our 53-year-old history have so many superstar scholars and teachers joined our faculty in one year,” said Jay Bernhardt, dean of the Moody College of Communication. “These diverse, talented faculty represent the cutting-edge of research and practice in their respective fields and will help Moody lead the way to the breakthroughs and creators of the future.” 

Moody College now has more than 150 faculty members teaching more than 4,200 undergraduate and 500 graduate students across five schools and departments and seven undergraduate majors. As one of the largest and most comprehensive communication colleges in the world, Moody is committed to growing diverse talent, increasing interdisciplinary innovation and revolutionizing digital media. 

Additional faculty hirings will be announced in the coming months. 

Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations


JoAnn Sciarrino

Professor and School Director JoAnn Sciarrino

JoAnn Sciarrino arrives to Austin from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism. She held the position of Knight chair in digital advertising and marketing since 2012 and taught digital marketing and market intelligence to undergraduates and graduate students. Her research interests are in digital marketing, digital advertising, marketing analytics and brand attachment. Prior to academia, she served as executive vice president for BBDO North America for 12 years, where she provided research, analytics and modeling solutions for more than 30 global clients including AT&T, Starbucks, Hyatt, FedEx, GE, L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble and Bank of South Asia. Sciarrino has a master's in business administration with a focus on decision science from Emory University.

Erica Ciszek 

Assistant Professor Erica Ciszek

Erica Ciszek's research and teaching are closely tied to commitments of strategic communication and social change. Ciszek holds a doctorate from the University of Oregon. Her research encompasses a triadic focus on activism as public relations, public relations as activism, and activism and strategic communication. Before launching her academic career, Ciszek worked in public relations and advertising in strategic analytics and market research, and contributed to LGBT newspapers and magazines.

Deena Kemp

Assistant Professor Deena Kemp

Deena Kemp joins UT Austin from the Department of Communication at Cornell University where she earned her doctorate. Her research draws on persuasion, emotion and behavioral economics principles to examine the impact of hard-hitting messages on decision making. She addresses the question of whether disturbing graphic content facilitates prosocial outcomes in different contexts including health and charity aid communication. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation. During her doctoral studies, Kemp served as the lead research assistant on an NIH/FDA sponsored research project examining the potential impact of graphic health warnings. Prior to her academic career, she developed and implemented communication strategies for community and academic health organizations.

Erin Reily

Professor of Practice and Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Erin Reilly

Erin Reilly bridges industry and academia as an innovator, educator and strategist with 20 years of experience inventing new approaches, products and experiences. Reilly is a professor and the inaugural director of innovation and entrepreneurship for Moody College. She consults on storytelling, engagement and learning through emergent technology and has been a guest lecturer worldwide at universities and industry conferences. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Interactive Media Peer Group’s executive committee, board president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education and serves on advisory boards such as Disney Junior and PBS. As Moody College's first director of innovation and entrepreneurship, she will lead programs with students and faculty from Moody and across the university and engage the Austin community to emphasize the unique role communication and media bring to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  


Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders



Zoi Gkalitsiou

Assistant Professor Zoi Gkalitsiou

Zoi Gkalitsiou, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is a doctoral graduate of the department. She earned a bachelor’s in speech and language therapy from the Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, Greece, and a master’s in communication sciences and disorders from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Gkalitsiou is interested in investigating the cognitive and linguistic factors that contribute to the development and persistence of stuttering using eye-tracking techniques. She's been a practicing clinician for 15 years and has worked in several clinical settings, including the Lang Stuttering Institute where she trained undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of fluency and fluency disorders.

Mary Beth Schmitt

Assistant Professor Mary Beth Schmitt

Mary Beth Schmitt, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, joins the faculty in Austin after serving four years on faculty at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Schmitt investigates child-level and treatment-level aspects of therapy that affect language and literacy outcomes for children with language disorders. Her research is informed from her 11 years serving children with language disorders before earning her Ph.D. from Ohio State University. She recently received funding through the National Institutes of Health to investigate the effects of a behavior regulation intervention on language and literacy outcomes for kindergarten children with language impairment. Schmitt serves as editor for EBP Briefs, a peer-reviewed publication supporting evidence-based practice for practitioners.

Spencer Smith

Assistant Professor Spencer B. Smith

Spencer B. Smith, Ph.D., Au.D., received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his Au.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. Upon completion of his doctoral training, he finished a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University. Smith’s research focuses on neural processes, from inner ear to cortex, involved in speech perception in noise. He employs objective otoacoustic emission and electroencephalography and behavioral techniques to study relationships between neurophysiological function and perception. To support his research, Smith has secured funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Hearing Research Foundation, American Academy of Audiology, and American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation.

Rosemary A. Lester-Smith

Assistant Professor Rosemary A. Lester-Smith

Rosemary A. Lester-Smith, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, joins the faculty after completing postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic, Boston University, Northwestern University, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in speech, language and hearing sciences with a minor in neuroscience from the University of Arizona. She is a certified speech-language pathologist and conducts both basic and clinical research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurogenic voice disorders. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.


Department of Communication Studies



Brendon Bankey

Debate Director and Lecturer Brendon Bankey

Brendon Bankey joins Moody College by way of The University of Kansas, where he co-coached the No. 1 overall ranked debate team and National Debate Tournament champions in 2018. He is also the former curriculum director of the Jayhawk Debate Institute. He is the new director of the Intercollegiate Policy Debate program, co-director of the National Institute in Forensics, co-director of the Longhorn Classic Speech and Debate Tournament and a lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies. His areas of specialization include presidential campaigns, argumentation, reactionary rhetoric and rhetoric of science. Bankey studied in the doctoral program at the University of Kansas and has taught and coached debate throughout the nation at several high schools, universities and summer workshops.

Johanna Hartelius’s

Associate Professor Johanna Hartelius

Johanna Hartelius’s research is in the areas of rhetorical theory and criticism with a focus on expertise and digital rhetoric. She studies the cultural and political implications of experts’ and laypersons’ constructions of knowledge and experience, particularly as these constitute points of entry into public discourse, both traditional and virtual. Hartelius is the award-winning author of “The Rhetoric of Expertise” and editor of “The Rhetoric of U.S. Immigration: Identity, Community, Otherness.” Her scholarship has appeared in Argumentation and Advocacy, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Culture, Theory, and Critique, Management Communication Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of SpeechReview of CommunicationRhetoric Society Quarterly, and Southern Communication Journal. Her current book project, “The Gifting Logos: Expertise in the Digital Commons,” extends the investigation of cultural epistemology into digital networks. 

Shiv Ganesh

Professor Shiv Ganesh

Shiv Ganesh arrives at Moody from Massey University in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Ganesh studies communication and collective organizing in the context of globalization and digital technologies. His work spans critical-institutional and poststructural approaches to communication, and is currently comprised of two strands: technological transformations in collective action; and dialogue, conflict and social change. His research has appeared in outlets including Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, and Media, Culture & Society, and has been funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Foundation, and the Swedish Research Council. He is a former editor-in-chief of NCA’s Journal of International and Intercultural Communication and on the board of nine other journals.

Madeleine Redlick

Assistant Professor of Instruction Madeline Redlick

Madeleine Redlick is an assistant professor of instruction and the program manager for interdisciplinary education initiatives, which will involve both the Moody College and many other colleges across campus at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Redlick’s research is focused on relational communication. Specifically, she is interested in how individuals perceive their romantic relationships and how those perceptions contribute to experiences of emotions like uncertainty, jealousy and stigmatization as well as feeling committed, invested, and satisfied. Her research focuses strongly on the role that gender plays in influencing how people feel about their romantic relationships. Redlick’s research has appeared in a variety of journals in the field including Personal Relationships, Communication Education, and Psychology and Sexuality in addition to being highlighted in the popular magazine Psychology Today. Redlick received her master's and doctorate in communication studies from UT Austin.

Samantha Shorey

Assistant Professor Samantha Shorey

Samantha Shorey will join the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies as an assistant professor in the Fall of 2019. Shorey is a design researcher who studies how creating and building things can help us think differently about the place of technology in the social world. Her work engages overlooked stories of innovation to recognize the contributions of women to technology design—both presently and in the past. Shorey is currently a fellow at the Smithsonian Museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, where she is investigating the women who handmade computer hardware for the Apollo moon missions. Before coming to UT Austin, she was a research associate in the Tactile and Tactical Design Lab in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. She has also worked with collaborative research teams at the University of Oxford, MIT, and most recently as a pre-doctoral intern at Airbnb. She will receive her PhD in Communication from the University of Washington.


School of Journalism



Kathleen McElroy

Professor and School Director Kathleen McElroy

Kathleen McElroy is the former associate director of the School of Journalism. She earned her doctorate from Moody College in December 2014, after nearly 30 years as a professional journalist. At The New York Times, she held management positions including associate managing editor, dining editor, deputy sports editor and deputy editor of the website. She previously worked for Newsday on Long Island and all-sports daily The National. In Texas, she worked for the Austin American-Statesman, The Huntsville Item and the Bryan-College Station Eagle. While earning her doctorate, she was a Harrington Graduate Fellow and received awards for teaching and research. Her research interests include racial discourse, collective memory, sports media and obituaries.

Christian McDonald

Lecturer Christian McDonald

After 28 years working at four newspapers and five years teaching data journalism related courses as an adjunct, Christian McDonald began teaching full-time in 2018 as a lecturer. McDonald's most recent work was as data and online projects editor at the Austin American-Statesman where he worked with reporters and editors to bring data to life through stories, interactives and news applications. He helped conceive and build the Statesman's Longhorn Sports vertical Hookem.com and led many technical digital projects such as the birth of Statesman.com. In the late ‘90s, McDonald helped lead the digital publishing transition at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the largest newspaper in the Southeast. He served on the Cox Olympics team during the 1996 Olympic Games and helped reporters and editors through training on innovative newsroom tools and products. McDonald served as an assistant news editor at the East Valley publications in suburban Phoenix, and as a copy editor and page designer at the Longview News Journal. 

Amy Kristin Sanders

Associate Professor Amy Kristin Sanders

Amy Kristin Sanders is a former journalist, licensed attorney and associate professor. Before teaching at Northwestern University in Qatar, she earned tenure at the University of Minnesota, where her research focused on law and new technology as it relates to media freedom. She studies media law, internet governance, social media and media literacy. Sanders is an expert witness and consultant to Fortune 500 companies and international governments on topics including media freedom, social media, media literacy and the impact of new technology. She obtained her master's in professional journalism and her law degree at the University of Iowa, where she focused her studies on media law. Sanders earned a doctorate in mass communication law from the University of Florida. 

Kate West

Lecturer Kate West 

Emmy-nominated television journalist Kate West is now a full-time faculty member. Since 2004, she’s worked in Austin with the Emmy award-winning KXAN News Today. She previously worked at the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa., CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va. and CBS affiliate in Clarksburg, W.Va. West earned her master’s and doctorate from Moody College and taught one year at the University of Georgia. She was nominated for two Emmys and was recognized by the Texas Associated Press for being a part of the 2010 and 2013 winning team for best morning newscast and a first-place Texas Associated Press Award for spot news story-individual. Her research looks at the convergence of media organizations and the sharing of content between competing organizations.

Samuel Woolley

Assistant Professor Samuel Woolley

Samuel Woolley studies emergent technology and political communication. His work examines how automated online tools such as bots and algorithms are used to enable both democracy and civic control. He researches how computational propaganda–-the manipulation of public opinion using social media–is used by political groups in attempts to affect the flow of information during major political events. He is currently co-editing a book of case studies titled “Computational Propaganda” with Oxford University Press and is working on a manuscript on the future of online propaganda titled, "DIGIPROP." Woolley is the former director of research of the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford. He is a Belfer Fellow at the ADL and a former research fellow at Jigsaw, Google’s think-tank and incubator. His doctorate is from the University of Washington. He will begin his position at Moody College in the fall 2019 semester.


Department of Radio-Television-Film



Noah Isenberg

Professor and Department Chair Noah Isenberg

Beginning January 2019, Noah Isenberg will join the department as the George Christian Centennial professor and chair. Isenberg arrives from The New School, where he’s a professor of culture and media. He was formerly the director of the screen studies program at Eugene Lang College and is an author and editor of several books on film. His writing has appeared in such publications as The Nation, The New Republic, Bookforum, Paris Review Daily, New York Review Daily, The Daily Beast, Times Literary Supplement, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In 2015-2016, Isenberg received an NEH Public Scholar Award and was a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities. More info can be found on his personal website.

Moody College of Communication