Features & Entertainment

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda McClain Helps Rejuvenate Mac Lab

Photo courtesy of Dr. Amanada McClain

By Bryanna Bright-Hall

Dr. Amanda McClain, Associate Professor of Communications in the School of Arts and Sciences, has helped revitalize and rejuvenate not only the Communications curriculum, but the available workstations on campus as well. Along with Dr. Janice Xu and the rest of the Communications staff, McClain has added new majors and assisted in the renovation of the Mab Lab in Holy Family Hall. McClain sat down with Tri-Lite to discuss these recent changes.

What inspires you to teach at Holy Family?

“I majored in Communications in college, and then after college, I worked for a year and then decided to get a graduate degree. While I was in graduate school, I decided I wanted to go for a PhD because I really enjoyed learning about media. The corollary to that is that I love teaching about media. So, that’s how I decided to become a Communications professor. I have been teaching at Holy Family for six years, and I’ve had a wonderful experience. I absolutely love the students. I find the students to be hardworking and creative, and to really enjoy learning and to be active participants in the learning process. I absolutely love working here.”

The Mac Lab has recently been renovated. What role did you have in that?

“I helped work on that, so I’m very pro about the reconstruction. We have 12 brand new Macs, we have a new 80-inch TV screen, we have a new projector screen, a new high raised projector, new carpet, new painting, new shades, and I think it looks really great. We are also going to be running a contest to have students submit their design ideas for one big, blank, white wall. The Public Relations Student Society at Holy Family is going to be putting on a contest for that and then students will vote on their favorite design, and then the design will go up on the wall .

What recent changes have been made to the Communications program?

“So, right now the Communications program has two tracks. One of them is new. The first track is the Public Relations track, which is for students who love interacting with other people and who love publicity, and want to help brand some products to get publicity. The other track is called Social and Emerging Media, which is the new track. This is for students who are interested in all different types of media, whether it’s video or writing articles, and for students who are interested in media, more so than Public Relations. Included in that new track are two Social Media courses. The first one is Social Media Strategy and the second one is Social Media Analytics. In those courses, we examine social media and the data that we get from social media use to figure out how to better use social media to introduce brands and products to consumers. We also present how to create media messages for certain audiences.”

What role will you take regarding these changes?

“I’ve designed and I’ll be teaching the two Social Media courses, particularly the Social Media Analytics course. We’re also replacing the traditional course for television production, which is being replaced with a Producing Innovative Media course because now there are not as many jobs in television production as there used to be, but there are many jobs in Video Production. So today Video Production is a really integral part of the Web, and students need to able to create media, not just using a standard camera but also using their phones and other mobile devices, and that’s what that course is focused on.”

Why is the Communications Program important to you personally? 

“The Communications Program is important to me because media is everywhere. We are surrounded all day-long by media, whether it is Facebook, Snapchat, television, blogs, internet-  all day-long we interact with media. But hardly anybody actually thinks about who is creating media, who is targeting you, and why they are doing it. So, it’s important for me to be able to instill critical thinking skills about media in my students, and that’s why Communications is important for every student to take.”