Dr. Jie Zhang Named Head of the Department of New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts

Dr. Jie Zhang has been named head of the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts at Northwestern State University. Her appointment has been approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Zhang earned a Bachelor of Art in Advertising at Shanghai University in Shanghai, China. She received a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma and earned a Ph.D. in Advertising at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation proposal received the Dunn Award, which is presented by the American Academy of Advertising to honor outstanding dissertation proposals in the area of international advertising. Zhang has been a member of the faculty at the University of Evansville since 2010.

“The Dear School. Of Creative and Performing Arts is very excited to have Dr. Zhang as our new department head of NMJCA,” said Scott Burrell, director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts. “She brings a wealth of experience in the field of journalism, advertising and mass communications. She will provide students at NSU a global perspective in the ever- changing expanse of mass communication and social/electronic media.”

Zhang has done research in online marketing communication, online group buying, electronic word-of-mouth communication, cross-cultural comparison and social mobile application. Her work has appeared in a number of national and international refereed publications. Zhang has also made presentations at numerous national and international professional conferences. She has extensive experience as a grant writer and hopes to use that background to benefit the department and the university.

“After working at a private university for a little over a decade, I decided it’s time for me to work for a public school again,” said Zhang. “NSU is such a welcoming public school with a tremendous amount of growth potential. I do believe the future of higher education is in Louisiana and some other states, with public schools being the front runner in many disciplines.”

Zhang said she likes Northwestern State’s emphasis on experiential learning which gives undergraduate students practical knowledge that can help them obtain a job or attend graduate or professional school.

“I have a passion for strategic communication and always adopt professionally oriented pedagogy to increase the value of communication education,” said Zhang. “NSU’s focus on experiential learning echoes off my ideology of higher education. And I see a lot of collaboration opportunities between communication classes and the local community.”

Zhang became familiar with NSU through her husband Li Ma, who is a member of the faculty in the School of Biological and Physical Sciences.

“We certainly feel honored to be both employed by NSU and become one of those great NSU families,” she said. “The department head position is also a new but interesting role for me. I do want to try a new role in my career path and I believe now is the best time.”

Zhang plans to further support faculty initiatives for experiential learning.

“The current faculty of the department are professionally oriented and passionate for providing hands on experience to students,” said Zhang. “I will work with them and the university management team to seek resources to support their initiatives. I want to focus on experiential learning in all classes and encourage students to use their communication skill sets in more than one area in order to broaden their career opportunities. For example, when a student learns skills from a video production class, he or she can apply the skill in a career as an in-house marketing communication specialist.”

Zhang intends to further develop the strategic communication sequence in the department and stablish more real-world projects in class and internship opportunities outside class. She will work to increase enrollment and retention rate by not only serving domestic and traditional students but also attracting international and non-traditional students.

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