Newhouse's Barbara Croll Fought named an SU Meredith Professor

By Cynthia Moritz

April 22, 2013

Barbara Croll Fought, associate professor of broadcast and digital journalism in the Newhouse School, is one of two new Meredith Professors at Syracuse University, honored along with Professor John Western of the Maxwell School at a special ceremony April 22.

A substantial bequest from the estate of L. Douglas Meredith, a 1926 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, allowed for the creation of the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorships in 1995 to recognize and reward outstanding teaching at the University. The awards recognize and reward excellence in teaching, encourage faculty members to look upon the many dimensions of teaching as manifold opportunities for constant improvement, emphasize the great importance the University places upon teaching and improve the teaching and learning processes on campus. The Meredith Professors receive a supplementary salary award and additional funding for professional development for each year of their appointment.

Fought

Department chairs fight over Barbara Fought at scheduling time, says Dona Hayes, chair of Newhouse’s Department of Broadcast and Digital Journalism (BDJ), who nominated Fought for the Meredith Award. That’s because students flock to her courses as a result of her reputation for being compelling, up-to-date and organized, Hayes says, and they don’t even mind that she’s demanding. “They know she will deliver cardinal concepts blended with the most current information.”

This is reflected in Fought’s student evaluations. “You want to work hard for a professor when you know she is working hard for you,” says one. “Honestly one of the best professors I have ever had,” says another.

In addition to working hard at teaching, Fought has been either the creator or co-creator of two courses for BDJ, as well as creating a series of curricular sessions that have been adopted into five courses. The latter, “JTools,” is a series of learning modules that delivers the most current Internet tools for students to use in their reporting. Fought visits class sections to deliver her modules to students and teachers, who can then deliver the modules themselves.

This model is similar to what she hopes to do for her Meredith project. “Software designers and entrepreneurs are coming up with new tools regularly that can accompany news stories in text online—timelines, data visualizations, curations of social media and more … I have been keeping an Excel spreadsheet of new apps, programs and software over the past 18 months and it runs more than 50 items long,” Fought says.

For her Meredith project Fought plans to take time to evaluate these potential online storytelling tools and find new ones. She hopes to find out the possibilities of partnering with industry or entrepreneurs to test some of them. And she plans to help students develop more online skills by integrating these tools into classes in Newhouse’s journalism-related departments. As she did with JTools, she would develop modules that could be dropped into existing courses.

“In addition, I would also hope to find some of the tools that would be applicable outside of Newhouse and communications,” Fought says. “For example, perhaps learning to quickly make timelines with easy graphics could be an additional component for a history paper.”

 

This is an excerpt. For the complete article, see SU News Services.

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