Julie Roosa named Greenlee School’s First Amendment specialist

Julie Roosa pictured with the text of the First Amendment
Julie Roosa, adjunct assistant professor and First Amendment specialist. Photo by Molly Olson/Greenlee communications team

AMES, Iowa – Julie Roosa joins the faculty of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication as adjunct assistant professor, specializing in First Amendment topics.

Roosa teaches Media Ethics, Freedom, Responsibility (JL MC 462, a course required of all Greenlee majors that focuses on professionalism and the ethical practices of journalism, public relations and advertising. Here, she will share her substantial media and law experiences with students.

Julie Roosa seated in Hamilton Hall
Julie Roosa. Photo by Molly Olson, Greenlee Communications team

“Julie brings an expertise from both journalism and from her time as a lawyer, which will show how the First Amendment intersects both of those areas,” said Michael Dahlstrom, Greenlee associate director and associate professor. “That expertise can infuse our classes with even more First Amendment knowledge and experience.”

The First Amendment champion

Beyond the classroom, Roosa will also be a resource for the Greenlee School, as well as the greater Iowa State and academic community, as the school’s official First Amendment specialist.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for the First Amendment with Greenlee students, faculty and the entire Iowa State community—Ames and beyond,” said Roosa. “I think it is such an essential aspect of our democracy. It’s important for us to celebrate the First Amendment, because it provides the foundation for who we are as Americans.”

Roosa plans to build upon the Greenlee School’s strong tradition of First Amendment education through continued research and the development of a new course on First Amendment rights and responsibilities that will appeal to students across campus, not just those majoring in journalism, public relations and advertising. She’ll also connect with other experts on the subject matter across the nation.

“Julie will allow us to create more connections, both within the university and outside the university, to help inspire people about why the First Amendment is important,” said Dahlstrom. “She will also serve as a resource for First Amendment issues.”

In addition, Roosa chairs the committee responsible for coordinating First Amendment Days, a three-day celebration of the five freedoms hosted by the Greenlee School, the Iowa State Daily and the Leo Mores Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Now in its 16th year, the celebration will take place April 11-13, 2018, on the Iowa State University campus and will include depth and dialogue sessions on related topics, notable speakers who will give public lectures, a Democalypse March for local high school students, a celebratory Feast on the First on Central Campus and a workshop for educators on teaching the First Amendment.

In past years, several faculty and staff members have been responsible for organizing the event together along with students—thus, no one had the chief responsibility to grow the celebration.

“We needed someone to come in and be the champion of the First Amendment for our school—someone to take over the planning of events, outreach and be a resource for Iowa State,” said Alyssa Rutt, program coordinator and a member of the planning committee.

Beyond the First Amendment Days celebration, Roosa will be in charge of coordinating additional First Amendment seminars, workshops and other programming throughout the academic year.

“Part of what we want to do is keep the First Amendment in front of people year-round, so I think that’s one way that Julie will be able to help out,” said Brenda Witherspoon, Greenlee senior lecturer and a member of the First Amendment Days committee. “She’ll help us figure out what we can do in the fall and spring beyond just April and where we can partner with other things already happening at the university.”

A Cyclone from the start

As a Greenlee graduate and former lecturer, Roosa’s reason for returning to Hamilton Hall was simple: she wanted to share her passion for the freedom of speech, petition, press, assembly and religion. (Have trouble remembering the five freedoms? Roosa suggests thinking of the acronym “SPPAR,” noting that people often spar over issues surrounding these topics.)

“My interest in the First Amendment really grew while I was a student at ISU. As a faculty member, I plan to work hard to spark that same interest in others. Now more than ever we as a society need to understand and appreciate how important it is to work together to protect the five freedoms of the First. We might not agree with each other on every issue, but we at least must agree on our right to talk, write, petition, gather, or pray or not about those issues,” Roosa said.

Roosa earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University in 1992. She holds a master of arts in journalism and mass communication from Drake University and a doctor of jurisprudence from Drake University Law School.

As an instructor at Des Moines Area Community College in Boone for 14 years, Roosa taught multiple courses across the honors program and the fields of journalism, business law and criminal justice. She also served as the faculty adviser for two campus publications, including the Banner News and Campus Chronicle.

The Greenlee School has been a leader on First Amendment issues for over 15 years. In addition to its annual campus celebration, it has sponsored several national First Amendment workshops, including programs at national conventions of the College Media Association and the Associated Collegiate Press and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Funding for this position was made possible by a grant.

More information on this year’s First Amendment Days events will be available soon.