AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and Department of English will welcome new faculty member Novotny Lawrence, associate professor, in August of 2018. Through a split appointment, Lawrence will address teaching, research and service in areas including diversity, media and society and documentary at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Lawrence’s courses will impact and appeal to both Greenlee and English majors, as well as other students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the university as a whole, said Angela Powers, Greenlee School director.
"My priority is to increase diversity in our school in terms of creating an inclusive environment and addressing multicultural issues in our classroom. During his interview on campus, Dr. Lawrence demonstrated superb skill in leading positive discussions on diversity issues. Dean Beate Schmittmann was insightful and highly instrumental in attracting Dr. Lawrence to campus," Powers said.
Lawrence earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the Theatre and Film Department (now Department of Cinema and Media Studies) at the University of Kansas. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Radio, Television and Digital Media Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he taught courses such as Media and Society, Film History and Analysis, Race and the Media and History of African American Images in Film.
"I’m looking forward to joining Greenlee because it features strong programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and a dynamic faculty," Lawrence said. "I’m excited to contribute to the school by teaching existing classes and designing courses on race and media, media and society and documentary. From my perspective, such courses are critical in helping students understand social inequalities that exist as a result of factors such as race, gender, class and sexual orientation, among others. By developing a deeper understanding of inequalities, students moving into careers in PR, journalism and mass communication and advertising can work to create more inclusive content/campaigns and to be more responsible media consumers."
Lawrence’s research centers on African American mediated experiences and popular culture. He is the author of Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre (Routledge, 2007), the editor of Documenting the Black Experience (McFarland, 2014), and the co-editor of Beyond Blaxploitation (Wayne State University Press, 2016). Lawrence has also published journal articles and book chapters on The Jeffersons, The Twilight Zone, Dave Chappelle, and C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America.
In 2012 Lawrence was awarded the Judge William Holmes Cook Fellowship by the Office of the Associate Chancellor for Diversity at SIU. He currently serves on the Governing Board of the Popular Culture Association, and he is the Chair of the Race and Ethnicity area of the Film and History Conference.
"I am thrilled Dr. Lawrence will be joining our faculty. His research on race and the media has broken new ground in terms of how we understand representations of black people in film. I think he will be a phenomenal resource and mentor for Greenlee students, who have expressed a desire for more programming related to diversity and inclusion," Tracy Lucht, Greenlee School assistant professor, said.
The search committee was comprised of faculty members from both units, including committee chair Lucht and Andrew Pritchard from the Greenlee School and Justin Remes and Sean Grass from the English department. Lawrence’s official start date is August 16, 2018, and his office will be in Hamilton Hall.