Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I got my undergraduate and master’s degrees from UGA in Telecommunications. And I did my Ph.D. at the University of Utah. Currently, I am the director of the New Media Institute in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
Actually, I think I have always been at UGA. Growing up in Rockdale County, I was involved in 4-H from the fifth grade. So I feel like I grew up in the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension office under the post office in old town Conyers. And in Salt Lake City, my wife told me she never wanted to be cold again. We were really lucky to find a place here – it was coming home.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I love teaching NMIX2020 Intro to New Media. With 300 students, there is an energy that you can just ride on. It is a hard one to teach because the topics change every week. But digital media is such an important part of young people’s lives – they are genuinely interested in learning more. And they all consider themselves experts.
What interests you about your field?
New media never sits still. People ask me when new media will finally become old media. I tell them as soon as people stop devising creative new ways to help people connect. So there will always be something new. I love the flux.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?.
Creating the New Media Institute has been a real highlight for me. In 1999, a group of people came together because we were practicing random acts of greatness when it came to digital media. We needed a place to work together, sharing ideas and resources. A year later, the NMI was approved by UGA. Getting to work with so many different people and coming in contact with crazy different ideas changed my career – and it has been fun.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching?
Every day when I read about or learn something different about the capabilities of digital media, I can’t wait to share it with my students. So my research is intimately tied to my teaching.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope being in class with me makes students want more. My lectures aren’t information dissemination – they should be curiosity stimulation. The curious will truly inherit the Earth.
Describe your ideal student.
One who thinks I am wrong – and sets out to prove it to me.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
I play in the NBA – the Noontime Basketball Association. We meet at noon in Ramsey to play pickup basketball. I love getting to hang out with all the different people that make UGA a cool place. And I am the winningest player in the league – that comes with being the oldest, I guess.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Listen to “The Yacht Rocks Revue” at the new Georgia Theatre. Ride my bike. Eat at Weaver D’s.
Community/civic involvement includes….
I work with 4-H. Honestly, 4-H got me to UGA. Got me my job. Introduced me to great people. I definitely feel like I owe 4-H.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch was the dad I wish I could be.
Proudest moment at UGA?
I have two of them. The first was being in the faculty procession at commencement in the winter of 2010 when my oldest son, Walt, moved his tassel. The second was when my youngest son, Scoop, was accepted to UGA. I am going to be proud when he graduates, too. I just don’t know exactly when that will be. The S.A. Shamp’s will have six degrees from UGA. Go Dawgs!