On April 12, 2023, Temple University held its annual Faculty Awards Ceremony to recognize distinguished faculty members for their teaching, research and other achievements. Klein College of Media and Communication is proud to have been represented by the following faculty who were honored at the ceremony
Assistant Dean for Community and Communication and Associate Professor of Instruction in the Advertising and Public Relations Department David Brown,
Assistant Journalism Department Chair and Associate Professor of Practice Larry Stains and
Adjunct Instructor in the Communication and Social Influence Department Bobbie Dillon.
The ceremony was a great moment to honor these three deserving faculty members and shared the occasion of being the first public ceremony attended by JoAnne Epps in her capacity as acting president.
David Brown: Stauffer Award
Founded in 1973, the Stauffer Award honors one faculty member from throughout the university each year for their service both inside Temple and throughout the community.
In 2021, Senior Associate Dean and Professor Deb Cai approached Brown about nominating him for the award. Brown was hesitant at first and adamant that he does not do the work that he does with the goal of receiving awards but agreed to put together a nomination application.
Though Brown did not receive the award in 2021 or 2022 when he was nominated again, he found the application process cathartic.
Between 2021 and 2023, Brown found himself doing more and more work that should be included in his application. It was therapeutic, he said, to look back and know that regardless of whether or not he won, he still had an incredible body of work that has made an impact on Klein College, Temple and the community.
“I’m just going to keep being the best David Brown I can be,” Brown said.
Before going to the dean and awards committee, though, Stauffer Award nominations go through the Klein College Faculty Council. Chair of the council Karen M. Turner was ecstatic to support Brown’s nomination.
“He doesn’t get flustered. He’s very calm,” Turner said. Much of Brown’s work has been in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which Turner noted can get very intense.
Since coming to Temple, Brown sees his work as fitting into three areas: service to Klein College, service to Temple and service to the community.
Within Klein College, Brown has been committed to cultivating a diverse curriculum and sharing best DEI practices with other faculty. When Klein College received the prestigious AEJMC Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award, he was named the diversity advisor to the Office of the Dean in 2018, now a part of his community and communication role.
In the midst of the pandemic, Brown joined Associate Professor of Instruction Dana Saewitz and Assistant Professor Meghnaa Tallapragada to create a course designed to teach students how to use communication skills to disrupt stereotypes and racist practices. He also helped develop PR 3203: Diversity and Public Relations, a required course for all public relations majors.
Within the wider university, Brown reports to offices that are part of the broader DEI portfolio, such as the Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership office. He also led the introduction of The Temple IDEALIST, Temple’s first newsletter dedicated to DEI.
In addition to his career supporting Philadelphia nonprofits, Brown launched the Philadelphia African American Leadership Development Forum and helped form the Black Nonprofit Chief Executives of Philadelphia.
Brown attended seminary in 2000 and uses his combined role as a pastor and a communication expert to soothe race relations and host peaceful events. Most recently, he created an event in partnership with RAWtools to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
This work, along with so much else, is what makes Brown a great representation of the heart of Klein College. “It’s really just delightful to work with him professionally,” Cai said.
Brown joins the late LeRoy M. Carl and Communication Studies Department Chair Scott Gratson as the third Klein College Stauffer Award honoree.
Larry Stains: Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
Stains is one of six recipients of the 2022-2023 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, an award recognizing faculty for their excellence in teaching.
Each year, department chairs can nominate faculty that they think have sustained a standard of teaching excellence throughout their career. In Klein College, nominees go through the faculty council and only one gets submitted to the university awards committee for consideration. The committee then picks six awardees out of the 17 nominations they receive, one from each school within the university, to be honored with a stipend and certificate at the annual award ceremony.
“I feel honored beyond words. For such a talkative guy I, I stumble to find the words to express my gratitude,” Stains said. He was the Klein College nominee last year, as well.
Journalism Department Chair and Professor David Mindich nominated Stains for the award with help from Laura H. Carnell Professor of Journalism Carolyn Kitch, KLN ’98. Each wrote a letter of support for Stains, and Kitch reached out to many of his former students for testimonies on Stains’ excellence in teaching.
Stains couldn’t have done it without his wonderful students and support system, he said.
“He really is just the perfect professor. He’s a teacher, he has amazing experience and he cares really deeply about his students,” Mindich said.
One student who knows Stains well is senior Maria Utz. Utz has taken several classes with Stains and is now a Diamond Peer Teacher for JRN 1111: Journalism and Society, the introductory journalism class that Stains teaches.
“I learn a lot and I have a good time,” Utz said of Stains’ classes. She noted he exhibits excellence in teaching by keeping the content of his courses relevant to their lives. Though he has been teaching some courses for more than 20 years, Stains is constantly changing the content to fit the current state of the magazine industry.
One way that Stains engages his students is by having them teach each other about the readings for the week. Utz loved this format, and Stains said it has allowed him to go from being a “sage on the stage” to a “guide on the side” in the classroom.
Utz also noted that Stains takes an interest in students’ lives outside of the classroom, and Mindich frequently observes students lined up to chat with their professor after class hours. This is Stains’ favorite part of his job, and he hopes to always be a positive presence in his students’ lives.
Stains is sure that he would not be as effective a teacher without his 25 years of experience in magazines before he started teaching at Temple University in 2001.
In 2011, Stains won a National Magazine Award in the personal service category for a feature he wrote on prostate cancer for Men’s Health. From being part of the startup teams for Rodale Press’s Men’s Health and New Shelter, to being on the editing staff at Philadelphia magazine, Stains has made a name for himself in the magazine industry.
In addition to the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Stains also received the Klein College Senior Faculty Teaching Award in 2017. He is a proud journalist, a proud professor and a proud member of the Klein College faculty.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to do anything else for a living,” Stains said.
Bobbie L. Dillon: Part-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Instruction Award
Dillon is one of three recipients of this year’s Part-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Instruction Award. First given out in 2019, this award recognizes part-time faculty members for their consistent, high-quality teaching.
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in Journalism Brian Creech and Assistant Professor of Instruction Quasier D. Abdullah nominated Dillon after the recommendation by Cai and Director of Graduate Studies Nicole McKenna. It was more than enough just to be nominated, let alone receive the award, Dillon said.
When asked why she felt she was nominated, Dillon stated that she was unsure of the exact reason but thought it could have been precipitated by her initiative to update one of her courses, CMGT 5002: Leadership in Crisis and Conflict Management. The course looks past the initial conflict, what caused it and how we respond; and the difference in handling scenarios described as crises, emergencies and disasters.
With the ever-changing state of media, Dillon realized the necessity to keep her teachings current and relatable to her students. One of her goals as a professor is to empower people to make their own lives better. By the end of her course, students should be able to take the tools and skills they learn into the outside world.
“People can apply immediately what they’re learning,” Dillon said. “The work I do as an instructor is always applicable.”
When off campus, Dillon spends her time as a leadership and team consultant. Her background primarily consists of work in mediation, conflict management and communication. While most individuals shy away from conflict, Dillon runs headfirst. Learning about others and their perspectives helps her make information more accessible.
Dillon often makes examples from her conflict coaching work outside of Temple and brings them into the classroom for her students. This practice helps answer the age-old question students often ask: when will I use this in the real world?
As a naturally curious person herself, Dillon encourages her students to use their conflict management and resolution skills in scenarios personal to them. This is incredibly helpful considering Temple and Klein College’s focus on social justice. Individually, students can contribute and offer resources in areas they feel are significant to them and their own lives.
Conflict analysis and management relies on interpreting behaviors and understanding and educating each other–a practice that aligns with Dillon’s teaching philosophy. She noted that many disagreements and interactions illustrate how what we do not know creates conflicts.
Dillon gives students the ability to challenge her and ask questions. It gives them a chance to apply the model and rethink past conflicts and how to navigate new ones moving forward.
“Professor Dillon’s strength as a teacher comes from her commitment to constant growth and professional development,” said Creech. “She redesigns her lectures and assignments frequently based on feedback and evaluation of student learning, always based around the goal of finding new ways to help students care about the subject matter.”
Overall, Dillon does not do the work she does for recognition or awards. It simply boils down to giving future generations the tools to instill confidence, compassion and accountability. Every interaction causes a ripple effect and can influence another.
“I believe in peace on Earth, and it is possible if everyone acquires the skills to manage conflict effectively,” Dillon said.