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Hollywood Agent and Alumnus Speaks About Changing World of Television

Hollywood agent and School of Communication alumnus Jeff Jacobs returned to campus in February to speak with students about breaking into Hollywood and, more importantly, staying in the ever-changing game. “How do you break through?” he asks. “You have to be great.” Jacobs’ visit was sponsored by EPICS.

Black Arts Initiative

The interdisciplinary Black Arts Initiative aims to study, disseminate, and honor the contributions of artists on campus and beyond through conferences, showcases, dialogues, and film screenings. E. Patrick Johnson, BAI’s founder, director, and the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies, explains.

TV Creative Finds Success on Her Own Terms

TV producer, showrunner, and alumna Mara Brock Akil returned to Northwestern to speak with students about her lifelong love of writing, the value of the occasional misstep, and her mission to give a voice (and screen time) to underrepresented groups. She was welcomed on campus in February as part of the EPICS Connections Speaker Series.

Zimmerman Reflects on What’s Next

Mary Zimmerman, the Tony Award-winning Northwestern alumna and Jarahis Family Foundation Chair of Performance Studies, spoke to The New York Times about her forthcoming production of Dvorak’s Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera. Zimmerman, a peerless director and adapter of plays and operas, explained the challenges of working between the two mediums, her imaginative style, and what’s on the horizon for her professionally.

Professor’s Insight on Iranian Art

Hamid Naficy, the Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, spoke with The Atlantic in the wake of news that the Iranian director of the Oscar-nominated film The Salesman will not be attending the awards ceremony due to Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. Naficy puts this news in context through the history of Iranian cinema, our complicated political relations, and how art is an invitation to a shared experience.

Alumna Premieres Play

School of Communication alumna Selina Fillinger (class of ‘16) is a young but promising voice in the Chicago professional theatre community. Her play Faceless, which she developed as an undergraduate in an advanced playwriting sequence, premieres at Northlight Theatre January 26. Faculty mentor Laura Schellhardt was also interviewed for this Chicago Tribune piece.

Faculty honored by Provost

Four School of Communication faculty were recognized by the University in January for their efforts toward achieving greater diversity, inclusivity, equity, and innovation in the campus community. E. Patrick Johnson received one of two prestigious Provost Awards for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity, and Aymar Jean Christian, Anne Marie Piper, and Liz Gerber were recipients of the Provost Grant for Faculty Innovation in Diversity and Equity.

The Spread of “Fake News”

Communication Studies professor Pablo Boczkowski tells Seeker: “There’s always been misinformation. What we have now is an information infrastructure that is very different, with a scale and a scope that we haven’t seen before.” What does this mean in the age of rapidly growing technological advances? Boczkowski and other media experts explain.

Playwriting Curriculum Now In Select Chicago-area High Schools

The School of Communication has announced new partnerships with area high schools to introduce our innovative playwriting curriculum to a younger, broader audience — and to recruit a wider array of students to both our NHSI summer program and the University.

Students Network with Elite Chicago Film and TV Professionals

School of Communication students participated in a speedy meet-and-greet with Chicago-based entertainment luminaries. Industry leaders specializing in writing, directing, producing, and distribution for major network shows and film initiatives lent their knowledge to undergraduates and graduate students keen on entering the field. The upshot? Right now, Chicago is a great place to be working in entertainment.

Founding Member of Smashing Pumpkins Discusses Career

Drummer and founding member of the band Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin, spoke to Northwestern students on Nov. 1 about hard work, his life in music, and moving into a new career. Chamberlin visited campus as part of the EPICS Connections Speaker Series.

New Credit Requirements

The four-class quarter just became optional. The School of Communication announced that is has reduced the number of course credits required of undergraduates to earn a degree, effective immediately. The change was made in response to students’ reported levels of stress, an increase in their interdisciplinary learning, and the desire for more curricular exploration. Majors within the school now have to fulfill 42 credits to earn a bachelor’s of arts or science degree, down from 45.

Faculty-Researcher Gives Adults with Autism a Chance at Work

Molly Losh, professor and researcher in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has worked to decode communication challenges in individuals with autism. Now she counts advocacy as part of this work, specifically in helping adults with autism find meaningful employment.

Inaugural Northwestern Debate Induction Ceremony Kicks off New Tradition

Esteemed alumni returned to campus in September to take part in the inaugural induction ceremony for the Northwestern Debate Society Hall of Achievement. The event was part of a series of reunion events that weekend that included a reception, a debate presentation, football game and tailgate party, and dinner.

Emoji Assumptions

“Nerd Face” emoji? For professors? Ouch. Brent Hecht, a new addition to our Department of Communication Studies, enlightens The Chronicle of Higher Education on the hows and whys of its provenance.

New School of Communication Facilities

The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is expanding, thanks to 8,000 square feet of upgrades and additions to its theatrical facilities. Moreover, a new soundstage in John J. Louis Hall is elevating the study of sound and its creative applications for our undergraduate and graduate students.

Interviewing Trump

As the presidential campaign heats up, journalists are experiencing an entirely new challenge: how to effectively question the Republican nominee. Why? He doesn’t play by the rules, says Harvey Young, chair of the Department of the Theatre and Dance, to a Poynter columnist. Read on for more.

A Techie’s Farewell

School of Communication assistant professor Elizabeth Gerber explains to the Washington Post why it’s not always easy to part with outdated or broken tech. This comes in the wake of VHS's, well, wake. Read on.

Don’t Blame Pokemon Go

Blame the user, says Eszter Hargittai, April McClain-Delaney and John Delaney Research Professor of Communication Studies. The app that’s sweeping (and irritating) the nation isn’t the problem, users’ judgment of appropriate times and places in which to use it is. She explains in July 22’s Washington Post.

Garry Marshall Remembered

Garry Marshall, proud Northwestern alumnus and great friend to the School of Communication, died on July 19, 2016. He was one of the most respected figures in Hollywood, having coupled a lengthy and lauded career in television and film with legendary kindness, warmth, and humor.

Treating Autism

Dr. Sarah C. Bauer, developmental pediatrician, and Megan Roberts, the Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, lead a team offering innovative early-intervention autism diagnosis and treatment. They cowrote a piece for Scientific American explaining why evidence-based medical treatments alongside non-judgmental physician care are more dependable than alternative methods.

School of Communication Alumni Receive Emmy Nominations

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (C83, H07), has earned her fifth Emmy nomination (and potentially her fifth win) for her role as President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy Veep. David Schwimmer (C88) got a well-deserved nod for his role in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. David Hollander (C90) is nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on Ray Donovan.

Professor offers expertise

J.P. Sniadecki, assistant professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, shared his knowledge of the culture of public parks in China with the New York Times. Sniadecki created an acclaimed documentary about one such popular space, titled People’s Park.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Month

The Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning welcomes all Northwestern University faculty and staff to visit in the month of July and receive a free hearing test and weeklong hearing aid trial.

2016 Writers’ Panel Discusses the Pursuit of a Creative Profession

What makes a great story? What drives a good writer? Is it all about the paycheck? Four industry insiders last week shared tips and stories about careers in the creative arts with School of Communication students. Spoiler alert: it’s all about what keeps you up at night.

Visiting Playwright Dael Orlandersmith Brings Ferguson’s Plight to the Stage

Celebrated writer and poet Dael Orlandersmith read from her new play Until the Flood for students and faculty as the 2016 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Visiting Artist. Orlandersmith’s work tackles the issues facing residents caught in the unrest of the Ferguson, Mo., riots that followed the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown.

Legendary filmmaker gives viewers a glimpse of his world, newest film

Prolific and celebrated documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman recently screened his newest film, In Jackson Heights, at Northwestern. The film was followed by an insightful, endearing discussion with the artist, who is the 2016 Hoffman Professor for Documentary Media, a short-term filmmaker residency.