Two new professors join Department of Writing and Communication

Teaching courses on mass media, college writing

The two newest additions to the faculty of CAHSS’ Department of Writing and Communication come from different backgrounds but share the same passion for teaching writing.

Assistant Professor Whitney Lehmann, Ph.D. is a South Florida native from Davie who “grew up with Nova in her backyard.”

Whitney Lehmann

Lehmann’s educational path led to degrees in print journalism from the University of Florida and University of Miami, and a doctorate in communications at UM. Lehmann worked as a reporter for The Miami Herald.

“I’ve always loved writing. It’s my greatest passion,” she said. “Journalism was a way to put that into practice.”

However, the changing landscape of the job market in the journalism field led Lehmann to make the switch to public relations.

“There’s a lot of crossover in those two fields, so you can apply many of the same skills,” she said.

Lehmann worked in communication for Barry University and in social media for the Miami International Airport and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, but her end goal was always to teach in higher education, and specifically, NSU. She cites NSU’s reputation for academics, research, and scholarship.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “It feels like home.”

Lehmann is teaching courses on public relations and mass media, but she also manages the department’s social media presence.

NSU was close to home for Lehmann, but it was the geographic opposite for Assistant Professor Janine Morris, Ph.D. Morris earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. A course on writing pedagogy inspired Morris to dig deeper into the subject.

Janine Morris

“I was so fascinated that you could teach people how to write better and be better communicators,” she said.

Morris also taught composition at the university. “I really fell in love with the field.”

Morris said a lack of writing Ph.D. programs in Canada at the time led her to move to the U.S. and pursue her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati. Her dissertation examined the ways that students used digital devices to read. Morris said she disagreed with the popular view expressed in many articles that reading on digital devices led to distraction, so she decided to study the topic.

"The people writing the articles, they themselves are distracted when they're using technology, so they assume everyone else is," Morris said. "What I ended up finding was that depending on the context, it changes how you interact with the device."

Morris also taught in Cincinnati before making the move to Florida to join NSU.

“What really drew me to Nova...was the focus on teaching, service, and research,” Morris said. “I really love the atmosphere that exists here with the students.”

Morris is teaching undergraduate courses on Basic Writing and College Writing.