Professor Nancy Worthington

Professor Nancy Worthington

While some may shake their heads at the latest reality TV show, communications professor Nancy Worthington sees it as a teaching moment.

"There's so much opportunity to integrate what students are interested in and use it as a jumping off point to understand theoretical issues that otherwise might be abstract or dry," said Worthington. "It lets them really sink in their teeth and learn a concept."

Worthington pulls from sources such as the news, television, movies, social media, video games, music and the Internet -- topics that really appeal to her students.

She loves teaching small classes, which allows her to create an interactive, hands-on learning environment for students and lets her get to know all of her students on a personal level. "I've known the name of every student I've taught. It's nice to be able to teach in classes that are small enough to be interactive."  Worthington often gets to teach the same students two or three different times during their tenure at Quinnipiac.

"Students are at an interesting point in their lives, figuring out what they want to do and changing how they see the world," said Worthington, who came to Quinnipiac in 1999. "Over the years, their confidence grows and they've figured out what they want to do. I love seeing that growth."

In 2013, Worthington received a Quinnipiac Faculty Scholar Award for her extensive research, which most recently has focused on news constructions of gender violence. For example, she conducted a case study that looked at the whole circuit of the communication process, starting with the intent of the producer, the actual product published and audience reactions to a news story involving a rape.

"If you [as the audience member] don't have some kind of real-life firsthand experience, you're much more likely to be influenced by the way the media covered the issue," Worthington explained. "It was very interesting to see the intent of the story versus how the audience sees it through their own lives."

Worthington teaches an array of classes, including media research methods, media and society, media audiences and users, and the senior seminar class.

"One of the great things about media studies is you can be interested in a range of things, like news, music or film," she said. "Being in media allows you to get paid to do the stuff you already love to do."


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