Professor of Communications
University of Arkansas B.A. in Journalism in 1998
University of Colorado at Boulder; PhD in Communications
Fun Facts About Curtis:
- Roasts coffee as a hobby
- Enjoys a good sporting event every now again
- Enjoys walking his dog, a lab huskie mix, with his wife
As one of Millsaps' newest faculty members, Dr. Curtis Coats oversees the Communications major, teaches a range of communications courses as well as Millsaps Core courses, and creates a strong slate of internships. Dr. Coats currently teaches Introduction to Communications and Journalism.
Communications is consistently one of the top 10 majors among college students and provides for multiple career opportunities upon graduation. It will be added to the 32 existing bachelor's degrees Millsaps offers. Communications majors hope to practice careers in Broadcast Media, Public Relations, Marketing, Journalism, Advertising, and Business Management.
How did you become interested in studying communications?
At first, I was interested in writing, which is why I did my BA in print journalism. From there, I became more interested in how media influenced everyday life and, in particular, how media influenced everyday religious life.
Did you start studying journalism thinking you wanted to work for a newspaper or TV station?
I wanted to write for newspapers. I was particularly interested in mixing my love of writing with my interests in digital publishing and photography. I avoided broadcast journalism, mainly because I was terrified of being in front of a camera.
What about teaching communications to students appealed to you?
I've always enjoyed teaching. Way back in high school, I always thought I'd be a high school teacher. That changed, but after a short stint in the professional world of journalism and web design, I decided that teaching should be my vocation. Teaching communications is especially appealing because it allows us to engage in "big" ideas -- human nature, society, the Self, "Others" -- in ways that connect to students' "linked" or "wired' everyday lives. I mean any time you can discuss the nature of social order and Facebook or the religious dimensions of "Harry Potter" is a good thing, right?
Why do you think communications is so popular with students today?
I think that media is so much a part of everyone's lives anyway that students are naturally interested in how media and communication work. People have a desire to know what they are.
What do you aspire to teach students about communication?
I aspire to teach students not only how to communicate better but why communication and media literacy are important. I also try to instill how communications improves citizenship, freedom, and democracy - it gives students the tools to critically think about media and communication broadly. I hope to teach them not just a set of skills to help them get a job but to help them become productive citizens.
By: Bonnie Tucker