School of Communications welcomes Kelly Carlton as visiting professor

The award-winning creative director of motion design – and longtime member of the school’s National Advisory Board – is teaching an on-campus Winter Term course titled “Motion Graphics.” 

Kelly Carlton is teaching Elon’s COM 364 “Motion Graphics” course during Winter Term.[/caption]While Kelly Carlton’s Winter Term course might be his first extended time leading a class, the visiting professor’s service to Elon University’s School of Communications actually dates back nearly a dozen years.

As the creative director of motion graphics at a post-production marketing studio in Hollywood, Carlton has served on the school’s National Advisory Board since 2003. It’s a position he’s enjoyed, providing professional insight to the faculty, internship and career networking to students, program support to the school, and expertise with students in classes when visiting campus. According to Carlton, his logic for advising at Elon and teaching a Winter Term course is one in the same: a desire to help guide students.

“I have always been interested in teaching, dating back to when I was getting my own MFA,” he said. “Over the years, I have embraced the opportunity to work with interns. I really enjoy working with and helping young people. Teaching has been something I’ve wanted to experience, and it provides me with the opportunity to give back.”

Carlton is leading Elon’s COM 364 “Motion Graphics” course, highlighting the creation and integration of motion graphics into video production. “It’s an introductory class to motion graphics that gives students a chance to learn one of the industry’s main tools: After Effects,” he said.

Having built and led award-winning motion graphic design teams, which have been responsible for creating Film and Television graphics packages for some of largest studio marketing campaigns in the world, Carlton is well suited to provide students direction. Carlton said he hopes to transform his classroom setting into a professional environment, where students gain tangible experience.

Carlton credits Kenn Gaither, associate professor and associate dean of the School of Communications, for first planting the idea of teaching a course. “I think Kenn casually mentioned to me – after one of our board meetings – if I considered going into teaching, to which I replied that I had been starting to consider that possibility during the past year,” Carlton recalled. “A few months later, we discussed the possibility of leading a Winter Term motion graphics class, and I was more than eager to accept. I always thought I’d love to have the opportunity to teach higher education at some point, and I am very grateful to be here.”

Elon’s close and inviting campus community has always been appealing, Carlton added, reminding him of his own undergraduate studies at Georgetown College, a small, private liberal arts institution located in Kentucky. He later earned an MFA at the University of Cincinnati.

Coincidentally, it was a connection to Georgetown that first led Carlton to Elon. Brooke Barnett, a professor in the School of Communications and interim associate provost for inclusive community, was a close college friend and his link to Elon. The benefits of Carlton’s relationship with the School have been mutual, with Carlton hosting as many as six Elon students as interns during his board tenure.

“Years ago when I was asked to serve on the advisory board, I really liked the idea of being able to contribute and stay connected with higher education, while continuing in my professional career,” he said. “I had always hoped that one day I would have the opportunity to enter the classroom and share my years of professional experience and knowledge. I guess now I will have that chance to see what leading a class is like.” 

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