Five full-time faculty members with strong professional and educational backgrounds joined the ranks of teacher-scholars in the School of Communications in fall 2016.
The School of Communications welcomed five new full-time faculty members in fall 2016, including three educators already familiar with the Elon University community and its students. The five additions bring the school’s number of full-time faculty to 60.
New faculty members, in alphabetical order, are:
Kelly Furnas, former executive director of the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and assistant professor at Kansas State University, serves as a lecturer in communications at Elon. Additionally, he is the adviser and mentor for The Pendulum and other platforms in the merged Elon News Network newsroom this fall.
A graduate of Kansas State, where he majored in journalism, Furnas was night editor at the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida for four years, while also earning a master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University. He later moved west to become assistant business editor of the Las Vegas Sun and managing editor of a weekly business journal.
In 2005, he began five years at Virginia Tech as editorial adviser for Educational Media Co., where he trained, critiqued and motivated students across media platforms. Furnas returned to his alma mater six years ago to teach and lead JEA, the nation’s largest scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers. JEA is housed on Kansas State’s campus.
Joy Goodwin, executive producer of the 2013 feature film “Black Nativity” and an Emmy Award recipient as a writer for ABC Sports, is an assistant professor at Elon. Because she has two major film projects underway this fall, she will join the school at mid-year.
The accomplished writer and producer earned a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before beginning two years as a public policy analyst at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif.
Goodwin then served as an associate producer for ABC Sports in New York, producing features and special reports at live sporting events around the world. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary in 2002 as a writer for ABC’s Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary Special. In 2006, she was newsroom co-director for NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.
Meanwhile, she authored a book, “The Second Mark: Courage, Corruption, and the Battle for Olympic Gold” (Simon & Schuster, 2004), which Sports Illustrated named one of the 10 best books of the year. Additionally, she spent five years as head of creative development for an independent film company and coproduced six films between 2008 and 2013. Most recently, she was co-producer of “May in the Summer,” which opened the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Since 2008 Goodwin has taught extensively, including at Duke University, New York University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sana Haq, previously an adjunct instructor at Elon as well as at Wake Forest and Greensboro College, has been named an assistant professor. In addition to earning an MFA at Wake Forest, she received a bachelor’s degree in her native Pakistan and an MBA at the Lahore School of Economics before working two years in Islamabad, including as a marketing executive for Dawn Media Group.
At Wake Forest, Haq completed an MFA in Documentary Film with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Her advanced project, titled “The Other Army,” won second place for documentary in the 2014 collegiate Emmys (College Television Awards). The documentary about Pakistanis fighting terrorism in their home country also won the jury award from the Directors Guild of America in New York for her work as a student filmmaker.
Other documentary shorts by Haq have been selected for the Neuro Film Festival of the American Academy of Neurology, Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, Real to Reel Film Festival, River Run International Film Festival and South Asia film festivals.
Doug Kass, who has taught at Elon since 2008 while remaining professionally active, has been named an assistant professor.
He earned a bachelor’s degree and twice was the Frank Capra Prize recipient at Wesleyan University, then completed a master’s degree in cinematic arts at the University of Southern California.
Kass spent four years as a supervising producer/director for E! Entertainment Television and six years as creative director for the On Air Promotions Department at Sony Entertainment Television before returning to the East Coast. His work as a writer, producer or director has appeared on Showtime, BBC, Nickelodeon and PBS. Most recently, he has been a freelance commercial and short film director for projects ranging from IBM webisodes to a United Way student-athlete campaign.
His 2013 documentary “Emptying the Skies,” based on Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker article exposing mass bird slaughter in the Mediterranean and the secret war to stop it, was critically acclaimed by The New York Times and won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Ryan Witt, formerly a video producer on Elon’s Teaching & Learning Technologies staff, serves as a lecturer in communications. He also taught as an adjacent instructor in the school during the 2015-16 academic year.
Witt earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Kent State University and a master’s degree in film and television from Savannah College of Art & Design. Before coming to Elon in 2011, he worked for five years as a videographer, editor and producer at WPSU Public Broadcasting (Penn State) and WOSU Public Media (Ohio State), where he won a regional Emmy for his work on a PBS documentary.
His recent portfolio includes being director of photography and editor of “Cake,” which won Best Film at the 48 Hour Film Festival in Greensboro in 2012 and was screened at the Filmapalooza festival in Los Angeles in 2013. Additionally, he was executive producer and editor of the humorous “Toll Booth” commercial, named a semifinalist in Doritos’ 2015 “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.