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Arkansas State University


Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts

Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts, Professor

"New technologies are introduced daily that change the way we communicate. People who are prepared for the changes by applying theoretical approaches in practical situations will be the people the industry wants to employ."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. — University of Southern Mississippi, 1993
  • MSMC — Arkansas State University, 1987
  • B.S. — Arkansas State University, 1983

Career Highlights:

Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts focuses her research on how new technology impacts media outlets and their delivery of content. She has published articles in a variety of publications and currently serves as the Mass Communication Section coordinator for the Western Social Science Association. She is also the advisor to the ASU-TV cable channel. Dr. Pitts has been a faculty member at ASU since 1988.

Dr. Pitts works with local schools assisting them with content and technology support. She currently works with elementary students to produce newscasts using iPad technology. She serves on the board of the Jonesboro Public Schools' Business, Communication, Arts and Law academy at the Academies of Jonesboro.

In which online degree programs do you teach?

M.S. in Media Management

Which classes do you teach online?

Media Management Applications/Capstone, Media Entrepreneurship, Audience Market Analysis, and Theory of Mass Communication

What do you want students to learn in your classes?

I hope students learn the art of inquiry.

What advice would you give to those considering the online MSMM program?

It is my hope that students obtain the skills needed to advance their careers through this program. When one works on a master's degree, your thinking processes are expected to change and your approaches to problem-solving change with the addition of new knowledge on how people think and process information. Approaching problems with theory as a foundation makes individuals better employees and better entrepreneurs. The best advice is to hang on for the ride and read, read and read some more. And lastly, use faculty members to help you. Don't see the faculty as sitting in some ivory tower where they are not approachable. Our faculty want you to succeed in the program. Reach out to faculty to get assistance.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in this program?

Hopefully, we are creating communication specialist that can work in every form of business, whether in media or dealing with communications in other industries. We must all communicate our messages for success. Hopefully, you will have a sense of inquiry that will lead you in this field of study.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that people in the profession face today?

The media and telecommunication industry is changing faster than we might have ever imagined. New technologies are introduced daily that change the way we communicate. People who are prepared for the changes by applying theoretical approaches in practical situations will be the people the industry wants to employ. We hope this degree will help people become more marketable in communication.

Why did you start teaching?

While working in television, I was told that I was a very good teacher, as I trained many employees. From that point, my goals shifted a bit from working in television to working with changing lives, one teaching lesson at a time.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

"The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

Here is something students could talk about with me if they were caught having to walk down a long hallway with me: I love to fish for trout in the White River here in Arkansas. You should come visit sometime and see the crystal clear waters of our great state of Arkansas.

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