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Robin Broughton, Ph.D., Media Studies Graduate Coordinator, has been a professor of communications and media studies at West Virginia State University, where she teaches courses in media law, new media and rhetoric & criticism, for the past 20 years. She considers herself an avid fan of pop culture, the Tour de France, outdoor adventure, new media, world travel and family life. Broughton grew up in Marietta, Ohio. After high school, she spent a summer as part of a water skiing show, performing as a “pyramider” (one of the girls on top of the pyramid). She then attended Ohio University, where she graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She then spent a year in California working for The Monterey Bay Tribune and covering Carmel city council meetings. This gave her the opportunity to meet Clint Eastwood, who was the mayor of Carmel at that time and who just happens to be her sixth cousin. After California, she returned to Ohio University to complete her master’s degree in Philosophy (writing her thesis on journalism ethics) in 1990. After a couple of years working as a reporter for The Marietta Times and as public relations coordinator for the West Virginia Symphony, Broughton accepted a teaching position at West Virginia State University in 1991, teaching journalism and public relations courses. In 1996, she gave birth to her son Tristan. She took a 2-year sabbatical from 1998-99 to return to OU for doctoral study. She received a Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication in 1999. She successfully defended her dissertation (a rhetorical critique of the book “Final Exit”) while 9 months pregnant with her daughter, Keatan. Returning to WVSU shortly after her birth, she continued teaching Communications courses as well as graduate courses in the Media Studies Program. She has presented papers at three international communications conferences as well many regional and state conferences. Broughton competes in mountain bike races and adventure triathlons during the summer months. She is author of the book "Mountain Biker's Guide to West Virginia" (Quarrier Press, 2006) and “A Guide to West Virginia Rail-Trails” (Quarrier Press, 2010). Her travels include East Africa, Australia, the Czech Republic, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Iceland. She lives in “the middle of the woods” in Winfield, WV, with her husband Paul and kids, “Darth Tristan,” 15, and “Princess” Keatan, 11. She and her family are proud “parents” of 3 dogs, 5 cats and a horse.


Professor Steve Gilliland, MA, is a full-time professor at West Virginia State University. With a degree from the University of Arkansas in Communication with emphasis in Film and Video, he specializes in animation and video production. Steve Gilliland's life story is short because he's:

a) just so dang mysterious.
b) in the Federal Witness Protection program.
c) tried to write one, but his life was so dull that he kept nodding off.
d) out of time and fearing the wrath of the department's web committee.

Please submit your answer to sgilliland@wvstateu.edu for a prompt reply.



Dr. Barbara Ladner was born in Houston, Texas, where she lived till college graduation from Rice University. She had a large extended family in Houston and was very involved in choir and youth activities at the First Baptist Church of Houston. After graduation, she moved to New Haven, Connecticut, with her first husband. They attended graduate school at Yale and after five years moved to Berkeley, California, for further study. While there, Barbara worked for the University of California at Berkeley and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Until she experienced the beauty of West Virginia, the San Francisco Bay Area was her favorite place and dream place to live. After California, they moved to New York City. They worked at Columbia University and lived in the neighborhood, until they separated and Barbara moved to a revitalizing and very diverse part of Brooklyn. While in New York, Barbara was a singer and board member of the Riverside Choral Society. Barbara met David Castleberry when the choir hired him as director. Shortly before they moved to West Virginia (when David got a job at Marshall) they were married. They took a 40-voice choir from David’s New York job on their European honeymoon and learned of the job offer at Marshall on their return.

Professor Susan Marrash-Minnerly is a Professor of theatre at West Virginia State University. She has a B.A in Theatre and English from Converse College, a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Virginia, and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. For eleven years prior to moving to WV, she was head of the Acting Program in the Department of Dance and Theatre at UNC Charlotte. She has worked – for longer than she cares to admit! -- as a professional actor in theatres in the Southeast as well as Third Eye Repertory in New York. Always believing in her motto that “if it can’t be art, it might as well be lucrative,” she has also performed in national, regional, and local commercials/industrial films for everything from McDonald’s hotcakes to Flintstone vitamins to school bus safety in which she was the driver with 40 children, 2 dogs, a hamster, and a goat! She is a proud member of AEA (Actor’s Equity Association) and SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild, although currently inactive).





Ms. Sherri Shafer, MA, has been an instructor for five years for the Communications and Media Studies program. She teaches speech, television production, advanced television production, mass communications, writing for the media, radio/television news casting, and media systems management. She also oversees the undergraduate internships. Mrs. Shafer is a graduate of Marshall University where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. She is currently working on her Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees simultaneously. She worked for several years in television news and also dabbled in consulting. She took several years off from her career to devote time to her family which consists of three children, Matt, Alyse, and Rachel and her husband, David. She has published several articles and presented at regional and international conferences. She also serves as the advisor for the West Virginia State University chapter of the National Broadcasting Society Alpha Epsilon Rho; having won advisor of the year 2010-2011 in Los Angeles, California. In addition, she is the advisor for the Yellow Jacket newspaper. Mrs. Shafer serves on multiple campus committees and actively volunteers in the Kanawha Valley with several organizations including the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association and the West Virginia State Army National Guard. She is also an active member of the First Baptist Church of St. Albans. Her miniature dachshund, Beans, recently won first place in the Westside Wiener Dog races in Charleston, WV. When Mrs. Shafer gets a chance to relax, she enjoys traveling, baking, and reading. Lastly, she is a self-proclaimed chocoholic.


Dr. Marc Porter, MFA and Ph.D.,is a Professor of Communications and Media Studies. He earned a BA in Political Science, Indiana University; an MFA in Film, Columbia University, NY; and a PhD in Instructional Systems, Indiana University. Movies, and lately series television, have thrilled, seduced, gratified, and even edified him from childhood to this day. His inclinations and education have continuously expanded on his early, yet modest, talents, into one who professionally teaches and practices as a filmmaker and a scholar. He considers himself to be a senior professor of the UG major and Graduate program. In other words, he’s the oldest “Pyled higher and Deeper (Ph.D)” member of the faculty. That albatross of age is continuously renewed as a phoenix, one who considers himself to be exceptionally blessed to teach, mentor, and learn from unique, creative, proactive, and committed younger and much younger students. He has been privileged to study with Richard Barsam, Frantisek Daniel, Milos Forman, Harry Geduld, James Naremore, Nicholas Proferes, Samson Rafaelson, Andrew Sarris, Thomas Schatz, and more, many of whom were Columbia University Film Division faculty and artists-in-residence. Furthermore, Prof. Porter has been selected to participate in professional film seminars and workshops sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS), Directors Guild of American (DGA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), International Radio and Television (IRTS), which awarded him the Stephen H. Coltrin Award for Excellence in Communications Education. In addition, he improved his screenwriting via professional workshops taught by Michael Hauge, Robert McKee, John Truby, and Richard Walter. Dr. Porter has served as a fulltime faculty member at the University of South Alabama, Brooklyn College (CUNY), and the most fulfilling of all, West Virginia State University. Additional brief teaching assignments have run the gamut, from visiting screenwriting instructor, Deutsche Film-Und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), Berlin, Germany, to lecturer of a slew of Elderhostel Programs. He has been honored to serve as Judge: Region I, Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship and presenter of jury-selected scholarship for multiple national and regional annual conferences of the University Film and Video Association (UFVA), Popular Culture Association (PCA), the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), and the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). Dr. Porter has variously produced, written, directed, filmed, and edited more than 50 films, predominantly documentaries, produced 28 television programs, and written seven feature-length narrative screenplays. Honors include having films screened by invitation at the Festival del la Louisiane, Noirt, France, The New Orleans Film and Video Festival, the Center for Gulf South History & Culture Film Festival, and the WV Cultural Center Artist Series. Feature-length narrative screenplays Rise and Shine which was selected as 1 of 10 finalists in the national FOCUS Screenwriting Competition, and The Craving, which was a juried choice for actors’ dramatic interpretation at a recent UFVA annual conference. Professor Porter has presented 25 scholarly papers, in as many years (1986-2011), for 10 different academic and professional venues. Several of his most recent papers—including “The Rise of Feminine Action Heroes”, “The Female Warrior in Films and Digital Games: Amazon, Artemis, Anima?”, and “She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed: Archetypal Symbols of the Feminine in Recent Films” reflect his most recent scholarly interests. The above-mentioned privileges and accomplishments have provided him with the knowledge and experience to teach and mentor graduate and undergraduate students at West Virginia State University. The Communications Department courses he teaches: 140 Film Appreciation, 240 Film History: the Narrative Tradition, 245 Film History: the Documentary Tradition, 345 Film Theory, Criticism and Genres, 241 Filmmaking, and 348 Screenwriting. Dr. Porter was instrumental in developing and implementing the WVSU Media Studies Graduate Program, in which he teaches MS 500 Media Design, MS 541 Digital Video Production, MS 645 Film Theory, MS 655 Film History, and serves as director and advisor for several Masters Theses. He genuinely looks forward to participating in more student thesis projects in filmmaking and screenwriting. Dr. Porter has admitted to few non-film or television-related personal interests. For example, consistent with his current research interests as stated above, most recently he has been re-watching last year’s and anticipating this year’s HBO fantastic series Game of Thrones. Who can’t avoid wondering what will happen next to the fire-reborn young warrior woman, Daenerys Targaryen, who wears screeching baby dragons! Equally compelling for Marc is searching blogs to find out if Kate Beckinsale will star in the 4th Underworld film. There are two personal interests, however, that are foremost and daily in his life: one, an abundance of cats he loves, enjoys, and provides for with his best friend, Christy Whitehair; the other, a “foodie”, indulging his pleasure in the research, preparation and eating from diverse cuisines. He owns more than 50 cookbooks and scans half a dozen online food recipe sites After reviewing this entry for the faculty bio, he went home to make crawfish etouffe, a celebration of Creole cuisine, while they watch the HBO series Treme, a celebration of New Orleans music.


Professor Daniel Boyd, MFA, Boyd, a West Virginian, has degrees in Communications (West Virginia University) and Filmmaking (University of Arkansas). Beginning his filmmaking career making documentaries, Boyd’s early projects took him from the hobo “jungles” of the U.S. (HOMELESS BROTHER) to the war-torn mountains of Guatemala (MARCOS DE SAN MARCOS). Several of Boyd’s short narrative films were featured on regional and national television in the early and mid-eighties. His first feature film, CHILLERS, was released in 1988. Still in international video and television distribution, this horror feature was awarded the Silver Scroll for excellence from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in Los Angeles. Boyd’s second feature, a science fiction/comedy, STRANGEST DREAMS (aka, INVASION OF THE SPACE PREACHERS), premiered on the USA Network in 1991. It remains in domestic and international video and television distribution through TROMA. Boyd’s third feature film, PARADISE PARK (aka, HEROES OF THE HEART), a dramatic- fantasy, received Gold Awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, was selected for the Breckenridge Festival of Film and the American Film Institute’s, American Independents series. Currently distributed by Vintage Home Entertainment as HEROES OF THE HEART. A professor of media studies at West Virginia State University since 1983, Boyd has actively involved his filmmaking students in his professional projects. In 1994, Boyd established the Paradise Film Institute at WVSU for the purpose of supporting filmmaking in the state through resource services, production support, foreign exchanges and continuing education. PFI has established travel/study/production exchange partnerships with film schools in Tanzania, Russia, the Czech Republic, Venezuela and Belize. As a three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Boyd taught the first filmmaking and screenwriting classes at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 98-99 academic year in East Africa. Recipient of a 2002 Fulbright Alumni Award, Boyd partnered with the University of Dar es Salaam on the pilot program TeleDrum (teaching filmmaking to American and African students while producing films for international aid organizations), resulting in the award- winning films, DUARA and SOUND THE DRUM. Boyd has also photographed and/or written many travel-adventure related freelance articles for numerous publications, including Wonderful West Virginia Magazine. His first-person experiences have included dirt track car racing, rodeo bull riding, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and bicycling hundreds of miles of West Virginia outback. While researching an article in the fall of 2004, at 48, Boyd was able to experience a life-long dream of working in professional wrestling. Six-plus years later, he remains involved. Since forming the tag team of “The Grapes of Wrath,” Boyd (Professor Danger) and fellow middle- aged wrestler, William Bitner (Death Falcon Zero), have worked well over 150 matches, for nearly a dozen federations. Boyd also worked for Rings of Europe in Austria and AAA in Mexico. Boyd again teamed with Bitner to co-write the illustrated novel, DEATH FALCON ZERO VS. THE ZOMBIE SLUG LORDS (2008). Rekindling his childhood love of comic books, Boyd has embraced the modern graphic novel format, as he sees as “cinema on the page,” as his current primary creative outlet. His graphic novels, CHILLERS and CARBON are now in production. Citing Rod Serling as his biggest professional influence, Boyd believes that often the more serious and controversial a subject, the more “sensational” the storytelling devices need to be in order to reach a larger audience. “We must entertain before we can enlighten,” says Boyd. “Films of the fantastic and graphic novels can often make sensitive issues more approachable.” A former National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Boyd has also won awards in documentary, horror, comedy and dramatic filmmaking, as well as screenwriting. He was named, “Filmmaker of the Year” by the WV Filmmakers Festival in 2003. Two of Boyd’s archeology documentaries, RED SALT & REYNOLDS (04) and GHOSTS OF GREEN BOTTOM (05), won national Telly awards, and both were regional Emmy nominees. The third in the series, SECRETS OF THE VALLEY – PRE HISTORY OF THE KANAWAH was released in late 2010, premiering on WV PBS in December. In 2006, Boyd was inducted into the West Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame for his contributions to the music genre through his film work. Boyd’s oldest daughter, Danielle, is a practicing attorney in Charleston, and his youngest, Georgia, is earning her MBA at West Virginia University.


Dr. Ali Ziyati Ph.D., is a professor of communications and media studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication (Ohio University) in 1995, Master of Arts in Telecommunications (Ohio University) in 1992, and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Institut Superieur de journalisme, Rabat, Morocco) in 1987. He is currently Associate Professor in the department of Communication and Media Studies at West Virginia State University where he teaches Public Relations, Social Media, Integrated Marketing Communication, Research Methods, etc. Prior to joining WVSU in the Fall of 2011, Dr. Ziyati was Associate Professor at Marietta College, Marietta, OH (2007-2011). He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Mass Communication and Public Relations at Ajman University in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has also held teaching positions at the Institut Superieur de l’Information et de la Communication (ISIC), the International Institute of Higher Education in Morocco (IIHEM) and the Institute of Languages and Communication Studies (ILCS) in Rabat, Morocco. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Ohio University where he taught Public Speaking, Introduction to Mass Communication, Research Methods, and Intercultural Communication. He was also a visiting professor at Lock Haven (PA) University.


Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed, Media Research, Public Relations

Dr. Reidun Ovrebo is a professor of graphic design and art history. She has earned Norwegian degrees in Media & Communication; Religion; and Drama Theater, Film.

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