Grady College honors its 2015 Outstanding Teaching Faculty

In recognition of outstanding service, influential and stimulating instruction, and willingness to nurture student success, five Grady College faculty members have been chosen by their peers as Outstanding Teaching Faculty.   

They are Michael Cacciatore, assistant professor of public relations; Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, lecturer in digital and broadcast journalism; Shira Chess, assistant professor of mass media arts; Peggy Kreshel, associate professor of advertising; and Vicki Michaelis, John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism.  

“This year’s outstanding teachers represent the very best of classroom and experiential instruction at Grady College,” said Dean Charles Davis. “The recipients, like all Grady faculty, can be found at all hours, in the classroom and in the hallways, giving students the extra attention it takes to train professional communicators. Year after year, our alumni say that it is the dedication to teaching that makes Grady truly special.”

Cacciatore teaches research methodology and introduction to public relations. His research focuses on risk communication with an emphasis on media coverage of risk and opinion formation for risk topics.

Tom Reichert, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, lauded Cacciatore’s efforts to ensure his students understand PR research. “He’s knocking it out of the park on every level,” Reichert said. 

With more than 30 years of experience in various television news positions including anchor, investigative reporter, executive producer and news director, Cantrell-Bickley works with the Newsource faculty and been instrumental in moving the daily newscast toward a digital-first product.

“When you walk into Newsource, Dodie is a fireball of energy, mentoring our student reporters, and they love and respect her. She is a great role model for all our DBJ students, but especially the women,” said Janice Hume, head of the Department of Journalism.

In addition to her teaching role, Cantrell-Bickley serves as the adviser of the UGA DiGamma Kappa Broadcasting Society.

Chess teaches courses in media studies and media writing. Her research focuses on digital media studies with an emphasis on gender and gaming.

“Shira brings a spirit of innovation to her classes, both large lecture ones and small writing seminars,” said Andy Kavoori, head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “She is immersed in the world of new media and gaming and brings those sensibilities to the entertainment and media studies curriculum.” 

Kreshel, who joined the AdPR faculty in 1986, teaches advertising in society, media planning, and media culture and diversity. Her research focuses on advertising professionalization, ethics, and history and media and gender issues. Reichert described her as “very committed to students and the learning enterprise.”

Michaelis teaches sports reporting and writing and social media as it relates to sports. She is director of GradySports, the college’s new sports media initiative that gives students real-world experience in covering high school, college, professional and Olympic sports.

“Vicki (working with Welch Suggs) developed our sports media program from scratch, and launched it to rave reviews, in record time,” said Hume. “She also built our Grady Sports Bureau, an extracurricular activity that gives students a pipeline to publication. We are lucky to have her on our team.”

The Outstanding Teaching Faculty were recognized during the college’s faculty and staff appreciation reception on April 29 in the new Peyton Anderson Forum.

Date: May 1, 2015
Author:  Stephanie Moreno,