April 2023 Spotlight- Charles Whiting
With our final spotlight for the 2022-2023 academic year, there is no better faculty member to showcase than Motlow's own 2023 Faculty SOAR Awards nominee, Charles Whiting.
As a member of the Motlow faculty, Charles has spearheaded several new courses for our Mass Communications program. These include Survey of New Media, Media Writing, and Introduction to Electronic Media. These segue way very well with his extracurricular endeavors. He is the creator and editor of the Motlow Buzz, the college’s student-based news outlet. Through the Buzz, Charles hosts a platform for his students to publish stories, interviews, and photographs to build their portfolios. In addition, he is the founder and co- advisor of the Smyrna Entertainment, Arts, and Media (SEAM) Club. Thanks to his leadership, the SEAM Club has offered several opportunities for students to showcase their musical and spoken word talents in Motlow’s bi-annual talent shows. He also built Motlow’s Mac Lab to give students the necessary technology to develop their media and podcast projects. For this, he was recognized as one of Motlow’s 2022 Faculty Excellence Award winners.
Charles uses his talents to help faculty members as well- both at Motlow and at our sister institutions. He currently serves as the Technology Enhanced Learning Coordinator for Motlow’s Academic Resource Center. In this role, he mentors faculty members as they incorporate technology into their classrooms in meaningful ways that enhance student learning. One example of this is using VR technology in history courses to give students the opportunity to virtually experience historical places and events. Thanks to his hard work and mentorship, 35 Fall 2022 courses earned the Technology Enhanced Learning HIPs endorsement. On a statewide level, Charles also serves as the TBR Technology Enhanced Learning Co-Ambassador. In this position, he hosts several meetings throughout the semester open to TBR faculty members across the state, working with them to develop technological enhancements in their classrooms.
In addition to his work with faculty and students, Charles also strives to bring state and local connections to Motlow. He hosts the “Famous Communicators Series,” an event in which guest speakers in the fields of writing, music, publishing, and politics discuss the ups and downs of their careers with the Motlow community. This gives unique opportunities for Motlow’s students to network with successful people in their chosen careers. While the pandemic stalled many things, Charles took this as an opportunity to branch the “Famous Communicators Series” even further, using the virtual stage to bring even more professionals to the table with our students. Charles also works with political commentators such as Representative Mike Sparks and Dr. Bill Kraus as part of their podcast/radio shows to strengthen Motlow’s ties with its broader communities.
Furthermore, Charles has created several platforms which give emerging artists, including Motlow students, alumni, and community members, the opportunity to develop and grow their careers. Music City Arts Update is a blog that provides emerging artists a place to spotlight their musical and artistic creations. His Publicizing Your Dreams seminars offer support in public relations, advertising, and press releases for artists and entrepreneurs. These seminars have been held live in Tennessee and Virginia but have also gone global via the virtual market. The “Tunesmithing” monthly show gives emerging musical acts and songwriters the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Although his Motlow Faculty Excellence Award is his newest accolade, he has also been recognized by the Association of Business Communicators, the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Sigma Delta Chi, and the Songwriters Guild of America.
Because of him, Motlow’s students and faculty explore new, technological areas that better enhance their learning experiences and their careers. Charles does not do any of the things described above to better himself but rather to benefit Motlow’s students and the community at large. He has seen the need for mentorship and support and has provided those opportunities to help the success stories of the future.