Department of Communication and Journalism

Children's Programming Political Communication
Communication and Leadership Telecommunication Law and Regulation


All faculty experts can be reached through the Office of Communication and Marketing by calling Janel Shoun at 615.966.7078 or Kim Chaudoin at 615.966.6494 or by submitting an online  media resources request by clicking here.

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Alan Griggs
Academic Chair, Department of Communication and Journalism
Professor of Communication and Journalism

M.A., Organizational Communication, Western Kentucky University
A.B.J., Journalism, University of Georgia
Certified Crisis Expert, Institute for Crisis Management, Louisville, Kentucky

George Foster Peabody Award
Edward R. Murrow Award
Robert F. Kennedy Award
DuPont-Columbia Citation
National Headliner Award
George Polk Award
Finalist, National Emmy
Finalist, Nieman Fellowship, Harvard University

Professional Experience
Writer/Producer/Reporter, “Tennessee’s Wild Side,” 2001 – present
Associate Professor, Tennessee State University, 2009 – 2011
Guest Lecturer, Emory and Henry College Communication Department, 2007
Director of Media Strategy, United Methodist Communications, 1995 – 2001
Western Kentucky University, 1998 – 2002
Marketing Director, Film House, Inc., 1994 – 1995
Communications Director, U.S. Senate Campaign of Congressman Jim Cooper, 1994
Institute for Crisis Management, 1998 – 2005
News Director, WSMV-TV, 1984 – 1994
University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, 1989
News Manager, 1981 – 1984
News Reporter, WSM-TV, WSMV-TV and WBZ-TV (Boston) 1974 – 1981
University of Tennessee, Nashville, 1979
News Reporter, WAPI-TV (Birmingham) 1972 – 1974

Professional Information
Member, Broadcast Educators Association
Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors
Member, Society of Professional Journalists

Research Information
Flying Flak Alley: Personal Accounts of World War II Bomber Combat
Pony: The Life and Tales of Pony Maples, Jr.
The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Employee Assistance Programs and Productivity

Interesting Information
The Joshua Project – mentor to several students
Presenter at the Tennessee High School Press Association

Aerial Ellis
Instructor of Public Relations

-- M.S., Mass Communication, Middle Tennessee State University
-- B.S., Speech Communication and Theatre, Tennessee State University

Recognized nationally as one of PR News 15-to-watch
Nashville’s Top 30 under 30
Nashville Emerging Leader
100 Urban Entrepreneurs

Professional Experience
Owner/Public Relations Consultant, duGard Ellis Public Relations, 2004 – present
Public Information Officer, Tennessee State University Media Relations, 2007 – 2011
Radio Operations Manager, Tennessee State University Department of Communications, 2005
Interim Marketing and Promotions Director, Promotions Assistant, Cumulus Media, Inc., 2002 – 2005

Professional Information
Member, Public Relations Society of America
Member, TSU Mass Communications Advisory Board
Member, National Association of Black Journalists

Interesting Information
Wrote a PR e-book aimed at guiding the careers of professional athletes
Launched her first public relations company at the age of 22

Linda Peek Schacht
Executive Director of the Institute for Civic Leadership

B.S. - Lipscomb University
M.A. - Ohio State University

Professional Experience
Spokesperson for the Senate Majority Leader in the White House Press Office
Liaison in the Carter White House Office of Media Relations
Campaign press secretary for the 1980 Carter-Mondale campaign
Director of communications for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee
Served on bipartisan international Senate delegations
Held key communication positions for four Democratic conventions
Served as chairman, vice president, and global communication and public affairs strategist for Coca-Cola
Public affairs director for USA Today
Senior fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government
Held positions in the Centre for Public Leadership and the Centre for Business and Government at Harvard University
Chair for Emerson College's Organizational and Political Communication Department

Professional Information
She is a long-time board member of the International Women's Media Foundation
She represented Coca-Cola at the World Economic Forum


Deborah Taylor Tate
B.A. - University of Tennessee
J.D. - University of Tennessee
Vanderbilt Law School
Professional Experience
-- Former Federal Communication Commissioner: 2006 - 2009
-- Former chairman and director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority
-- Former director at Vanderbilt's Institute on Public Policy
-- Distinguished Adjunct Senior Fellow at Free State Foundation
-- Board of Directors of Healthstream Inc.
    Leading provider of online learning and research solutions for healthcare industry.
-- Minority and Media Telecommunications Council
    A national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting civil rights in the mass media and telecommunications industries.
-- Board of Directors at Common Sense Media
    A nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by serving as a national advocacy leader in a new digtal age.
-- The Community Foundation Board of Middle Tennessee
-- Nashville Bar Foundation
-- Licensed attorney
-- Rule 31 mediator
2009 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day Laureate • Recognized by Common Sense Media as "Children's Commissioner • 2010 Participant in first annual "Education Nation" hosted by NBC News • Honoree at Tennessee State Broadcasters Convention (2009) • Invited VIP at  2009 World Telecom in Geneva, Switzerland • Invited VIP speaker at 2010 Shangai World Expo • Honored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (2010)