The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Of the 60 new faculty members at Fresno State this fall, about 22% of the new hires are in the College of Arts and Humanities. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse disciplines and technical expertise to our college, strengthening our programs across many of our disciplines.

Below is our final New Faces article for the 2017-2018 school year, highlighting two new faculty members in the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism.

Department of Media, Communications and JournalismNancy Van Leuven

Dr. Nancy Van Leuven joins the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from the University of Washington.

Van Leuven is an award-winning instructor who has also worked for many clients in the areas of marketing, public relations and community development, from the Southern California Association of Governments to the International Red Cross and the American Lung Association.

As a Native American scholar, her most recent research explores issues in global communication and the environment, with a focus on women and indigenous populations within social justice and international development frameworks.

She has published and presented research on health care for rural populations, how social media is embedded in public agencies and why global-change initiatives, such as the United NationsSustainable Development Goals, face obstacles with Western audiences.

Currently, Van Leuven serves as a board member and secretary for the International Environmental Communication Association and is co-founder and president for a nonprofit, Global Spark. Her personal interests include golden retrievers, edible gardens and the “Great British Bake-Off” series.

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I’m most looking forward to being part of a community of students and colleagues who share common goals. I can feel the buzz of excitement from students and staff. The energy is invigorating and I’m excited to be part of the Bulldog community!

Q: Can you tell me how you became involved in your specialty area?  

A: I’ve always loved writing and my skills as a newspaper reporter helped me jump into advertising and public relations. One client led to another, from corporate groups to public agencies and then nonprofits.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the MCJ Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I’m both an academic and practitioner in my areas of expertise. That is, I have real-world experience as a communications and public relations professional, having worked for many corporate and nonprofit agencies during the course of my career, and I have a Ph.D. in communication, which gives me a foundation in theory and application. I’m excited to share all I’ve learned with my students to help guide them toward their professional goals.

Q: What are you reading?

A: Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give.” This is a can’t miss novel that examines – powerfully – today’s racial and judicial landscape. Read this book!

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: Drew Daywalt’s “The Day the Crayons Quit,” a fun take on the importance of change and growth, and keeping an open heart for both. It’s a terrific reminder for all ages!

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I am baking my way through the “Great British Bake-Off” cookbook. My friends and family, who reap the rewards of my efforts, have been SO supportive of this journey.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: My experience is that students come to class with the best, most interesting questions – questions that enhance and further the learning environment – yet they often don’t ask their questions out of fear or uncertainty. Ask questions! I want your questions! Together, we can find the answers.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: For fall 2017, my office hours are 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and by appointment, in McKee Fisk 230. Of course, students are always welcome to stop by anytime!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I’m excited to start teaching at Fresno State! How could I not be? I’m joining a community that cares about its mission – helping students succeed! I’m ready to be BOLD!

Wes WiseDr. Wes Wise joins the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from Kansas State University.

Wise’s academic career began while working in marketing for the Texas Tech University Division of Continuing Education. Wise received his master’s in mass communications from Texas Tech in 2008 and then left his professional job in marketing to become a graduate teaching assistant there while working on his Ph.D. He received his doctorate in 2011 and accepted an assistant professor position at the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University that same year.

At Kansas State, Wise taught advertising and research methods classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and ended his time there as the head of the advertising sequence. His research interests include the effects of unattended information on the processing of persuasive messages, and how various emotional states influence people’s memory and judgments of mediated messages.

Wise’s professional career prior to academia has spanned over 25 jobs, with some lasting as few as three days to others lasting five to 10 years. Most significant to him was the 10 years he spent at the Science Spectrum – a hands-on science and technology museum in Lubbock, Texas. While there, he served as the marketing director; however, in reality, he was the entire marketing department. Wise handled all of the museum’s advertising, public relations, marketing and media relations, despite the fact that he had no formal training in those areas (his bachelor’s degree is in philosophy/politics from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA). He remembers it to be a challenging, frustrating, educating and ultimately rewarding experience!

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I have wondered what it’s like to both live near the coast and in a blue state (until now I’ve lived in west Texas, Iowa and Kansas), so this experience is an exciting one for me and my family.

Q: Can you tell me how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: While working at the Science Spectrum, I often wondered about the effectiveness of our marketing efforts to reach the public and share our story. Advertising, marketing and PR – the standard forms of persuasive communication – have always seemed flawed to me on some level, and the concerns I had persisted and deepened over time. After changing jobs, I realized I had the chance to answer some of my questions by pursuing a research-oriented graduate degree and that’s when I entered my master’s program.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the MCJ Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I believe I can relate to many of the students here. I am a first-generation college student; I’ve worked many, many jobs that I didn’t particularly enjoy (including two or three at once); and I worked to put myself through school. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve grown from them. I hope to share my experiences so students understand that an MCJ degree opens many doors across many fields, as long as they have the determination and persistence to walk through them.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: 9:30-11 a.m. Mondays, 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesdays, 8-10 p.m. online Tuesdays

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: It worries me when students think of certain classes as a waste of their time. The purpose of college, to me, is to obtain a broad understanding of the world and our place in it, and a narrower, deeper understanding of your particular area of interest. The key to successfully using your education post-college is to bridge those types of understanding. You never know how and when something you learned outside your major – maybe in history or geology or mathematics – will come back to inspire you or prove to be relevant in your professional career.

Q: What are you reading?

A: “Strangers In Their Own Land” by Arlie Hochschild and “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: “The Death of Expertise” by Tom Nichols.

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I believe trivia quizzes should be an Olympic sport.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: Be nice to each other.