Reisner to develop experiential learning opportunities as College of Media Dean’s Fellow

Ann Reisner

Ann Reisner, associate professor of media and cinema studies, wants to help students learn by doing.

She will do this through a process called “experiential learning,” which allows students to develop knowledge and skills through methods outside the classroom, a priority identified in the College of Media strategic plan. 

Reisner, along with Jason Chambers, associate professor of advertising, was just appointed by Dean Tracy Sulkin as inaugural College of Media Dean’s Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year.

There will be a special emphasis on providing experiential learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Reisner’s activities will include initiatives like coordinating the college’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, evaluating platforms for student work, and creating a system to connect faculty with students who are interested in independent studies and research assistant opportunities.

She will also be working to provide templates for travel-based experiential learning, and she will be serving on campus committees and task forces.

“I believe that my primary responsibilities will be in fostering undergraduate research, and making the process of encouraging undergraduate research smoother on the administrative end,” Reisner said.

Reisner’s course specialties include environmental communications, agriculture communications, research methods, media activism, and sociology of the press. She is currently developing a monograph that will examine how to use media research to create policy at the individual, group, and national levels. She is also working on a separate text about the role of environmental film in mobilization.

Reisner received her bachelor’s from the University of Wisconson-Oshkosh in microbiology and public health. She then went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her master’s in agricultural journalism and her PhD in mass communications with a minor in sociology.

She started off working as a laboratory scientist for a couple years, but eventually decided that she didn’t want to work in a lab anymore. After earning her master’s, she became an extension journalist and spent a couple of years in the Philippines with the Peace Corps.

“I think I went into media because I’ve always been fascinated by reality as a social construct,” Reisner said. “I mean, people do socially construct a reality and then say it’s reality. The first thing I was interested in was more or less how does news construct public reality.”

But now, Reisner said she is fascinated in how advocates for environmentalism can get the public to solve climate change.

“How can we go about advocating in such a way that we can get the public will and then the political will to solve this horrendous problem?” Reisner asked. “It’s literally a life or death problem for the species.”

—Story by Marissa Plescia, Communications and Marketing Intern. Photo by Madeline Wilson (BS '20, journalism).