NSLC Program—Journalism, Film, and Media ArtsCommunication Impact (1 or 3 credits)
Course Description: Communication Impact introduces students to the American mass media by exploring various major issues involving the country’s media today. Students become acquainted with the media’s history, power, impact, and economic and ethical dimensions. Much of the course is geared toward students evolving into more thoughtful consumers of the American mass media. Communication Impact extends student understanding and makes connections to a variety of careers in public communication, print journalism, broadcast journalism, film and media arts.
Professor: Sarah Menke-Fish is an educator and documentary filmmaker who teaches Understanding Mass Media, Visual Literacy and television and film production courses at American University's School of Communication (AU SOC). In 2006, she participated in a faculty exchange with Tecnologico de Monterrey University in Monterrey, Mexico, that lead her to develop Cross Cultural Film and Video Production, a new course in which students from AU and ITESM, Tecnologico de Monterrey collaborate via video conference, Facebook, Skype, and email on topics of mutual cultural, political, policy or environmental interest. The AU class then produces mini documentaries in Mexico with the ITESM students that premiere in Washington, D.C. Menke-Fish also launched and directs Discover the World of Communication, a summer program that brings more than 400 high school students from around the world to AU for intense, hands-on courses in environmental communication, video production, screen writing and journalism. In 2006 she received the highest ratings possible for a professor at ITESM. In 2005 she was selected Faculty Member of the Year by the AU Student Confederation; in 2002, she received American University's award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Position.
Prior to joining the SOC faculty, Menke-Fish coordinated Montgomery County Public Schools' Humanities and Communication Magnet Program for gifted and talented students. She has won numerous awards for educational documentaries produced with middle school and high school students, including CINE awards for If You Change Your Mind, about cocaine and its effects on the brain, and Remotely Science, which encourages women and minorities to pursue science careers. She and her students received the Presidential Environmental Youth Award for Trash: What A Waste, a comprehensive look at recycling. As a new Associate Director In the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, Menke-Fish continues her outreach to high school students by partnering with AFI, MCPS and other public and private schools in the Washington Metropolitan Area to conduct filmmaking workshops on AU's campus for high school students which support Environmental Film Festivals including the MCPS Environmental Film Festival.