TCA award surprises professor

Steve Beverly observes past footage of "Jackson 24-7" with Philip Tang, junior broadcast journalism major, and Carter Lindsay, senior media communications major, during a Reporting for Broadcast Media class. | Photo by Sarah Palmer

By Courtney Searcy

“Speechless” is a word rarely, if ever, used to describe someone involved in a field like broadcast journalism.

Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, said this unusual moment came when he was announced as the Tennessee Communication Association’s “Outstanding Communication Educator of the Year.”

The award winner, according to their website, is announced each year at the TCA conference. It is given to someone who “has contributed substantially to the purposes of communication in Tennessee.”

Dr. Chris Blair, associate professor of communication arts and coordinator of digital media studies, nominated Beverly for the award.

“Steve has shown perseverance, creativity and determination through adversity, and his efforts have raised both the quality and reputation of the broadcast journalism program at Union University,” Blair wrote in the letter of recommendation.

In the past 10 years, the award has only been given to an instructor at a private institution two other times — one of them to a former Union professor, Kina Mallard. Despite the fact that Union’s department is not as large as some of the other schools within the state, the students of Beverly’s classes still produce a 30-minute show, “Jackson 24-7”, each weekday.

“Very few university programs have such an extensive and immersive learning laboratory for their students, even at much larger schools,” Blair said about Beverly’s hands-on approach.

Beverly said the immersive nature of the program gives students a microcosm of the real world through meeting deadlines, doing interviews and being involved in the various production aspects of the show. He called the production of the show a “daily miracle.”

Blair also based a large part of his recommendation on Beverly’s efforts to keep the program moving after the tornado in February 2008.

He created a student-led program titled “Focus on Recovery,” which led to the creation of Jackson 24-7 after the rebuilding of Jennings Hall was completed.

The effectiveness of Beverly’s teaching methods can be witnessed in the various Union graduates who are now working in the field, for employers such as Fox News Channel. He said that seeing the successful students is more rewarding than any sort of recognition like the TCA award.

“Seeing young people get out in the working world is really what it’s all about,” Beverly said. “That’s the joy I get, seeing them do what I had the chance to do.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.