Dr. Joseph Anderson, the former chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre, has been named a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Central Arkansas.
“I spent many years in the university because I wanted to be where learning and thinking were practiced and highly valued,” Anderson said. “Sometimes I was able to share my enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge with like-minded colleagues and students. Those were my best moments, along with this one.”
Anderson will receive the honor at Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. commencement.
Anderson is credited with helping to transform the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre. An Arkansas native, he joined UCA in July 2002 from Georgia State University and served seven years as the department chair before his retirement in 2009.
“Joe Anderson founded several programs at UCA, including our digital filmmaking programs, organized a new department and brought great vision to the College of Fine Arts and Communication,” said Dr. Rollin Potter, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. “He is truly one of our most distinguished faculty members and truly deserving of this award.”
Anderson established the undergraduate degree program in digital filmmaking and developed the master of fine arts degree program in digital filmmaking, the only programs of their kind in the state. He is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of film studies.
He founded the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image, an international organization of film scholars that hosts annual conferences around the world. He will give an opening address in New York at the 2012 conference, hosted jointly by Sarah Lawrence College and New York University June 13-16.
The organization includes psychologists, philosophers and others with an interest in film.
“The Distinguished Professor Emeritus is an extraordinary and rare honor that demonstrates the impact Dr. Anderson has had on the Department of Mass Communication, the university and the field of film studies,” said Dr. Bruce Hutchinson, director of graduate studies of digital filmmaking and an associate professor of digital filmmaking. “His vision as a department chair helped create a thriving department that gives students a cutting-edge education in digital filmmaking, journalism and theatre while his vision as a film scholar has changed the very nature and direction of film studies.”
Anderson was also instrumental in the founding of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.
“Joe Anderson is a great scholar and a hard act to follow,” said John Gale, who succeeded Anderson as chair of UCA’s Department of Mass Communication and Theatre.
Anderson, who held previous faculty positions at the University of Kansas, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin and LSU, also worked for several years in the motion picture industry. He is a graduate of North Little Rock High School and earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa.