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Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight: New Faces at MFJS

By Julia Dacy, Senior Strategic Communication & Socio-Legal Studies Double Major

Fall Quarter 2017 brought several new faces to the Media, Film & Journalism Studies faculty roster. We are excited to introduce three new professors:

David CoppiniDavid Coppini, Assistant Professor

Dr. David Coppini has joined the MFJS department with a specialization in Strategic Communication. Coppini received his undergraduate degree and masters in his home country of Italy, and most recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin Madison. In August, just one day after finishing his dissertation, Coppini moved to Colorado to begin teaching here at the University of Denver.

Coppini brings significant professional experience in advertising and public relations to the classroom, which he thinks will help him better prepare students for careers in strategic communication. This quarter, Coppini is teaching a section of Strategic Communication Planning and an audience research course. However, he is especially looking forward to the Social Media Strategies class he will teach in the winter.

"I think it's a very exciting area, especially now with emerging digital media and social media," Coppini said.

When advising students on how to be successful in the strategic communication field, Coppini reflects on his own experiences during college. "I had a very good internship experience when I was an undergraduate," Coppini said. "I did an internship in public relations with Proctor and Gamble, for one of their companies in Italy. It was a very formative internship, so not just getting coffee." He suggests that students should "always try to relate concepts from class to real-world experiences."

Carlos JimenezCarlos Jimenez, Assistant Professor

When Carlos Jimenez was a high school senior, he didn't think getting a college degree was an option, much less a masters and an eventual Ph.D. Now, Dr. Jimenez is teaching film studies courses and helping with film production here in the MFJS department. His success is largely the result of a federally-funded scholars program that encourages minority students at the undergraduate level to go on to graduate studies. "I had no idea what a masters was, what a PhD was, and I had no idea what people did after they got a masters or PhD. This program targeted people like me and showed us we could become educators," Jimenez said.

Throughout his career, Jimenez has looked for ways to help his community, even working at a nonprofit for several years as a health advocate for farm workers. However, his main goal has always been to return to academia and to serve as a mentor for students.

"I'm part of the less than one percent of people in the Latino community that get a Ph.D. For me, I went to college and never had a Latino professor...There's a lot of research that says when a student sees a person that they can see themselves in, it has a huge impact. For me, that was one of the biggest motivations, to serve as an empowering figure for students."

Jimenez hopes to teach his students about the passion and perseverance that are essential when starting in a field as competitive as film. "Whatever decisions you end up making in terms of school or careers, make sure that those decisions keep opening doors. Don't get stuck so early on."

Jeremy DehnJeremy Dehn, Visiting Assistant Professor

Throughout his career, Jeremy Dehn has worked as a journalist in Asia, a teacher at several universities, and as a film director. He now brings that expertise to the MFJS department as a visiting assistant professor for film production courses.

As someone who has worked over the years to direct his own movies, Dehn understands the competitive and difficult process of breaking into the film industry. He hopes to convey the value of creative careers to his students.

"We tell stories to each other all the time, whether it is through film or advertising or magazines," Dehn said. "I think the more you understand the way the stories are constructed, the more you're able to move in the world where you are constantly being bombarded with the narrative that someone's trying to thrust on you."

For Dehn, the best part of teaching is hearing the ideas that his students come up with and watching them work together to create the best possible product. "[Film production] really does bring people together and you meet people and you go places you wouldn't have gone before," Dehn said. "It's a way of exploring the world in a very personal way."

When he's not teaching or exploring Colorado with his daughter, Dehn is putting his production skills to work on his own film project, which he hopes will begin shooting in the next year. He is also involved with DU Project F.I.L.M. and is currently helping develop their most recent film, Scary Lucy.