Meet a few of our talented faculty now:
"Christians can have impact on nations all over the world if they're willing to serve," says Dr. Bill Brown. Whether he's making educational films that talk about the dangers of HIV/AIDS or lecturing about the use of entertainment to bring about social change, Brown is well aware of the opportunities available to Christians and scholars willing to put others' needs first.
Brown is the chair of the Department of Strategic Communication and Journalism, as well as a research fellow in the school. As a researcher, teacher and Fulbright Scholar, he specializes in the study and use of entertainment-education for social change, health communication, and media and social influence.
Entertainment education, he explains, combines the medium of film with information and messages that might otherwise be overlooked or ignored by the very people who need to hear them. Research has shown that people get more emotionally and psychologically involved in media. "Art is one of the most powerful means of social change," he says. "God made us so that we love stories."
By combining an interest in film with understanding of communication and the media, Brown is convinced that his students will have the tools they need to impact the world—if they also have a servant's heart. "We want our graduates to, through their skills and abilities, open up those kinds of opportunities for social influence," he says. "I want to position us—our colleagues, our students—to be people who are prepared so that when the call comes, they're ready."
In addition to his tenure at Regent University, Brown has taught communication courses at the University of Southern California, the University of Hawaii and the University of the Nations. He also served as the dean of Regent's School of Communication & the Arts from 1992-2002. He teaches courses on doctoral research methods, entertainment-education for social change, media and social influence, C.S. Lewis and communication campaigns. Full Bio.b
Is there such a thing as "too modern?" Dr. Benson Fraser certainly thinks so. "Modernity has nurtured an overdependence on logic and reason and an under-dependence on imagination and emotion," he explains. It is imagination and emotion, he believes, that are the basic elements of effective communication in today's world.
Fraser came to Regent in 1986 because he wanted to help students communicate their faith in a world that's grown tired of listening to the same old stories. "We have to figure out a different way to tell them what Christianity really is," he says. "That's ultimately why I came here—to see how I can effectively communicate and help others communicate their own faith."
Fraser's own study and research has been centered on three areas: entertainment education, indirect communication and communication, and development. His work has taken him to Tanzania, Kenya and the United Kingdom as he seeks to better understand how cultures communicate their values with each other.
That work even prompted the formation of a non-profit group called Friends for African Development (FAD) which is committed to projects that help provide basic necessities, like water, food and education. "We work primarily with the Maasai in Tanzania and we work collaboratively with them on projects they initiate. These are all projects we're invited to do by the people living in the country we are working in," Fraser says. "We don't go to fix things; we go to make friends."
Fraser has now made 10 trips to Tanzania. During his most recent trip, Fraser documented Christian and traditional Maasai music, conducted research on cell phone use in northern Tanzania, and conducted training for ministers and community leaders.
Whether it's Africa or Alabama, one thing is clear: "We need to learn how to communicate more effectively, and we're not doing a very good job of it," he says. "We're not doing what the Scriptures themselves do and that's being creative. We need creative writers, producers and directors. If we're good storytellers, the Christian perspective will come out. I don't think we need to limit ourselves to so-called 'Christian stories.' I think we need to be very wise and know our audience."
Ultimately, he says, "We need to take Christ and his word into our life and then—with the Holy Spirit's help—begin to tell stories that transform the culture." Full Bio.
As a member of the performance faculty in the School of Communication & the Arts, Mark Paladini brings to the classroom years of practical experience—as a casting director, an executive producer and as an actor. He knows the entertainment industry from every angle and wants to pass on that knowledge to his students.
"I've seen the transformation that takes place from the committed work in our three–year program. It's inspirational," he says. "The three-year program provides an opportunity to make mistakes, to fall in all the traps."
Paladini's credits as a casting director read like a Hollywood Who's Who—he cast Richard Attenborough's motion picture Closing the Ring, starring Oscar®–winner Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer. He was also casting director for Disney's Spy Hard and New Line Cinema's The Mask.
His credits are not limited to film, but include work in television on Beverly Hills, 90210, Babylon 5, The New WKRP in Cincinnati and Big Brother Jake. He also served as the co-executive producer of the romantic comedies My First Wedding, A Previous Engagement and his latest feature-film project If I Were You.
In addition to three primary performers' unions, Paladini's professional memberships include the Casting Society of America and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, an organization that annually invites him to sit on a "Blue Ribbon Panel" tasked with choosing Emmy winners in a number of categories.
Paladini moved from Los Angeles to Virginia Beach, but he doesn't feel like the location has changed anything about the opportunities he's had or the opportunities his students find. "One of the things that I think is very valuable about being here is that a lot of our actors begin to get professional audition experience through an agency here in Virginia Beach (Studio Center)," he says. "I've found once students have taken my screen acting course, which has a unit in commercial acting, they begin to book a lot of commercials in town."
As a professional in residence, Paladini continues his casting work on independent feature films with Joan Carr-Wiggin's If I Were You. Additionally, he works as a casting consultant on a variety of projects with Los Angeles casting directors (U.S. Government anti-smoking commercial) and CBN (First Landing, Superbook). Every summer he returns to Los Angeles where he continues his casting career, serves on the Blue Ribbon Panel and teaches a yearly workshop at the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Full Bio.