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Faculty List

Northwestern University’s School of Communication is home to some of the world’s foremost scholars of and practitioners in the creative sector. Many of the School’s faculty members regularly teach courses in the M.S. in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program. Other faculty members from Northwestern’s acclaimed Kellogg School of Management, McCormick School of Engineering, and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications also teach in the program, along with distinguished professionals currently working in the creative sector.

Claudio E. Benzecry earned his PhD in Sociology at New York University. He is author of the award-winning book The Opera Fanatic. Ethnography of an Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2011), editor of two books on culture and knowledge, and has published articles on the sociology of culture and the arts in areas such as Theory, Culture and Society, Sociological Theory, and Theory & Society, among others. He is currently conducting research on fashion, creativity and globalization, following how a shoe is imagined, sketched, designed, developed and produced between the US, Europe and China.

Gail Berger earned a PhD in Management and Organizations from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She brings academic and professional experience in the areas of organizational behavior, conflict resolution and organizational leadership. After receiving her doctorate, she consulted to small firms and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of executive assessments, leadership development and team building. Her research interests include organizational communication in the contexts of negotiation, performance appraisal, decision making and teamwork. Berger was also the 2011 Instructor of the Year at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in organizational theory.

Pablo Boczkowski is Director of the Program in Leadership for Creative Enterprises. He earned his PhD in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. His research program looks at the transition from print to digital media, with a focus on the organizational and occupational dynamics of contemporary journalism and increasingly examined by adopting a comparative lens. He is the author of three books, one edited volume, and over twenty journal articles and fifty conference presentations.

AJ Christian received a PhD in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. His work focuses on new media and cultural production. He researches how producers and organizations create and distribute web series, integrating scholarship on television and media industry studies. His work has been published in the journals Continuum, Transformative Works & Culture, First Monday, Cinema Journal, and Communication, Culture and Critique, as well as in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek.

Daniel Gruber earned a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. His research focuses on organizational sensemaking, the media industry, and managing integration, and his teaching centers on strategic communications, organizational change, and leading media companies. He has been the recipient of multiple awards in teaching excellence, most recently, an Innovative Teaching Grant from the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence to launch a mentoring project bringing graduate and undergraduate students in his classes together and to produce new learning opportunities across student populations.

Dan Heck is a certified Project Management Professional and has consulted with many companies around the world, with clients including Motorola, Ford, GKN Aerospace, McDonald’s, and Honeywell. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and worked for 15 years at Honeywell Aerospace as a Principal Product Design Engineer, Principal Manufacturing Engineer, trainer, and internal executive consultant. Heck has guest lectured at Northwestern University and University of Chicago and currently in coaches, consults, and trains professionals at all corporate levels to develop effective, innovation-related behaviors and organizational outcomes through his organization, Bluefuse, Inc.

Richard Kolsky leverages his 34 years of management consulting and executive education to help global companies discover, design, and execute market-focused innovations via action learning. In addition to his consulting engagements, he is a Lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a guest Professor at the India School of Business.  He has published numerous articles and been keynote speaker for conferences on a range of subjects, with a particular interest in the bottom of the pyramid, reengineering the US healthcare ecosystem, and convergence of media, entertainment, and marketing. Prior to starting Kolsky & Co., he worked in the White House, was a consulting partner for Strategos, The MAC Group and KPMG Peat Marwick, and taught economics and consulted at Yale.  Dr. Kolsky holds a PhD from Yale in Economics and a BA-MA in Engineering and Economics from Brown.

Laverne McKinnon is a producer and head of television for Charlize Theron’s Denver & Delilah Films. She has over 20 years of successful programming experience in premium cable, broadcast network and digital platforms including Senior Vice-President of Drama at CBS and Executive Vice-President of Original Programming at EPIX. Her work has encompassed scripted comedy and drama series, documentaries, web series, animation, music events, comedy specials and children’s programs. Ms. McKinnon holds a Bachelor of Science in Radio-TV-Film from Northwestern, a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, and will be receiving her certification as a Business and Personal Coach in Spring 2015 from the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coaching Federation.

Rick Morris is a graduate of the New York University (LL.M.) School of Law and the University of Kansas School of Law. Morris combines real-world business experience with academic insight; he has worked and consulted for more than eleven media entities, including divisions of NBC, ABC, Telemundo, and CBS Television Networks, and won an Emmy award for technical excellence. Morris teaches, researches, writes, and practices in the areas of media management, technology, entertainment and media law, regulation, and policy. He currently serves as the Associate Dean of Administration and Finance in Northwestern’s School of Communication and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers for Creative Arts in Chicago and of the Bars of Illinois and Kansas. Morris contributes regularly to

Cory Sandrock is a Theatre graduate from Northwestern’s School of Communication and holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has extensive experience in capital markets, strategic planning, financial analyses, and commercial real estate, with a career that has moved from theatre and film production to investment banking and private equity. Sandrock currently serves as the Managing Partner of Spianato Capital Partners, a boutique investment firm focused on funding companies with the potential for smooth growth. He is also an active supporter of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago and GreenMan Theatre Troupe in Elmhurst, Illinois. Sandrock has written and directed numerous theatre productions, and also lectures on business and career advancement topics at The University of Chicago.

Jacob Smith earned his PhD in Communication from Indiana University. Smith is the author of Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media (University of California Press 2008), Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures (University of California Press 2011), and The Thrill Makers: Celebrity, Masculinity, and Stunt Performance (University of California Press 2012). He writes and teaches about the cultural history of media, with a focus on sound and performance. Before he joined Northwestern’s Radio, Television, and Film department, Smith played music professionally with his band, The Mysteries of Life, which was signed to RCA Records in 1996. Smith wrote the songs and performed them alongside his wife, drummer Freda Love, and he continues to play music for several bands in the Chicago area.

James Webster received his PhD from Indiana University in Mass Communication. His research interests include audience measurement, the behavior of media audiences, and media industries. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media since 1985. His early work focused on television audience behavior and program choice, but more recent studies examine how people consume media across digital platforms. From 1990 to 2005, Webster served as Associate Dean in Northwestern’s School of Communication and helped create the doctoral program in Media, Technology and Society. He has recently served as a consultant to Nielsen, Turner Broadcasting, Toyota, and the Rudd Center at Yale University. He has written, with Prof. Patricia Phalen and Prof. Lawrence Lichty, Ratings Analysis: The Theory and Practice of Audience Research, which is the standard text on electronic media measurement. Professor Webster is widely published in the Journal of Communication, the International Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, and Communication Theory to name a few.