AdPR Faculty Spotlight: Dr. James Hamilton

Associate Professor Dr. Hamilton
Dr. James Hamilton is currently an Associate Professor of Advertising in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College.

What's your educational background?
I have a BA (1983) as a double major in English and Communications (plus nearly enough classes in History for a triple major), and an MA (1986) in Communications, both from the University of Washington in Seattle.

My PhD (1993) is in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa.

What were you doing before you came to Grady?
Immediately prior to coming to Grady, for five years (1995-1999) I was an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at SUNY Geneseo in western New York State.

Prior to that and after completing my PhD, I lived in Baltimore for 2-1/2 years, working as a Training Coordinator for a top-50 law firm based in Baltimore. At that time it had installed a new Windows-based LAN to connect its offices in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. It needed someone to put together and deliver a training program to its partners, associates and staff.

After completing my MA and prior starting my PhD, I worked for 2-1/2 years as a Copywriter for Corporate Communications at a (then) small computer startup company named Microsoft.

What drew you to become a professor at Grady College?
The quality of the programs. And, by moving down South, I could throw away my rusty snow shovels.

What classes (if any) are you teaching this semester?
I'm teaching ADPR3100, "Principles of Advertising" (I've taught this off and on since Spring 2000) and JRMC7960, "Foundations of Advertising," which is a ramped-up intro designed for first-year M.A. students.

What kinds of classes have you taught, and what have been your favorite ones to teach?
Much of my undergraduate teaching focuses on the creative end of the process. I try to give students in ADPR3100 a good overall sense of it, and really enjoy diving deeply into it with small groups of students in ADPR3110, "Advertising Message Strategy" and ADPR3520, "Graphic Communication."

I'm also really excited to have been in with Dr. Kirsten Strausbaugh on the first year of the "Summer at the Circus" intense creative bootcamp collaboration between AdPR and the Creative Circus portfolio school in Atlanta. This will quickly become the prime stop for UGA students serious about a career in creative.

What is your research focus, if applicable? (Any projects you can share with us at this time?)
My general focus is on communication as a general social process (as opposed to one engaged in only by those working in media industries). Right now I'm investigating the role and place of non-professional users in the activities of media industries.

One project I'm working on with Advertising major Chelsea Harvey has to do with the productive role of fans in the early years of the motion-picture industry in helping generate movie ideas and scripts, provide early feedback on movies, and participate in various promotions. The second project is similar, but dealing with the emergence of the television industry. I'm working on it with Ph.D. student Steve McCreery.

What are you most looking forward to this semester?
Actually, I've been looking forward to the point at which we've already reached. Once the classes are up and students have settled in, that's when the learning gets easier.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
What spare time? :) I stay active--cycling mostly, but also working out at Ramsey. I also spend time working on our little fixer-upper cabin on a north branch of Lake Hartwell.

What do you love about UGA/Athens area?
You're close to everything, but far enough away from it, too.

What advice would you give to your students?
Study widely--don't over-specialize. Especially for students interested in creative, you absolutely never know where a good idea is going to come from. That course in classics may very well provide the insight later on for a key campaign in which you'll shine.

And always have a few irons in the fire. If one direction doesn't seem to be working out, you have others to pursue if not simply to make a living at.

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
There's nothing like working with the great colleagues and students we have here.

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