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Board of Trustees Professor Seminar


Behind the Lens: Engaging Students in the Creative Process of Social Justice Documentary Filmmaking

Laura Vazquez, Ph.D.
Department of Communication

Board of Trustees Professor

In this seminar Dr. Vazquez will discuss her work as a social issue documentary filmmaker and how a media production curriculum can provide an opportunity for students to explore current social justice issues. Now more than ever, this direction in research, artistry and pedagogy is essential to teaching students how to understand and address the increasing gap in social status and power in this country. This curriculum teaches mastery of the tools and strategies for effective visual storytelling as one way to motivate social change.

Laura Vazquez received her Ph.D. in Radio, TV and Film from Northwestern University and has been teaching media theory and production courses in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University for 17 years. She currently chairs the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and is also the Undergraduate Director for the Department of Communication.

Dr. Laura Vazquez
Dr. Laura Vazquez

Vazquez is a documentary filmmaker who has produced several social issue documentaries on topics such as domestic violence and the courts, poverty and homelessness among various populations, sexual assault on college campuses and the politics of healthy food. Her most recent film Think Globally, Act Locally: Premiered in October 2015 at the 12th International Pascal Conference in Catania, Italy. It has screened in several festivals including Big Muddy, National Communication Association Social Justice film series and the Illinois International Film Festival.

Recently she participated in a multi-institution $200,000 grant from the Wyncote Foundation to oversee the production of student made films on sexual assault on college campuses.

She also received two grants from NIU to work on “On the edge: Family homelessness in America” which won the King Family Foundation Best Faculty Documentary Award at the Broadcast Educator’s Association Conference in 2010. In 2007 she produced a documentary entitled “Mother Jones: America's Most Dangerous Woman” named Official Selection of the 2007 Independent Filmmaker's Festival and winner of 1st Place, Documentary Division, Geneva Festival of the Arts. She also produced “My Own Four Walls” (an educational series about homeless children) which won the 2007 NAEHCY Outstanding Media award.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
University Suite, Holmes Student Center

11:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m., Refreshments
12:00 p.m.—1:00 p.m., Presentation and Q&A

No registration is required—Everyone is welcome!


Office of the Provost
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

Last Updated: 8/28/2017