Rachael Liberman, PhD


Her Campus is happy to present to you Rachael Liberman, PhD, a lecturer in the Department of Media, Film, & Journalism Studies. Professor Liberman is an engaging and committed teacher, balancing her career as an academic teacher and a mother. She has found her way to the University of Denver after spending her undergraduate at Marquette University and recieved her Bachelor's Degree in journalism, her Masters in Media Studies at the The New School in 2007, and ended her academic career at the University of Colorado Boulder, recieving her PhD in Communication Studies. Professor Liberman shows an outstanding commitment to the Media Studies field, and continues to follow her passion and teach students.

Her Campus: So, Professor, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into media studies?RL: From an early age, I developed an interest in writing and decided in high school that I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote for my high school newspaper, went to journalism school, and worked as a freelance writer in Chicago for a few years, but ultimately realized that I had a passion for critiquing the media industry; in particular, I became interested in representations of gender and sexuality. I wasn’t aware of the Media Studies discipline at that point, but once I started applying for graduate school I realized that there was an entire area of study dedicated to media analysis (which made me very happy!).  Media Studies has allowed me to analyze media from a critical perspective in the hopes of generating awareness in the university setting and beyond.

HC: Was there one moment when you realized you wanted to be a professor?RL: I’m not sure if there was one exact moment, but I knew that once I began my Master’s program at The New School that I would pursue a PhD and try to work in academia. When I was a journalist I felt a pull to do research and teach in the university setting; being paid to analyze media seemed like a dream to me!

HC: What is your favorite part of being a professor?RL: My favorite part of being a professor is the moment when a student tells me that they’ve experienced an “a-ha” moment, or that they’ll “never look at media the same way again.” I do my best to promote critical thinking in all my classes and the best moments in my teaching career have always been connected to positive feedback from my students.

HC: What impact has journalism had on your life?RL: I have to say, I miss being a journalist sometimes. I miss the opportunity to interview, seek out stories, and follow breaking cultural issues. I think the greatest impact that journalism has had on my life is that it has helped me become a more effective and concise writer and it has opened my eyes to issues related to the journalism profession. Because I was a journalist myself, I am able to teach about the profession in a meaningful way.

HC: Even though mass media is broad, how does it affect your life, as a professor and a consumer?RL: Just because I teach about media and power, that doesn’t mean I’m immune to it; I have definitely experienced pressure to look a certain way as a woman as well as felt pressure to keep up with the latest Apple products. Media have an undeniable impact on our social lives and I have a complicated relationship to those texts; on the one hand I am entertained, but on the other I feel the need to critique representations, etc. while I’m consuming it. 

HC: Is there a favorite social media of yours?RL: I love Instagram. I think that images tell powerful stories and I enjoy taking pictures and posting them to friends and family.

HC: How do you feel about the increasing use and importance of mass media on our lives?RL: I feel that in response to the increasing importance and reliance on digital media, we should all be mindful of how media create meaning in our culture. In other words, I think in response to this increase in use and importance more individuals should seek media education, with media literacy being the goal. I, personally, try to take breaks from media so that I can “stop and smell the flowers,” but I realized that staying connected has become essential in contemporary culture. Therefore, I think that having a critical awareness of the media industry will help us all become better consumers, even if we are obsessed with our iPhones.

HC: What is one piece of advice you would give to students looking to pursue a degree within the Media Film and Journalism Studies School?RL: My one piece of advice is to be fearless. Whether you’re pursuing strategic communication, journalism or filmmaking, you will enter an extremely competitive job market and you will need to stand out in some way. Take chances and push yourself; the faculty in this department will guide you in your path but you have to be confident that your ideas will make a unique cultural contribution.

Professor Rachael Liberman is a fascinating individual. If you would like to check out more of what she has done regarding her schooling and dissertion, follow her blog or her Twitter profile. Professor Liberman is a great resource for feminist knowledge in the media world, and definitely worth looking out for in your next class registration!