Visiting Professionals Provide Student Learning Opportunities

Visiting Professionals Provide Student Learning Opportunities

By Bob Felten

In just a few days this semester, students at the Reynolds School had the opportunity to meet with and learn from the author of 25 books, a pioneer in multimedia business reporting and one of the top business journalists in the country.

“It was a great couple of weeks,” Dean Al Stavitsky said.  “But that is not unusual here. This is central to the Reynolds School experience.  We work hard to bring in prominent visitors who are at the top of their professions.”

At the end of September, nine students worked with prominent business journalist Micki Maynard on stories about reinventing Reno.  Their work now lives on the community blog Reinventing Reno and links directly from the Reinventing America section of

Adam Davidson was here on October 5.  Davidson is a co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money, a columnist for The New York Times and a contributor to NPR’s This American Life.  He spoke about the importance of business journalism in helping people understand issues vital to the future of the country and the world.  His presentation is available online.

Author Mark Kurlansky, named our 2012 Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer, had a full day in Reno October 9.  He met with students in a Reynolds School class, had a public conversation about The Cultural History of Food at the Nevada Museum of Art and discussed The Craft of Writing at the Joe Crowley Student Union. A New York Times best-selling author, he has written 25 books including fiction, nonfiction and children’s books.

"Every semester we're bringing some of the nation's most accomplished and influential journalists to the RSJ, and this provides extraordinary opportunities for our students, faculty, and community, said Professor Alan Deutschman, the Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism. “Our students engage in dialogue with leading practitioners, and in some cases these top professionals even serve as editors and mentors as they advise the students' creative projects.”  The Reinventing Reno project is an example of this level of involvement.  Maynard was here for a week working directly with students.

The opportunity presented by visiting professionals extends beyond the students, Deutschman said.  “Our faculty members, who study the changing role of media through our Center for Advanced Media Studies, have the chance to discuss their research interests with our distinguished visitors. And members of our community enjoy an enriching cultural opportunity: Talking with the people they read in publications such as The New York Times or listen to on NPR."

Kurlansky’s visit was a partnership between the Reynolds School and Nevada Humanities.  The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provides support for visiting business journalists like Davidson and Maynard.

“These are just a few examples of the opportunities we are able to provide our students through the support of individuals and foundations,” Dean Al said. 

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