May 01, 2019
Dmitriy Ivanov

Professor Michael Land, Ph.D., Named New England Journalism Educator of the Year

The New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) has named Associate Professor of English and Director of Assumption’s Community Service Learning Program Michael Land, Ph.D., New England Journalism Educator of the Year.

The prestigious award recognizes a professor at a university or college in New England who performs outstanding work in preparing aspiring journalists and writers.  The award will be presented at The New England Society of News Editors 2019 annual spring event that will take place on May 2 at The Boston Globe offices. 

“As he forms and inspires future journalists, through his work in the classroom as well as with the Community Service Learning program, Dr. Land possesses a passion for justice and social responsibility,” said Louise Carroll Keeley, Ph.D., provost and academic vice president. “In addition to serving as a mentor, Dr. Land is driven by a concern for the common good, and recognizes that the careful deployment of human words can affect positive change. The campus community is proud of this much-deserved recognition of Dr. Land’s countless contributions to Assumption, its students and alumni.”

Prof. Land’s pedagogy as a teacher in the writing and mass communications concentration in the Department of English is renowned and admired.  He graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, then began working at The Alabama Journal and Montgomery Advertiser, first as a columnist, and later as a reviewer, feature writer, sports columnist, and interim features editor.  He later earned a master’s degree in creative writing and a doctorate in creative writing, American literature and rhetoric and composition from the University of Missouri. 

“I was very honored, first of all, to even be nominated for anything when the people doing the nominating are so busy with other things near the end of the school year,” said Professor Land.  “So I was already grateful to Provost Louise Carroll Keeley, as well as Professors David Thoreen and Jim Lang, before I even knew the outcome. To then win the award, though, was downright astounding. Then, on top of that, to finally find out what the award was for and who was giving it … well, let’s just say that it made my father, who in his day climbed from being a paperboy to an award-winning sports writer to publisher of The Tuscaloosa News, even more excited than I was. I’m dedicating this to Charlie Land, since my sensibility in terms of both journalism and community service has been inspired by my father.”

As the director of Assumption’s Community Service Learning (CSL) program, Prof. Land has worked with Habitat for Humanity for many years building homes with, not for, recipients; collaborates with Assumption’s Campus Ministry office on a number of service trips each year; serves as a volunteer tutor at African Community Education (ACE); and is credited with many decades of civil rights advocacy. The CSL program is open to Assumption students of all majors and empowers students to obtain a deeper understanding of societal challenges and how they can enact meaningful change through skills learned in the classroom.

Prior to his service at Assumption, which began in 2000, Prof. Land was the recipient of numerous awards in journalism, creative writing, and fiction, ranging from a co-authored investigative series on the embattled mental health system in Alabama, and  his piece “Father and Son Hunting” won first place from the Alabama Sports Writing Association, among many more.