Faculty Bios

Charlie Atkinson, Adjunct Lecturer: Charlie Atkinson is employed as a copy editor, designer, writer and manager in the Sports Department at the Greensboro News & Record for past 30 years. During that time, have won various Associated Press Sports Editors awards for overall appearance and design. Proficient in InDesign, InCopy and Quark. Helped lead the conversion from a Quark-based editing and design system in 2003 to DTI (InDesign and InCopy) and most recently to Falcon. Currently design two section fronts and adjoining inside pages per week in the Sports Department. Other duties include that of Night Editor (night manager) and copy editor. Also serve as supervisor for Editorial Assistants. Worked as an adjunct professor at Bennett College for three years (2001-2003), teaching courses in basic journalism, basic design and creative writing. Currently in seventh year as adjunct professor at N.C. A&T, teaching JOMC 324 (Editing for Print and Online Media). Also taught courses in Design for Print and Online Media and Current Issues in Mass Communications. A Waynesville, N.C., native and a 1978 graduate of Appalachian State (BS, Business Administration). Resides in Greensboro with wife, Cathy.

Linda Florence Callahan is an award-winning educator who enjoys teaching and seeing students succeed in college and in life. Callahan is the recipient of the 2014 National Association of Black Journalists Educator of the Year, the 2013 Robert P. Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award; the Kay Phillips Distinguished Service Award; and North Carolina Scholastic Media Association Award. Callahan also received several distinguished honors and recognitions from the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, and was the recipient of the NC A&T College of Arts and Sciences 2005 Outstanding Teacher of the Year.
Additionally, Callahan worked professionally in newspaper, radio, television and public relations. She has extensive administrative experience---having served as department chair at North Carolina A&T State and Elizabeth City State universities and served as director of University Relations at Johnson C. Smith University. Callahan was also the Faculty Senate president at North Carolina A&T from 2007-2012 and chaired numerous university and professional committees, commissions and national programs.

Keonte Coleman, Adjunct Lecturer: Keonte Coleman serves as the interim department chair of the Journalism & Media Studies Department at Bennett College. Coleman is pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Administration at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before venturing into academia, Coleman was a multiple Emmy award winning local television news producer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University in mass communications, and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University. He’s an advocate for diversifying the media world. He’s a devoted husband and proud father of three.

Dr. Vanessa Cunningham-Engram, Associate Professor: In more than 12 years, Dr. Cunningham-Engram has taught 140 graduate and undergraduate courses in Advanced Communication Law; Communication Law and Ethics (traditional and online learning); Interactive Communications in the Digital World; News Writing; Mass Communication Law; African American Communication (cultural diversity); Magazine & Feature Writing; Magazine Layout and Production; Public Speaking; Honors Public Speaking; Business and Professional Communication; Legal Issues for Managers (graduate); Managerial Ethics (graduate); Ethical and Legal Environment of Business (graduate); Negotiation and Conflict Resolution; Business Law (face-to-face and online); Issues in Ethics; Professional Communication; Literature and Ideas; and Legal Environment of Business (face-to face and online). She was awarded tenure in 2009-2010. She has been recognized for her many achievements. One of her greatest honors was an invitation to serve as keynote speaker for the 10thAnnual Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Convocation at her alma mater, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in May 2011, a decade after the inaugural convocation was commenced under her leadership as co-chair. Of her most cherished awards are the “YMCA Black Achievers Award” (selected by her employer), a “Student of the Year Award” (chosen by her law school peers), and several “Teacher of the Year Awards” (nominated by her students). She is is a member of several professional organizations. Dr. Cunningham-Engram wrote a book chapter in the Interracial Communication textbook published by Kendall/Hunt (2011) titled “Change in the Oval Office: The impact of race on first-time African American voters” and has published several scholarly journal articles. She authored an inspirational novel titled Lifted(2002), was founder and CEO of her own publishing company (publishing two books for two local authors), and served as editor-in-chief of four magazines published in her classes as well as regional editor of the Journal of Law and Education.


Ken Devanney, TV Studio Manager:  Ken Devanney is an award-winning videographer/editor with nearly 30 years of experience in television news and production.  Ken began working in the North Carolina A&T State University Television Studio in March of 2009 and was appointed as the Television Studio Manager the following year.


Gary Guffey, Adjunct Lecturer: Gary Guffey received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics and Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communication from High Point University. He received his MBA from Wake Forest University, MA in Journalism from Indiana University and PhD from the University of Georgia in Mass Communication. He calls Archdale, NC home where he spent most of his life as a local business owner


Emily Harris, Lecturer/Newspaper Advisor: Emily Harris directs the student staff news-editorial staff as they produce the weekly newspaper and website, and manages the business staff and newspaper’s financial operations. Harris also teaches courses in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication including advanced editing and design, practicum, internship, professional development seminar and news writing/reporting for multiple platforms. Before coming to academia, Harris worked for newspapers and magazines in the Carolinas. She was managing editor of the business trade site-location magazine Plants Sites & Parks. She was a copy editor and page designer for several newspapers, including the Greensboro News & Record. Harris’ research interests include learning how traditional print newsrooms are transitioning to the digital-first format. Harris earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University and her graduate-level Certificate in Technology and Communication from UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Harris’ hobbies include running, Pinterest, fiction writing, cooking, and creating science projects with her family.


Sandra Hughes, Adjunct Lecturer: For 40 years, Sandra Hughes was a familiar face at WFMY News 2.  A history-making broadcaster, Sandra is the first African-American woman in the Piedmont to host her own daily talk show called “Sandra & Friends.”  She is also the first African-American woman to host the entertainment show “PM Magazine” in the Southeast region. Sandra was awarded an honorary doctorate from North Carolina A&T State University and is now teaching journalism there.

She started her career at WFMY News 2 in 1972 as a general assignment reporter.  She also helped co-host the Good Morning Show and served as manager of the station’s Community Affairs department.  Sandra moved back into the newsroom in 1990 where she has co-anchored the evening news.

Sandra graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in English.  She says one of her most rewarding honor was being the first woman broadcaster in the country to be invited to participate in the European Communities Visitor’s Program.  This allowed her to observe television in six European counties.

Her awards and honors include being named an “Unsung Hero” by the International Civil Rights Center and Museum for her role in helping integrate broadcast airways in the triad. She is currently the ambassador of the museum. Other honors include: induction into the North Carolina Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame and the Silver Circle Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame by the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.


Allen Johnson, Adjunct Lecturer: Allen Johnson is an editorial page editor of the News & Record since 1999, He leads editorial board meetings, edits most editorials and writes some editorials. He also writes a daily Web log and a Sunday column. He has taught part-time at a variety of area colleges, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina A&T State University. In 1996, he taught a short course in management for newsroom executives in the south central African nation of Zambia (formerly known as Northern Rhodesia).


Dr. Yahya R. Kamalipour, Professor and Chair: Prior to joining A&T in August 2014, Dr. Kamalipour served as head of the Department of Communication and Creative Arts, and Director of the Center for Global Studies at Purdue University Calumet, Indiana.  A noted international scholar, Dr. Kamalipour’s areas of interest and research include globalization, media impact, international communications, cultural diversity, stereotyping, Middle East media, and new communication technologies.  He has traveled to over 50 countries, delivered invited speeches in every continent, and published 14 books, including Media, Power, and Politics in the Digital Age; and Global Communication.  In addition to serving on the advisory and editorial boards of a number of prominent communication journals and professional organizations, Dr. Kamalipour is the founder and managing editor of the Global Media Journal and founder and President of the Global Communication Association.  He earned his PhD in communication at the University of Missouri; MA in mass media at the University of Wisconsin-Superior; BA in mass communication—public relations at the Minnesota State University; and  AA in communication at the Marshalltown Community College in Iowa.  For details, visit www.kamalipour.com.


Dr. Tamrat Mereba, Full Professor: Dr. Mereba has 30 years of teaching, research, and administrative experience at seven different institutions of  higher learning both in America and overseas. He has taught at Haile Selassie I University (Ethiopia), Alabama State, Bloomsburg, The Pennsylvania State, Temple and Delaware State universities and The Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. He is currently Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication at North Carolina A&T State University and former director of Academy for Teaching & Learning 2001-2002. He was Assistant Vice President for Distance Education and Learning Technologies at Delaware State University.                  


Arthea Benita Perry, Full-time Lecturer:  Arthea Perry is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Computer Art (Motion Graphics and Video) and of Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, Fine Arts (Graphics and Photography). Her graduate studies and industry related experiences include media technology; photography, video, graphics, layout and design for print media and web, textile design, pre-press graphics in advertising, 2D Motion Effects and 3D Computer Animation.


Kim Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor: Dr. Smith has more than 15 years of teaching experience, including more than 10 years as an online instructor. Smith teaches courses in mass communication research, news writing, broadcast writing, multimedia, and developed a university approved course exploring theories and concepts that shed light on the impact of new media on young people. His course on minorities in the mass media looks at theories that explain why and how people of color are portrayed in the media and what future content producers can do to mitigate the often negative and stereotypical portrayals.

Awarded for his teaching efforts, Smith has been cited by students, faculty and the University for incorporating experiential learning and critical thinking skills in and outside the classroom. His research has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He has worked as freelance reporter for National Public Radio, a multimedia producer/reporter for the Charlotte Observer and has written columns for the Greensboro News & Record. He has won national, regional and state journalism awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press.


David Squires, Adjunct Lecturer: David Squires works as a universal editor and digital specialist at the McClatchy Publishing Center at the Charlotte Observer. Squires, a North Carolina native, returned to the state to become assistant managing editor leading the  iPad-base sports section of SportingNews.com. He was also a news and sports columnist at Tribune Company’s Hampton Roads Daily Press.  Squires was the original editor-in-chief of BlackVoices.com and Black Voices Quarterly magazine and the original web editor for breaking news at the Detroit Free Press.  

He has also served as a writer or editor at the New York Times, Newsday, St. Petersburg Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Cleveland Plain Dealer. He has worked as an adjunct professor at Hampton University, Christopher Newport University and SUNY at Old Westbury (N.Y.)  

Squires sits on the board of the Sports Journalism Institute, which trains college students to become sports journalists, and he is a Lifetime Member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he also earned   a master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in management.


Sheila Whitley, Associate Professor: Dr. Whitley was born and grew up in High Point, North Carolina. Sheila Whitley has 31 years of experience in higher education.  She began her career as a visual communications specialist in Agricultural Communications at NC A&T State University.  In 2001 she accepted a full-time teaching position in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at NC A&T State University. In 2012, Whitley became associate chair in the department.  Her research interests include the scholarship for teaching, curriculum development, and learning and student success. Whitley received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Higher Education Administration for the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina; Master of Arts in Educational Media from the Department of Library Science and Media Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina; B.A. in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and an A.A. Literary from Wingate University, Wingate, North Carolina.


Anthony Welborne, Lecturer/Radio Station General Manager: Tony Welborne is the General Manager of the radio station at NC A&T State University, and lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. He received both his Bachelors and Masters from NC A&T. He is a Vietnam veteran who served honorably in the United States Air Force as an Avionics Specialist. After serving his country, Mr. Welborne returned to NC A&T where he setup and engineered the university’s original television studio, and worked to convert the existing AM radio station to a full power FM/HD station. He taught graduate school for three years before leaving to work in commercial radio and television as Program Director of WEAL 1510, and videographer/editor in the News department of WFMY-TV, a CBS affiliate in Greensboro, NC. Mr. Welborne’s career in broadcasting spans 49 years in both radio and television. He currently resides with his wife in Greensboro. You can reach him tonyb901@aol.com.


Gail B. Wiggins, Assistant Professor: Gail Wiggins has 29 years of teaching journalism and mass communication courses on the college level as well as experience as an academic advisor for new and continuing journalism and mass communication majors. For more than 10 years, she served as the director of the television studio.

She was instrumental in leading the department through a successful re-accreditation process during the 2011-2012 academic year. Her dedication, years of service to the department and genuine desire to see students succeed have rightfully earned her accolades for teaching and advising. She is often the first individual new majors come in contact with as freshman and transfer students, following them through their curriculum into their senior year; a time when she provides capstone instruction through the department’s seminar and internship courses. It is through such courses, she has provided valuable training to ensure students are prepared for the digital media age. For more than 20 years, Professor Wiggins has coordinated the annual National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Multimedia Short Course, which was implemented in 1992. Since then, she has built a successful program, which serves as a springboard for future black journalists. Mrs. Wiggins, as she is known by students and alumni, is a proud A&T alum, graduating in 1980 with a bachelor of arts in Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts. The former radio personality, also earned her master’s in education media from A&T in 1995. Professor Wiggins actively volunteers with the Empowered Sparks for pre-teen girls, she serves on the board of and delivers monthly meals through the Food Assistance program, is an active parent with Dudley Panthers sports and holds membership with NABJ, the Triad Association of Black Journalists and Kappa Tau Alpha.