GnuMediaLab consists of Dr. Nick Gerlich, Dr. Leigh Browning and Lori Westermann. All three are academics with over 60 years of combined experience.

The threesome started their journey together as members of a university committee in 2006, charged with creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Since that time they have conducted research in new media, including Peel-and-Taste advertising, the impact of popular music on college students, and social media usage of US citizens. Their research has won best paper awards in Fall 2008 and Fall 2009; their article on Peel-and-Taste flavor strips was the first academic paper published on the subject.

Future research projects include examining consumer attitudes toward video print ads, the efficacy of using e-readers on college campuses, and the role of scent on product evaluations and music preferences.

A native of Chicago, Nick received his BA with majors in Marketing and Economics from Anderson (IN) University. He then went on to Indiana University, where he earned his MBA and PhD (both in Marketing). He has been a Marketing professor since 1989.

Nick has published approximately 70 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and is a pioneer in online education course development and delivery. Since 1997 he has taught online nearly 50 times, and has twice been awarded for his innovations. He participated in the Management Development Program at Harvard University in Summer 2009.

He was among the first in the nation to utilize Twitter in the online classroom (summer 2008). An early adopter of Twitter, Nick has been instrumental in leading numerous local businesses and organizations to utilize this fast-paced social media platform as a business tool.

The developer of of both undergraduate and graduate courses in E-Commerce many years ago, he seized the bull by the horns in 2008 and saw the changes that had occurred since 1999. He renamed and reinvented the courses as Evolutionary Marketing, to reflect the increasing rate of change in the field, as well as the widespread adoption of emerging media.

Besides, web sites are so 20th century anyway.

Nick is a compulsive writer, and crafts a blog for his online students 7 days a week during the semester. The blogs that you read on this site are his, and are used used with permission here and elsewhere.

As part of his commitment to professional service, Nick has served on the Boards of Directors of Center City in Amarillo and the Texas Bicycle Coalition. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canyon Economic Development Corporation. He has developed over 50 web sites through the years for both local and national clients, and has engaged in marketing strategy and social media consultations with various companies.

When Nick is not busy staring down a computer or tapping away on his iPhone, he rides bikes. A lot. Since 1983 he has logged over 345,000 miles. He is an active bike commuter and the former President of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association. He also threatens to return to the racing scene one day.

Five years after her graduation from college, Dr. Browning became a faculty member and now serves as a director of broadcasting.  She received the Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award from Kansas State University where she earned a Masters Degree, Best Faculty Member at Ottawa University in 1989 and the University Teaching Excellence Award in 1995.

Dr. Browning has been named Advisor of the Year four different times.  She most recently received a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi in Mass Communication where she served as a visiting professor.  Dr. Browning’s student groups have won more than 50 National Championships in audio and video production, scriptwriting, web design and commercial production.

Dr. Browning brings real world mass media experience to the classroom as she has worked in commercial radio as a News Director and Morning Show host, a television anchor and freelance reporter for CNN and Philips Recordings Studios in Tokyo, Japan, and served on the production staff of various genres motion pictures. Three times she was given the highest honor from the National Broadcasting Society by being named Advisor of the Year.  She was also given the award in 2005, 2007, and again in 2009.

As of the year 2009 the broadcasting program she directs has won more than 50 national titles for audio and video production, script writing, web design and community service.  Student National Championships include awards in video and audio production, scriptwriting and web design.  In 2009, Dr. Browning won Best Academic Paper and Best Professional Production at the national conference of NBS.

Browning is certified in Avid, Pro Tools, After Effects, and is a Radio Operator with the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Most recently, Browning was awarded an Emmy Fellowship from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Lori Westermann received a B.A. in mass communication from Mississippi College and an M.A. in mass communication from Southwestern Theological Seminary. She became an academic in 2003, after close to 20 years in the professional media sector.

Her industry career includes positions with network affiliates, the satellite cable industry, advertising agencies, corporate public relations efforts and international documentary production. Most recently, Westermann served as a freelance media consultant specializing in corporate video and interactive communication programs.

Westermann has received numerous industry awards including International Association of Business Communicator and ADDY Awards for her advertising copywriting and broadcast producer services, and an Emmy Award for the documentary China: Walls & Bridges.

Upon joining academia, Westermann helped create a university year-in-review publication , which has been an annual recipient of the American Scholastic Press Association award for excellence in collegiate communication.

She currently serves as the faculty adviser for the student chapter of the American Advertising Federation and the Texas Public Relations Society, as well as the university’s National Student Adverting Competition Team. She was recently recognized as the 10th District AAF Advertising Educator of the Year and a University Outstanding Faculty Member.

Westermann currently teaches Advertising Principles, Public Relations and Advertising Research, Media Sales and Planning, Advertising Techniques, Advertising Campaigns, Desktop Publishing and Digital Photography. She has aggressively introduced a variety of social media platforms into her classroom pedagogy utilizing BlogSpot, Flickr, Google Sites and other wikis.

Her current creative activities include digital imaging and web-based communications. Her ongoing research focuses on the emerging roles of new media in marketing, education and culture.

2 responses

21 03 2010
Joyce Mosley

Hello – I am a friend of Leigh’s and look forward to getting the blog each day.

19 12 2010
Kevin Honeycutt

Can you please tell Leigh hello for me. I worked in her radio program at Ottawa University. Share my website and tell her to give me a yell.

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