Faculty Profile: People, program draw professor to University
Dr. Dale Zacher
There were many reasons why Dr. Dale Zacher joined UALR’s School of Mass Communication this semester, or as he puts it, a “perfect storm” of elements.
But he said one of the biggest selling points for him was the job itself.
“This is the first job I picked for the merits of the job and the professional opportunities available,” he said.
Zacher’s career has led him from North Dakota to Ohio, and he said the UALR SMC stands out from other programs in its depth.
“I came from a program that combined Mass Communication and Speech Communication—I find that waters each field down,” he said. “I like the split in the programs UALR has—there is room for specialization. Only one of my four previous jobs was in a dedicated ‘Mass Communication’ school like this one.”
The size of UALR’s campus was also a factor in Zacher’s decision.
“You’re just a number at the bigger schools; I wanted more of a smaller-campus feel,” he said.
But Zacher added that the size of the SMC is not too small to run effectively.
“The classes [at UALR] are smaller, but they still have the ‘critical mass’ to do programs,” he said.
He said the environment of Arkansas was also a draw for him, as well as his family.
“I’ve spent some time in South-like climate – Ohio is similar geographically,” he said. “But I don’t miss the winter in North Dakota. I heard the summers here are bad, but it seems like you get nine months of good weather and three months of bad weather here. In North Dakota, it’s nine months of bad weather and three months of good.”
Zacher said that he is still taking things slow this first semester, but that he has plans for the future of the SMC. “I am still learning the people and the place, but I am looking forward to next semester,” he said. “I can finally sink my teeth into this place.”
One of his goals is to expand the television programming offered through channel 62, starting with news.
“I’m looking forward to getting the news operations geared up, maybe putting some weekly news program together,” he said.
Zacher said this starts with both student and community involvement.
“The first step is getting students aware and involved…then get the community’s awareness of the station up as well,” he said. “I want to ramp it up—it has been there in the past, and we have to get it jumpstarted again. Once this is up, we can expand programming.”
Zacher also credits the SMC faculty and staff as another element of his decision to join UALR.
“I was impressed by the people,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of a program that knows the balance between applying skills and education.”