An award-winning journalist and author, and a Fulbright Scholar who has conducted research on women in the Middle East, Tina Lesher, professor of communication, has served as coordinator of the department’s journalism/public relations concentration and as department chair. Most telling is that she has been selected three times as winner of the Students’ First Award, given annually by the Student Government Association to professors who inspire students.
A 2006-07 Fulbright Scholar, Lesher was the first faculty member in the College of Arts and Communication to be so honored. She spent the year in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), where her research centered on interviewing women there about their changing lives. She also had served as a visiting professor at U.A.E.’s Zayed University in 2001. Her research led to a novel, The Abaya Chronicles, with characters representing Emirati women.
“I had two goals,” Lesher explains. “I wanted to educate people about Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E., and to do so through a story about women with fictional characters based on a composite of the wonderful people I interviewed or met.”
She is one of a number of former Fulbright Scholars who were named Fulbright Ambassadors for 2010-12.
Since joining the faculty in 1989, Lesher has served as adviser to both student newspapers, The Beacon and The Pioneer Times. She has twice served as president of the New Jersey Press Women and has been its former Communicator of Achievement. The Garden State Scholastic Press Association presented her with its Golden Quill Award for service to the high school newspaper sector in New Jersey.
A graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University with a bachelor’s degree in history, Lesher earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She worked at the Scranton Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Hartford Courant, and as a free-lance writer and public relations specialist before embarking on an academic career in her forties. She returned to school and earned a doctorate in education, with a specialty in the teaching of writing, from Rutgers University in 1988. In 2011, she was honored with the University’s Legacy Award for Distinguished Faculty Service in recognition of her demonstrated career achievement and commitment to the University.