Additional Roles Professor
Faculty Member Division of Communication & Creative Media 
Filmmaking 
Game Sound Design 
Marketing Communication 
Education Regent University, Master of Arts; CUNY Hunter College, Bachelor of Arts Communication; Regent University, PhD
Areas of Expertise
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Media History, Journalism
  • African American History
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Biography

Dr. Van Dora Williams brings over 30 years of industry experience as a journalist, documentary producer and researcher to the classroom and is dedicated to teaching the next generation of journalists, writers, audio and documentary producers. She currently serves as Assistant Dean of Administration for the CCM Division and holds the rank of full professor as well. She co-created the Game Sound Design program by combining sound design and audio production courses with Game Studio courses and is currently its program director. She has earned multiple Emmy and Telly awards along with having her work seen on the PBS network and through multiple film festivals that include Sundance. She created content for the print, radio, video and web platforms for several years before moving into teaching at the higher education level. Her multiplatform storytelling experience provides her the flexibility to teach the tenets of journalism and storytelling through several mediums.
She believes in bringing real world experience to students within the classroom as well as outside of the classroom. As faculty, Williams co-led two international service-learning trips to The Gambia in West Africa and to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where students worked with local journalists and filmmakers to create two short films and three short documentaries. A few of those productions earned regional Student Production Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and were broadcast statewide on Vermont Public. In coordination with the College’s Special Collections and community organizations, she worked with her colleagues to gain funding from the Council of Independent Colleges’ Humanities for the Public Good. The grants allowed her to work with students on two documentaries titled Forget Me Not Vermont (2020), Outside the Fence (2023) and a website, Green Mountain Melodies, all examining the historical impact of culture on music and urban planning.
As a researcher Dr. Williams most recent work included serving as an archival researcher for the documentary, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2017). She served as an associate producer on Banished (2008) as well as many local documentaries and news programs as a senior producer at WHRO, the PBS station in Norfolk, Virginia where she earned multiple Emmy and Telly awards. Some of her research and producing work include Church Street: Harlem of the South (1997, WHRO), Common Ground: Legacy of Race in Religion (1999, WHRO), Noble Desire (2001, WHRO), Century: 100 Years of Life in Hampton Roads (2001, WHRO), Matters of Race (2003, ROJA Productions), Citizen King (2004, ROJA Productions). In between working on historical documentaries, Dr. Williams earned her PhD in Communication in 2017. Her dissertation focused on the impact Birth of a Nation (1915) had on three Virginia communities. She published a chapter in two international peer reviewed edited books focusing on the film’s 100th anniversary as a controversial and groundbreaking film.
She continues to conduct archival research and produce compelling documentaries on the national and regional events of the Progressive Era that continue to have an impact on American culture and society.

Publications & Abstracts

Resisting The Birth of a Nation in Virginia

Standing their ground: A southern community’s response to The Birth of a Nation

The Growing Resistance: Virginia’s Response to The Birth of a Nation, 1915 – 1925

Curriculum Vitae

READ MY CV

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