Chad E. Dell, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. in Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. in Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
I have long studied the intersection of media producers and audiences and the exercise of power in that engagement. I am currently working with a team of researchers to produce a documentary film about the 369th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, a segregated unit based in Harlem. Active in WWII, their geographic background and military service allowed them to resist oppression and build community with respect, dignity, and pride. My current research also focuses on conflict resolution, racial equity and social justice.
The Revenge of Hatpin Mary: Women, Professional Wrestling and Fan Culture in the 1950s.
Peter Lang Publishing, 2006.
“Wrestling with Corporate Identity: Defining Television Programming Strategy at NBC, 1945–1950”
In Transmitting the Past: Historical and Cultural Perspectives on Broadcasting, edited by J. Emmett Winn and Susan L. Brinson. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2005.
“The history of ‘travelers’: Recycling American prime time network programming.”
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 47 (no. 2), June 2003: 260-275.
“’Lookit That Hunk of Man!’: Subversive Pleasures, Female Fandom and Professional Wrestling.”
In Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture and Identity, edited by Cheryl Harris and Alison Alexander. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton. 1998.
“Big Differences on the Small Screen: Race, Class, Gender, Feminine Beauty and the Characters at Frank’s Place.” Jackie Byars and Chad Dell. In Women Making Meaning: New Feminist Directions in Communication, edited by Lana Rakow. New York: Routledge. 1992.
Selected Video Production
Executive Producer, Director, Principle Investigator, “My Buddy: The WWII 369th Documentary Project” (In production, 2020) https://guides.monmouth.edu/mybuddy
Producer, Director, Editor, “Mamafesto! (Why Superheroes Wear Capes)” (2017, 36 minutes) Written and performed by Deanna Shoemaker. Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies 13(3). http://liminalities.net/13-3/mamafesto.html
Director, Co-Producer, “New York Yearly Meeting Minute on Torture” (2009, 6 min, 50 sec.) https://youtu.be/NMbeDd_W9AM
Producer, Director, Editor, “Snapshots of the Friends General Conference Gathering” (2008, 10.5 min) https://youtu.be/GdKGwyGKGUo
Director, “Monmouth University Homecoming Show” (2003, 2 hrs. live on tape)
Director, Co-Producer, “Asbury Park Roadshow” (2002, 2003, 6 hrs. live; 30 minutes edited)
Writer, Co-Producer, “Hope begins Here,” The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties PSA (1999, 30 seconds)
Principal Photography, Co-editor, “The Gee Whiz Kid: The Reinvention of an American Pitchman” (feature length documentary, 1998, 98 minutes) Directed by Janice Durand. trailer: https://youtu.be/G23VW2CU3uQ
“Imagine the Beloved Community: The Alternatives to Violence Project in Prisons” Eleanor Novek and Chad Dell, National Communication Association, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 2019
Panelist: “From Harlem to Hawai’i: The 369th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment’s Fight for Equality in Hawai’i during WWII” Hawai’i Sociological Association, University of Hawai’i, February 2019.
“Alternatives to Violence (AVP) Workshops in Prisons: Performative Reflections on Transforming Power through Trust, Play, and Community” Deanna Shoemaker, Eleanor Novek and Chad Dell. National Communication Association, Dallas, TX, Nov. 2017
“ ‘We were from New York and we didn’t take any crap from anyone’: Harlem and the 369th in WWII” Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Columbia University, April 2017
“Practicing Theory in the Skills-Based Media Communication Classroom: 1997-2017” Chad Dell and Eleanor Novek. New Jersey Communication Association, Georgian Court University, March 2017
Panelist: “Alternatives to Violence Project: Transformative Learning for Resolving Conflicts” International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, Ohio State U, Columbus, OH, March 2017
Panelist: “Conflict Resolution & Collaborative Problem-Solving: An Alternatives to Violence Project Workshop” Global Understanding Conference, Monmouth University, April 2015
Panelist: “Orange is the New Black, A Conversation” The Criminalization of Race in History and Global Societies: Social Activism and Equal Justice, 4th Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Race, Monmouth University, April 2015
External Affiliations/Public Engagement
Board of Directors, Alternatives to Violence Project-USA, 2014-present. www.avpusa.org
Chair, Finance Committee, AVP-USA, 2013 to present.
Volunteer and Facilitator, Alternatives to Violence Project-New Jersey, 2010 to present. www.avpnj.org
Treasurer, AVP-NJ, 2012 to present.
Nonviolence Training Affiliate, Level I Certification, Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, University of Rhode Island Institute for Kingian Nonviolence.
Monmouth University Summer Online Teaching Academy, Certificate of Excellence, June 2020
Monmouth University, Creativity and Research Grant, “369th Harlem Hellfighters Documentary,” Summer 2017
Best Faculty Paper, Entertainment Studies Interest Group, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, San Francisco, August 2006
Monmouth University, Grant-in-aid-for-Creativity, 2003, 2001, 1997
Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student 1992-1993
Instructional and Developmental Division, International Communication Association, Austin, TX
Listen to Professor Dell’s episode of the Department of Communication’s Professor Profiles Podcast:
This is the latest in our continuing series of looking at the department of communication faculty. I’m Matt Harmon specialist professor here within the building, my colleague, Nick Massine, and I having some fun, getting to know, and hopefully letting you get to know some of our faculty here within the department. Joining me today is professor Chad Dell. And I want to start right with that. When I say professor Chad Dell, I could opt to say Dr. Chad Dell, but you actually are among those who would rather be called professor.
True. Absolutely. Thanks for having me. I would prefer to be called professor in part because I think it is a more open word than doctor. Doctor can be intimidating to some people. And it also establishes a hierarchy that I don’t think we need to emphasize here in in the university. Yes, I have a PhD and I worked really hard to get it and that’s what the doctor comes from. But at the end of the day, I’d prefer my students call me professor.
You know, you’ve been here at Monmouth since 1996, so a long time in, in the grand scheme of things and your specialty. And I hate to ever try to pigeon hole someone, but you were a TV professor by trade when, when you think of it and the ever-changing world of media, if I said to you, and I’m sure this is something that you talk about in your classes, what is TV today? What does that mean?
Well, TV today is completely blown up from what it was when I came here. It is it is YouTube. It is TikTok, it is all sorts of different formats, but at the end of the day, what it is, is a visual medium for telling stories and storytelling doesn’t change the, you know, the adventure of getting to know someone and caring about someone has been with television and with, you know, radio for, for ages. So that’s, that’s core.
Is that something that you feel like maybe from your time, I’d even go back to your time as a student undergrad grad through your doctoral or work early days of teaching to today? Is that something that you feel like maybe today’s student could have a hard time relating?
I don’t think so. I mean, I think we all grow up with stories and we grow up as storytellers, you know, from the time we learned to talk, we learned to tell stories. We learned to to, to rat out our sister and and talk about the fun we had in a particular circumstance. So it’s just learning the tools of the trade is, is what we’re here for. We’re we’re and to, to teach us more of the aesthetics of how to fashion a good story and, and to communicate and connect with an audience.
I want to talk a little bit about some of the things that you were involved with now. And as I said before, I don’t ever want to pigeonhole someone. And I think you are a great example of that because you are involved with so many different kinds of things. I’m going to start with the one that’s near and dear to my heart that, you know, which would be sports. You teach a couple of sports related classes here at Monmouth. And if you went back into your background as a TV person, that’s really where you learned a lot of the tools of the trade.
I did. I learned a lot from from working in Wisconsin, at Wisconsin public television, and the television network had the contract for the Wisconsin badgers football team 70,000 people a week when they played the hockey team and the basketball team. So I cut my teeth in part on running camera. I was replayed director for football for a year or two and doing all of the different positions on, on crews. So really I loved sports. I still love sports and it gave me a wonderful opportunity to, to learn the ins ins and outs of, of the television trade. From that perspective,
You know, as you sent me yesterday and we we’ve talked obviously about some of the other things that you’re involved with, looking at the perspective of yes, sports was probably something that was important, but now you’ve, you’ve almost changed your focus in a way. Not that you’re not interested in sports, as you just said, but you’ve changed your focus in a way to something that is extremely important to you, and that is working with alternatives to violence, the program that in a way has become near and dear to your heart.
It has I’ve been volunteering with the alternatives to violence project AVP, I think for about 10 years AVP offers weekend workshops on conflict resolution usually about 18 hours over the course of three days where 15 to 20 of us get together and start to understand how violence is working in our lives and how we can change ourselves in order to change what could turn out to be a violent situation so that, you know, that’s been really important to me. And, and in a way it’s also affected my teaching. I try to listen more, I try to set up circumstances where students can work. One-On-One work in small groups where we get more face to face. And hopefully it’s less of me talking and more of us working together as a group, trying to trying to learn from each other.
Is that something that you have found as you have taught here at Monmouth, as we mentioned before, since 1996 in today’s day and age students, when they come into the classroom, have the expectation of a little bit more of that holistic sense, a little more of that one-on-one face time so that they can get to know you as the professor. You can get to know them rather than thinking of the old fashioned lecture hall, which doesn’t necessarily work in today’s day and age.
Right. I don’t think it does. I do think that students expect more a one-on-one time. And at the same time, I also think they’re very anxious about that too. I think that with with the rise of social media, it’s more difficult for students to screw up the courage, to look at someone they don’t know and start a conversation. And so one of the things that I try to do with my non-violence training is to create those circumstances where students have to get to know each other, they have to connect with each other. And so by the time you’re done with a couple of classes, you’re on a first name basis with four or five different people. And that breaks down some of the barriers that that allow people to, to share more about who they are
You’ve been in. I’m making a little bit of an assumption here. You’ve been in some pretty interesting situations because not only do you work with the alternative to violence program, but part of that is being sometimes in and out of prisons where I’m sure you come across some, some pretty heavy type situations and subjects.
Yeah. One of the places that that AVP has worked well is in prison. And in fact, the alternatives to violence project was born in a prison in 1975 in upstate New York inmates who were a little nervous Attica prison riot had happened a few years previously. And a lot of New York prisoners were being transferred to other prisons. So prisoners at green Haven prison, sorry for the long story. But they they reached out to people from the civil rights movement and to Quakers who were working in the prison and said, can we develop a program? So they did. And the results is the alternatives to violence project. And it grew phenomenally. It’s now in 30 plus States and in over 50 countries around the world. So one of the prominent places that AVP still works in the United States is in prisons about 75% of the workshops we do are in prison.
And that’s where I learned AVP. So I went into a prison for VI my very first basic workshop. And on a Friday night I didn’t, I knew one person and that was another facilitator who I couldn’t and I couldn’t reveal my relationship with that person. So suddenly there’s 25 guys in khaki who come into the room and there’s a couple of us who are civilians taking the, the workshop. But by the end of Friday night, again, I was on a name basis with five guys. And by the end of the weekend, I knew all 25 of them. And I saw the connections between us. I saw what we had in common. So now 10 years later walking into a prison is, is something that I can do with confidence. If, if anything, the, the scariest part of a prison is not necessarily the inmates. Sometimes it can be the corrections officers that are that under, because they are under really demanding circumstances can can create difficulties for us. So I’ll, and I’m not bad mouthing cos I mean, some of them have been a terrific and wonderfully supportive, but I think that when you walk into a place where, where guys are there, really, because they want to take the program, they want to learn conflict resolution strategies, they’re open, their hearts are, are open to to the possibility of change.
Professor Chad Dell, joining us here on our continuing series, looking at faculty within the department of communication here at Monmouth university. So much of that answer. I could spin it into a million follow questions, but the one that I, I want to bring back to your teaching in the classroom would be if you are working with alternative to violence programs and dealing with people in conflict resolution, things like that, but yet you are teaching a medium in TV, which so much of it is based on violence. It is it, is it a conflict? Is it a contrast for you? Is it, is it difficult for you to watch TV and realize I have to almost speak in a way speak against what it is I’m teaching?
I don’t, it’s not difficult for me any more than it’s difficult for you or I to to enjoy football. And I know you do as a as a sports fan because what is sports but conflict? It wouldn’t be fun without conflict. So conflict is a normal part of our lives and, and yes television and film has a lot of violence built into it. And some of it is unfortunate. Some of it is gratuitous. What I try to emphasize in my teaching is telling stories about where the conflict is really rooted and less so in the violent aspects of it. So I teach a screenwriting class and they do a, a long 25 to 30 page script. And I, I give some limitations to that project. And I say, one of the things you can’t do is gratuitous violence.
Yes, you can put violence in your script, but I don’t want to see people dying just because you want to see it on screen. And I certainly don’t want to see things like and suicide at the end or a a murder at the end, which just sort of says, I don’t know how to end it. I’m going to, I’m going to kill off my characters. I think in that case they’re, they’re much more interesting ways to frame conflict and try to work your way through it rather than just, you know, killing off characters for fun.
Let’s change gears a little bit. And I want to, before we wrap things up, talk about something that you have been working on for, for several years. And I think this is a great way to talk about how the process is an ongoing thing. You have been dealing with a documentary type piece that deals with African-Americans during world war II, something that started several years ago. And I hate to say, do you know when it’s going to end? There’s probably, there’s probably not necessarily an end date to it because it’s that in-depth, it’s that detailed.
This is a, this is a project and I don’t know the end date. This is a documentary project that I’m on a team of, of eight different people with six of them are here at Monmouth university called my buddy the three 69th project. The three 69th was a unit of, of an all African-American unit that was active during world war two and came out of Harlem. And some of the members of the team, their parents were members of this. So when the project started in 2004, there were interviews with nine or 10 different guys who had been either in the three 69th or in the three 69th veterans association. They may have served in Korea or or later in the, in the army. But it’s it’s to me a fascinating story of of men who came together were shaped by Harlem and then from there with their, with their strength, went into the army for different reasons, joined the three 69th.
And we’re both trying to win a victory against, you know, enemies overseas, but also trying to win a victory at home, whether it’s convincing the the white Americans that they were engaged with in in bases in New York, in Massachusetts, or even in Burbank where at one point they stayed in the backyards protecting Los Angeles from an imagined invasion by the Japanese. And they’re standing in the backyards of people like comfrey Bogart who was who actually drove them to, to movie theaters so that they could go watch movies and drove them back home. So they were winning over hearts in those circumstances, but they were also facing when they got to Hawaii with the type of rampant race, racist violence that you know, that we know very well from in this case, from, from Marines many of them from the South and they said, you know, we stood up to it.
We won’t take crap from anybody. And they stood up to the violence, they stood up to the racism and it quickly became clear that these are, these are guys you don’t mess with. So when they tell the story that when when new Marines would come on, the base, the the upper brass would pull them aside and say, Hey, don’t mess with those guys. You know? So then from there, the, you know, the story just keeps building. They come back to Harlem. They create a veterans association, which is in essence, the only black military veterans association in the country that they got a national charter from Congress. And, you know, particularly when African-Americans are coming home from a war are probably not as welcome as you’d like to think from a VFW or another white centered veterans association, the three 69th veterans association was home for them.
So they worked with civil rights leaders. They worked with Malcolm Macs, they worked with Martin Luther King. They had a parade down fifth Avenue in New York to show the entire New York community the value of, of African-Americans and what they are contributing to society. So it’s a, it’s a wonderful story. And we’re in pre-production right now. We, we have a number of interviews shop, but we also still have a lot of research to do. And we’re looking for funding right now to continue to the next phase. I think it’s going to be done in, you know, maybe two or three years.
So in the span of about 15, 16 minutes, we have talked about sports, prison, volunteer alternatives to violence, this latest project, world war II, African-Americans racial issues. I want to finish with this, and that is, is there a lesson in there for students, your love of storytelling and being able to do it in so many different areas, instead of I’m going to go back to the word pigeonhole instead of pigeonholing yourself into just one thing,
I guess I’d respond to that by saying, I think this is the, this is one of the real values that we all have as a department of communication here at Monmouth university. I think one of the strong messages is, and it’s a message that I certainly talked to prospective students when they come here is that you may come in here thinking that you want to be a master of one thing. You know, it could be sports, television, it could be entertainment, radio, it could be public relations, but you also has to have to be conversant in three or four other languages, whether that’s, you know, audio or video or print or podcasting. So being able to be diverse, tend to be open, to change, open to the possibilities and to see the value in the different opportunities that present themselves is going to make you more competitive. It’s also going to make you more rounded as a human being and more open to to the possibilities.
Appreciate you coming by giving us some time we could certainly talk, I think, a whole lot more. And at some point we will, I’ll close with is go badgers, is that still appropriate for you? Does go badgers still work?
Go badgers, go Packers. Sure.
That is a professor Chad Del here of the department of communication at Monmouth university. I’m Matt Harmon for my colleague, Nick Massino. Thanks for joining us to the latest edition of our faculty profiles here of those who work within the building and the plans year of the department of communication here at Monmouth university.
Frequently Taught Classes
- Communication Project (CO 694)
- Cooperative Education: Communication (CO 388)
- Espn Live Sports I (CO 247)
- Graduate Foundations in Communication (CO 503)
- Introduction to Television Production (CO 145, CO 245)
- Mass Media, Public Interest, Corporation Profit (CO 530)
- Media Literacy (CO 155)
- Screenwriting (CO 365)
- Special Problems (CO 590)
- Television Criticism (CO 375)
- Tv Process & Effects (CO 155)
Recently Taught Classes
- CO-692-DE3NO - Communication Thesis
- CO-145-02 - Introduction to Television Production
- CO-375-01 - Television Criticism
- CO-691-DE3NO - Communication Thesis Proposal
- CO-503-50 - Graduate Foundations in Communication
- CO-365-01 - Screenwriting