Any student interested in media and production at Marist will cross paths with Sue Lawrence, the chair of the department. From core Fine Arts classes in “Art of Film” to specialized film classes, Professor Lawrence guides students through their study of the media. Outside of class, she keeps up with the latest movies and has always wondered “why everybody doesn’t love the movies?”
What is your favorite class to teach at Marist and why?
I am teaching Race and Ethnicity in Film right now and I am having a wonderful time. It seems like a very timely topic at this point.
How do you think students from different majors can benefit from taking a film class?
I think anybody can. I think that being media literate is extremely important and I think that student in other majors should avail themselves to take a class. It is really important to understand when you are being manipulated by a documentary or a tv show or a commercial.
After taking a class with you, how do you hope the movie-watching experience will change for students?
I hope it will change 100 percent and completely radically alter the way people will perceive media messages. I think it is really important to understand the power of camera angles, and the lighting, and how everything works together to make an impact on the viewers.
Do you have a favorite movie and why?
I have so many favorite movies, but I have some that I particularly love. I love Wings of Desire by Win Wenders. It’s about an angel that comes down to earth and sees what it’s like to be human. I like the subject matter, and I like the way everything is handled, and the humanity of the film.
Before teaching, how else have you worked in the media profession?
I worked at a radio station as a newscaster and I had a journalism major from the University of Missouri in Columbia. I worked a little for the Corps of Engineers in Public Relations. Then I decided I better go back to college and get a masters degree to be a better journalist.
How has the study of film and media changed since you were a student?
Well, I like the more recent emphasis on how film impacts society. This is a more common thing to study now, like my Race and Ethnicity in Film class and Feminism in Film, which I am heavily into. When I first started it was more about the history of film. I think it is more fun to be able to talk about masculinity and more current topics.
How do you think the new screening room has improved the experience in your classroom?
It’s like I died and went to heaven. This space has such a gorgeous picture, it has comfortable seats, it’s like an actual viewing environment and it makes you just want to sit down in those chairs. It’s a major change and I think it’s good psychologically for the students to have a space for that. It’s gorgeous.
As chair of the Media Department, what is your relationship like with students?
Well, one of my major jobs is to help them with any problems they have with registration. They come to me if they are having a problem graduating and we see if some course substitutions might be available. I mean, I do that kind of stuff all day long so it is very student oriented. If a person was having a problem with a professor they could come to me.
What is one thing you want your students to know about you?
I hope that it is that I have high standards. I want them to do the best work that they possibly could.
Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Communication and the Arts
Campus: New York