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Faculty Spotlight: Mark Curnutte

Mark Curnutte, a race and social justice reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, uses technology to connect his students in the Sociology and Gerontology department to the outside world. | Video by Benjamin Hartman

By Benjamin Kitchen

As a race and social justice reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Miami alum Mark Curnutte is used to forging connections with "the real world". For students here at Miami University, however, it might not be so easy.

Luckily, Curnutte uses Canvas to bridge that gap for students when he teaches in the Sociology & Gerontology department. "It's really important, I believe, to connect students to people that model what they may want to be doing," Curnutte says. "I try to make those connections."

Canvas allows the reporter and instructor to share articles he or his colleagues wrote for the Enquirer. "I've written about these people," Curnutte says, "so I will post links on Canvas in preparation for a visitor's presentation."

Curnutte also enjoys the flexibility that technology provides. "Being in newspapers, I'm used to switching gears and being flexible," Curnutte said. "I reserve the right on the syllabus to interject some things and change things up." Curnutte can upload additional reading materials inspired by classroom discussions "without the student having to incur any expense."

Overall, Curnutte has found that Canvas is "a great tool. It's all designed to enhance the student experience and their learning experience." He adds that Canvas has not only made grading more efficient, but it has also made communicating with students far easier: "As a community, me as the instructor and them as the students, we're accountable to each other."

Mark Curnutte's second book, Across the Color Line: An Ethnography of African Americans in Cincinnati, a compilation of stories published in the Enquirer over 25 years, will be released later this spring.