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Renee Hobbs - Member

Renee Hobbs is Professor and Founding Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. Professor Hobbs is one of the nation's leading authorities on media literacy education. Through community and global service and as a leader, researcher, teacher, and advocate, Hobbs has worked to advance the quality of digital and media literacy education in the United States and around the world. She founded the Media Education Lab, whose mission is to improve the quality of media literacy education through research and community service. In the early 1990s, she created the first national teacher education program in media literacy, the Harvard Institute on Media Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Research. Renee Hobbs maintains an active research agenda that examines the intersections of the fields of media studies and education. She has published dozens of articles in scholarly journals in three fields: communication, education and health. She is the founding co-editor of the Journal for Media Literacy Education, an open-access peer reviewed journal. Her book, Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom offers portraits of how secondary educators integrate critical thinking and communication skills across the curriculum. Her book, Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning helps teachers understand copyright law as it applies to the use of digital media in education. Reading the Media: Media Literacy in High School English provides the first large-scale empirical evidence of the impact of media literacy education on reading comprehension skills. She also co-authored Elements of Language, the first secondary English language arts textbook to incorporate media literacy.

Advocacy. Renee Hobbs works to increase visibility for digital and media literacy at the national level. In 2012, she serves as a Fellow for the American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy. As a field-builder, she helped found the Partnership for Media Education, which evolved into the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), the national membership organization for media literacy. She has sought exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to advance the benefits of digital learning for all teachers and students. She is also active in helping educators understand their rights and responsibilities when using mass media, popular culture and digital media in education. Her white paper, Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action offers a blueprint of pragmatic actions to bring these competencies to all Americans.

Industry, Community and Global Service. With her colleagues at the Media Education Lab, Hobbs developed Powerful Voices for Kids, a university-school partnership that offers a comprehensive program for K-12 schools including a summer enrichment program for children, staff development program, hands-on mentoring and curriculum development, and parent and community outreach. She has worked in Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, France and China to help bring media literacy education to students and teachers worldwide. She partnered with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to explore how media literacy can promote mulicultural understanding, particularly of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. Her current consulting clients include PBS NewsHour and the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum.

Media Production. Renee Hobbs is a multimedia producer and has developed numerous award-winning resources for K-12 students and educators that help develop digital and media literacy competencies. Assignment: Media Literacy was developed with support from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Discovery Channel. With support from the U.S. Office on Women's Health, she created My Pop Studio, an award-winning online edutainment website that introduces tween girls to media literacy concepts and takes girls "behind the scenes" of popular music, television, magazines, and online media. She also created an online interactive education program for integrating social media into the teaching of the 2008 Presidential election, with support from PBS Teachers. Access, Analyze, Act: A Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement is an interactive website for teachers designed to strengthen their ability to use social media tools developed by the PBS community.

Renee Hobbs received an Ed.D in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.A. in Communication from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. with a double major in English Literature and Film/Video Studies from the University of Michigan.



University of Rhode Island


Professor and Founding Director,
Harrington School of Communication and Media