Faculty Spotlight: Vernard Gantt

The seed of Gantt's desire to work in television was planted at a very early age; watching Mighty Mouse at five years old, he told his mother that he wanted to “work in that”. He fell in love with the bells and whistles of production when he first walked into a control room in college.

Between earning his Bachelor's in Mass Communication and his Master's in TV Production & Management, Gantt worked at a variety of jobs ranging from media coordinator, post office employee, and door to door encyclopedia salesman. He credits these real world work experiences for landing him the job at ABC that began his long career working behind the scenes in television. Joining Montclair University's School of Communication and Media in 2015, Professor Vernard Gantt brings more than 30 years of television and production experience to the school's TVDM majors.

For 35 years Gantt worked at ABC, fX, FOX News, NBC, MSNBC, and finally WNBC, managing events that included Presidential debates, political conventions and five Inaugurations, entertainment productions, international remotes, football, basketball and the Olympics - giving him an insider's understanding of how television production works. Gantt had been retired for only a few months before coming to Montclair State University to help educate a new generation of students that will become the next industry leaders keeping the machine called 'television' running smoothly.

Professor Gantt currently teaches “Introduction to the Control Room & Studio”, and “Introduction to Field Production and Editing,” which provide students with the fundamentals of television production and post-production techniques in a hands-on environment. Gantt's experience in television leads to a unique approach to teaching these courses in a way that he believes prepares his students for the realities of the workplace. "They are not in a class, they are on the job. I am not their teacher, I’m their boss. We are a production arm of a network operation and they are expected to perform. Their paycheck is their grade" Gantt says. By exposing the students to the pressures of the production work environment and sharing his experiences with them, Gantt believes that he is molding the students into employees that will thrive when they enter the field rather than be unprepared for the demands of the job.

In addition to guiding his students, Professor Gantt works as a Clinical Specialist for the School of Communication and Media. Currently, he is working with the university and NJTV on the lieutenant gubernatorial race debate, which will be hosted at MSU on October 16th, 2017. Though NJTV will moderate and run the production, Gantt has helped provide a great opportunity for several students to work as production assistants, shooting and editing packages that will air during the 1.5 hour program. For many of our students, this will be an excellent opportunity to see and work on a real broadcast production.