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Vanessa Greenwood

Professor, School of Communication and Media

BA, San Jose State University
MA, San Jose State University
PhD, New York University
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Dr. Vanessa Elaine Greenwood joined the faculty of Montclair in 2002 and is currently a tenured full professor in the School of Communication and Media in the College of the Arts. Dr. Greenwood is the founder/director of the COMM+MEDIA Research Collaboratory (2016-2022) and a former chairperson of the Department of Secondary and Special Education in the College of Education and Human Services (2014-2016).

Dr. Greenwood (formerly Domine) earned her BA and MA in Communication Studies from the California State University system and her PhD in Media Ecology from New York University. Early in her career she worked as a media educator and technology consultant in the New York City Schools, which served as the basis of her first book (Rethinking Technology in Schools, 2009). Her early research focused on the uses of technology to renew schooling and promote democratic practices particularly through media literacy education and teacher preparation.

In 2013 the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) honored Dr. Greenwood with the Meritorious Service award for her service as Vice President of the Board of Directors, co-editor of the Journal of Media Literacy Education, and two-time conference program chair (2009-2013). Dr. Greenwood remains active on numerous editorial boards for education, media, technology, and health media-related academic journals.

Dr. Greenwood published her second book (Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools: How Media Literacy Education Can Renew Education in the United States, 2015) as a road map for educators and community leaders to proactively reposition education as a means to achieve health rather than the sacrifice of adolescent health for the sake of academics.

Greenwood's third book (Navigating Media Literacy: A Pedagogical Tour of Disneyland, 2020) captures the attention of those who incorrectly assume media literacy is mere criticism; it can also be creative and constructive even while pulling back the veil on the Happiest Place on Earth.

In 2016 Dr. Greenwood joined the faculty in the School of Communication and Media in the College of the Arts where she teaches courses such as Communication Research Methods, Media Criticism, Media Ecology, Television and Culture, Children's Television, Doing Media Literacy, Food Media Literacy, and a senior seminar on Media Permaculture.

Dr. Greenwood happily relinquished her personal social media accounts in 2020 to experiment with the Slow Media movement. In 2021, she earned a certificate in permaculture design and bought a 4-acre homestead to apply principles of regenerative homesteading on a daily basis.


Dr. Greenwood's research intersects the fields of communication, education and technology with a particular emphasis on media literacy education. Broadly speaking, she is interested in how media technologies can support communicative and communal experiences among all learners (but especially adolescent learners). She also studies the growing need for health media literacy among all age groups. Recently she has explored the intersections of media ecology and permaculture design.


Office Hours


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Zoom drop-in only (589-624-8622). No appointment necessary.
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Zoom drop-in only (589-624-8622). No appointment necessary.


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Zoom drop-in only (589-624-8622). No appointment necessary.
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Zoom drop-in only (589-624-8622). No appointment necessary.


Research Projects

Communication + Media Research Collaboratory (C+MRC)

The C+MRC in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University operates on a collaboratory concept (collaboration + laboratory ). It is a center without walls where researchers can share data, maximize resources, and interact with colleagues—regardless of physical location. The C+MRC allows research faculty and students to work with members of all facets of society to address current dilemmas.fosters innovation through collaborative research and praxis. Our overarching mission is to apply diverse methodologies to solve problems and catalyze positive social change. To this end, the C+MRC supports research incubation, instructional innovation, and their application across the inherently diverse yet intersecting fields of communication and media. We are dedicated to serving (in order of priority): students, faculty, community, and institutional partners. THE C+MRC IS CURRENTLY SHUTTERED DUE TO LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT.

Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools

Widespread obesity, poor nutrition, sleep-deprivation, and highly digital and sedentary lifestyles are just a few of the many challenges facing young people in the United States. Although U.S. public schools have the potential for meeting these challenges on a mass scale, they are slow to respond. The emphasis on discrete subject areas and standardized test performance offers little in the way of authentic learning and may in reality impede health. Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools: How Media Literacy Education can Renew Education in the United States reframes health education as a complex terrain that resides within a larger ecosystem of historical, social, political, and global economic forces. It calls for a media literate pedagogy that empowers students to be critical consumers, creative producers, and responsible citizens. I call for a holistic public education model through school-community initiatives and innovative partnerships that successfully magnify all curriculum subjects and their associated teaching practices. Teachers, teacher educators, school administrators, community organizers, public health professionals, and policy makers must work together in a transmediated and transdisciplinary approach to adolescent health. This will ultimately demonstrate how our collective focus on cultivating healthy teens will in turn yield healthy schools.