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About Rollins

Lisa Tillmann, PhD

Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies

Lisa Tillmann

I serve as Professor and department chair of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC). Grounded in values of peace, equity, and justice, CMC examines the world’s most pressing issues and challenges and helps students (you!) envision ways to work toward change. I am committed to transformative education and social change work in the classroom, on campus, and in the community.  

From Marquette University (1993), I earned a double major (Communication and Criminology) and double minor (Philosophy and Sociology). I completed my PhD in Communication at the University of South Florida (1998) and came to Rollins in 1999. Early in my career here, I coordinated the faculty group charged with developing the curriculum for what became CMC; our program launched in 2007.

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I taught my first college class at age 22, when I entered the PhD program in Communication at the University of South Florida. I served as a graduate student instructor until my degree completion in 1998. I have devoted the remainder of my career to mentoring students at Rollins College, making my way from Assistant Professor (1999-2005), to Associate Professor (2005-10), to Professor (2010-present). In 2018, I was honored with the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowed Chair, and I now serve as chair of the department of Critical Media and Cultural Studies.

As my teaching does, my research centers on social issues related to inequity and injustice. I am the author of two books, Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation, and In Solidarity: Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight.

I also identify as a social justice documentary filmmaker, having produced the film Weight Problem: Cultural Narratives of Fat and “Obesity,” and co-produced the films Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food and Remembering a Cool September (about LGBT civil rights). Students played key roles in each of those films.

I even co-produced a music video, “Ode to Academic Labor.”

If any of this sounds meaningful, exciting, and fun, CMC might be a good fit for you!

professor lisa tillman

My teaching reflects and advances the mission of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC) by tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges and supporting students in envisioning ways of addressing those challenges. As a CMC student, you will become both a critical analyst of media and culture and a critically-oriented producer of media and culture.

Recent courses I have taught include: Senior Research Practicum (CMC 400), in which you would research, write, shoot, and edit a documentary film in one semester (!); Incarceration & Inequality, in which you would identify a problem with criminal justice practice or policy, research the problem, and advocate for a solution to real policy-makers like the Winter Park and Orlando Chiefs of Police, city and county commissioners, and state representatives; and Political Economy of Body and Food (CMC 320), in which your testimony and creative work could be incorporated into a documentary film like Weight Problem: Cultural Narratives of Fat and “Obesity” or Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food.

I founded and co-coordinate the Rollins Action Network, an organization for faculty and staff committed to social change initiatives on campus and in the community; and I am a member of the National Communication Association, the American Association of University Professors, and the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee.

incarceration and inequality

Course Spotlight: Incarceration and Inequality

Rollins students examine how well our country actually guarantees equal justice under the law.
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professor lisa tillman

Tillmann and students hold criminal justice presentations for policymakers

On December 6, students in Dr. Lisa Tillmann’s Incarceration and Inequality course presented fact-based presentations with law officials, including Orlando Chief of Police John Mina, Winter Park Chief of Police Michael Deal, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, and Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla.
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