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  • Writer's pictureJacob Rice

Dr. Robby Byrd gets his tenure

Dr. Robby Byrd has added another accolade to his career accomplishments, and this time he has earned tenure while at the University of Memphis. Byrd has joined the ranks of other instructors in the journalism department that have achieved tenure such as: Dr. Haught, Dr. Arant, Dr. Hayden, Dr. Hrach, Dr. Janoske McLean and Dr. Yang.

Byrd has previously received his Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State in 2002, his Master of Arts from the University of South Alabama in 2011 and his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2014. Now, he has received tenure at the University of Memphis.

Byrd is currently teaching multimedia storytelling, a graduate class called multimedia journalism and the journalism capstone course which is called multimedia news lab.

What does this mean to Dr. Byrd?

Byrd described earning tenure as a ‘rite of passage’ that every professor works to achieve. He said it becomes such a big part of a professor’s life and their work. Byrd also said the achievement does not seem real yet.

“It's such validation for my work,” Byrd said. “All of the long hours and anxiety and doubt that have gone into my work have led to this. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad I can say I succeeded.”

Byrd said he had a realistic goal of getting his tenure nearly six years ago when he began his work at the UofM. One of the challenges that Byrd described about the process was finding a balance between work and life.

“Work just isn't as gratifying if I can't live a meaningful and happy life outside of work,” Byrd said. “Finding that balance, though, is really tough. I think most professors going through this process find it just as difficult.”

The work ethic of Dr. Byrd

When asked how Byrd continued to work diligently, Byrd said he never wants to be sub-par and he never wants to let people down when they count on him. When asked what motivates him, Byrd said he loved his job and working with students.

“Seeing [students] grow,” Byrd said. “Seeing them come into their own professionally. It's so exciting to see. I also love the people I work with. We have some amazing people on our faculty and staff in JRSM. They make coming to work special even when everything else seems to be wrong or daunting.”

The next goal for Byrd is ‘to breathe a bit’. Byrd said he would like to work towards becoming a full professor. He also included working on his professional skills development and catching up on the current journalism industry.

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