School of Communication & Journalism

Joan R. Harrell

Joan R. Harrell Lecturer, Journalism
232H Tichenor Hall
(334) 844-2727

Office Hours

  • Thursday 2:30-5:30 p.m. or by appoitment Virtual Office Link:


Joan R. Harrell is a Journalism Lecturer in the School of Communication and Journalism and a Diversity Officer for the College of Liberal Arts. She has a Certificate of Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and integrates her experience in reporting and writing and examining how marginalized people and communities, stereotypes, social and geographical locations, cultures, coded language, climate change, health disparities, and unconscious bias factor into by what method journalists and media professionals search for truth.

Joan teaches journalism courses that engage emerging journalists and media practitioners how to become intentional learners and practitioners of news writing and reporting, magazine feature writing, sports & politics, history of journalism, cultural identity, racial inequalities, social justice, social change, environmental justice, climate change, diversity and democracy, literary journalism, reporting on faith communities, and the intersectionality of media ethics and vulnerable populations.

Before entering academia, she worked in local television markets as an award-winning journalist including news anchor at ABC, NBC and CBS television affiliates in GA, SC, and MO; researcher and field producer at the ABC News Bureau in London, England; assignment editor at the CBS News Bureau and CSPAN in Washington, DC; associate producer for Alvin Perlmutter and correspondent and associate producer for Bill Moyers in New York City.  

Her writing and public relations skills and expertise also afforded her opportunities to work as the Senior Vice of Programming in the Women’s Division of World Space Corporation, Vice President Walls Communications and Vice President of Media Relations for Hill and Knowlton Public Affairs Worldwide in Washington, DC. She is the former associate senior editor of the Journal of Healthcare Science and the Humanities and freelance writer for Essence MagazineChristian Century, The Huffington Post, We Talk, We Listen, and Sojourner’s Blog.

The Rev. Dr. Harrell is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church, founder and moderator of the digital humanities project Becoming the Beloved Community and member of the inaugural Cohort in the Henry Luce Foundation Public Theology and Racial Justice Institute at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She was honored as the 2020 guest lecturer for the Theological Bioethics Within Marginalized Communities Series at Harvard University Divinity School Center for the Study of World Religions.

Her scholarship explores the intersectionality of narrative ethics, racism, media stereotypes, religion, social change, vulnerable populations, xenophobia, theology, religion, alterity, and public health injustices.


  • DMIN, Chicago Theological Seminary
  • MDiv, Interdenominational Theological Center
  • MS, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • BS, Stephens College

Last Updated: January 18, 2022