UWA IMC FACULTY
Greg Jones, chair of the Communications and Creative Arts Department, came late to education as a career, having spent most of his life as an entrepreneur. He began his professional career as a director of circulation and marketing for four newspaper groups in the Southeast.
Since then, he has owned a full-service advertising agency, served as webmaster for dozens of companies, created and published Southern Flyer Magazine and Cross-Walk Newspaper, and owned a host of brick-and-mortar and online companies, offering everything from customized children’s books and toys to custom-imprinted specialty items. He delights in bringing his real-world business acumen and experience to his students who find his mistakes both hilarious and instructive.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of West Alabama, a master of arts in teaching from Mississippi State University, and a master of fine arts degree from Full Sail University in media design.
Once, according to legend, he moved above the Mason-Dixon Line, but he returned home for the barbecue. Greg and his wife Jennifer, a talented business partner in her own right, live in Meridian, Miss., and have four children and one grandchild. They hope to have more grandchildren soon.
Mrs. Katie Beard, is an instructor in the Communications and Creative Arts Department. She was born and raised in Cullman, AL and moved to Sumter County after marrying her husband in 2005. She and her husband, Robert, share two daughters, Mabry (15) and Anne Sutton (12).
Katie graduated from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, in 2003 earning a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. She worked in retail and residential design from 2003-2006. She moved into the banking industry from 2006-2014 and held the title of Assistant Vice-President/Branch Manager for a local community bank. Her career at UWA began in 2004 in Online Programs. Before her move to instructor to the Communications & Creative Arts department, she was Director of Alumni at UWA.
In 2022 Katie received her MBA in Marketing from the University of West Alabama and now teaches Speech, Media Buying, Agency in IMC, Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy courses, and Marketing.
Audrey Poole, is an instructor of communications in the IMC program at UWA. She teaches classes in graphic design, interior design, and professional speaking. Poole is originally from Germantown, TN, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design with a Minor in Art from the College of Architecture, Art, and Design at Mississippi State University in 2009.
Poole worked as an Interior Designer for a residential architecture and design firm in Birmingham, Alabama from 2010-2014 and then moved to Sumter County in 2012 and married her husband in 2013. She began working for UWA in 2014 in the Division of Online Programs as a Communication Specialist and worked as an Online Academics Advisor as well as Assistant and Associate Certification Officer until August 2022.
Poole earned her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from UWA in the Spring of 2022 and began working as an instructor of Communications in August of 2022. She still enjoys doing freelance interior design work when able. Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, gardening, interior design, and all things farm animals.
Amanda Gilliland, M.Ed. and M.A. Was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska around music and stage. After her failed attempt to qualify for Alaska’s Star Search representative, she relocated to Alabama where she completed High School and received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration, Marketing from Samford University in 2003. After marrying a College Football coach, Amanda began to pursue a career in Higher Education Administration and has worked for the Graduate admissions office at Georgia Southern as their Communications and Training Coordinator, and then at Kennesaw State as an Administrative Processing Manager. During this time, Amanda received her Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration and relocated to Livingston, Alabama. She later received her M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from UWA.
Amanda has been a digital communications instructor at the University of West Alabama since 2016. She and her Husband, Brett have a son, Rece (12) who is excessively sarcastic and a daughter, Ella (8) who they fondly call savage, and they all call Livingston home.
Brandon Walker was raised in Columbia, Mississippi in a family of teachers, artists, and musicians. He was interested in music and technology from an early age, and received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in songwriting and audio production from the University of Alabama in 2007. In 2008, he completed a certificate program in digital audio and video production at Pyramind in San Francisco, CA, where he received 7 industry certifications in a variety of professional software production packages. He has over a decade of experience working in live and studio settings for audio and video production across performance, corporate, and higher education settings. He has produced nationally televised ad campaigns, mixed and mastered records for touring bands, and produced segments for an Emmy award winning television show. In 2017, Brandon completed an M.S. in Interactive Technology, and began a PhD program in Higher Education Administration in 2018, that he is set to complete in May, 2022
Brandon joined the faculty of UWA in the fall of 2018, where he serves as an Instructor of Digital Communications in the Integrated Marketing Communications program. He specializes in teaching television production, advanced editing, documentary filmmaking, and podcasting. He and his wife Emily Walker have two children, Abigail (10) and Benjamin (8).
Caleb James Smith attended UWA as a student after winning second place in the radio reporting contest at the 2017 IMC3 competition. While in the IMC program, he went on to win the 2018 Best of the South, third place for radio reporting at the Southeast Journalism Conference. He also won the 2020 Lambda Pi Eta Award for doing great work inside and outside of class.
Caleb is a new hire straight out of the IMC program as of August 2021. He completed his Bachelor of Science in IMC: Sports Communication December of 2020 and proceeded to complete his Master of Arts in IMC the following December of 2021. Caleb now works as the media technician for the IMC program, maintaining and upgrading equipment and computers as needed. He also acts as a lecturer of digital communications as of January 2022, starting with teaching podcasting, with more classes to come as he settles into his role.