Dr. Jennifer Palilonis

Director of Emerging Media Design and Development


Dr. Jennifer Palilonis is the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Multimedia Journalism and a full professor in the Department of Journalism. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development (EMDD). She is known for her creative and innovative endeavors. In 2017, Dr. Palilonis and her students deployed a global social media campaign to engage young people in the value of water. The work was recognized by the Vatican, and she and EMDD students were invited to lead a three-day workshop on water issues during the Vatican’s World Water Day. She and her students also have worked with the Professor Garfield Foundation, building a digital literacy curriculum for children K-5, and she leads the David Letterman Learning Experience, an ongoing interdisciplinary immersive learning project focused on intersections between technology, art, and storytelling. Garfield Creator Jim Davis and former late-night talk show host David Letterman are Ball State alumni. Other project collaborations have been with The Indiana State Museum, Circle of Blue, and USA Volleyball. Dr. Palilonis is featured here talking about the EMDD program.

Dr. Palilonis’ fields of professional specialization are design thinking, human-computer interaction, cross-platform storytelling, visual journalism, information graphics reporting, art direction, redesign, visual rhetoric, eLearning, digital publishing, research-informed design, and development, human-computer interaction, and interaction design. She is the former education director for the Society for News Design and former head of the Visual Communications division of the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication.


Brian Hayes

Senior Lecturer of Journalism


Brian Hayes is a Senior Lecturer and directs the journalism education, journalism graphics and internship programs in the Department of Journalism. Hayes is a former high school journalism teacher and was a professional newspaper designer and graphics editor in four cities. His contributions to journalism education have been recognized at both the state and national levels, most prominently through working with the Indiana High School Press Association, the Indiana Department of Education and the Journalism Education Association, a national organization for journalism educators. At Ball State, Hayes serves on multiple department and university-level committees and is a past-president and member of Ball State’s Journalism Alumni Society. He primarily teaches classes in visual communication, information design, data visualization, journalism teaching methods and professional development.


Leo Caldwell

Leo Caldwell

Assistant Lecturer


Leo Caldwell is an Assistant Lecturer for the Center of Information and Communication Sciences. Caldwell is a Ball State University Alumni graduating with a B.S. in Journalism Graphics in 2009 and an M.A. in Digital Storytelling in 2016. From 2017 to 2021, Caldwell served as a Journalism Instructor for Ball State University. During this time, his primary focus was teaching design-thinking journalism courses such as: Visual Communication, Web Design, and Usability and Strategic Communication Design. Caldwell is also an Adjunct Instructor with Drexel University where he teaches podcasting and Strategic Social Media Communication in the Communications Department’s graduate program.  Caldwell is known for his teaching and creation of workplace inclusivity and equality policies. Prior to teaching at Ball State University, Caldwell spent over six years at Gannett, the USA Today Network, as a columnist, senior digital editor, multimedia producer and page designer. He has also worked as an instructional designer at a boutique learning and development agency. He eventually became a project manager, studio manager, and senior communications consultant at a large learning and development company.    

Leo Caldwell is the creator of Empathy by Design, which works with organizations to build inclusive environments for gender-diverse folks and the broader LGBTQ+ community. Empathy by Design’s mission is to help design inclusive workplaces where everyone is welcomed. Recently, through Empathy by Design, Leo Caldwell trained the City of Muncie Fire Department and EMS Services on trans-awareness.    

 Connect with Leo Caldwell on LinkedIn