With four college degrees and a very diverse career background, journalism professor Hugh Fullerton brings a unique disposition to the Sam Houston State University faculty.
Fullerton graduated from Northwestern University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. He earned his MBA from Western Michigan University, and his doctorate in mass communications from the University of Florida.
For about 20 years Fullerton worked as a reporter and copy editor for numerous newspapers and magazines. He then owned several small weekly newspapers, which overlapped into his teaching career.
Once he sold two of his largest papers in the late 1980s, Fullerton said he felt he did not have enough to keep him busy. So he accepted a job at Western Michigan University and eventually sold the rest of his papers.
After teaching journalism for four years in Bulgaria, Fullerton transferred to a university in Virginia to bring him back to the United States.
Shortly after moving to Virginia, Fullerton found the opportunity to meet the journalism coordinators at SHSU, and to apply for his sixth teaching position in the last 21 years.
“Everyone I met on the trip I liked,” he said.
Fullerton said he chose the teaching route of his career because of the students, and for a more civilized way to make a living, though he said he finds the newsroom a very exciting place.
“Wherever I’ve been I’ve loved my students,” Fullerton said. “And Sam Houston has some of the nicest students.”
Fullerton said he really enjoys working with journalism students because they learn well.
“Motivation is so important,” he said. “It seems the ones who chose journalism are highly motivated.”
Out of the writing and copy editing classes Fullerton teaches, and said he enjoys, his Media Law and Ethics class is the one he said he prefers most.
“I like to see students grow intellectually and learn to be open minded,” he said. “I can often get them really involved in class.”
Fullerton said the most important lesson he can impart to his students is to be ethical in every situation, and to find the techniques for determining what is ethical in journalism, or ethical behavior of any kind.
For his next expedition, Fullerton said he has applied for the prestigious Fulbright Program, where he will travel abroad as a lecturer. Fulbright is a program supported by the United States government, designed as a foreign exchange program for faculty members around the world.
Currently, Fullerton is an alternate candidate for an institution in Hungary, and is also under consideration for a position in Bosnia.
“Though it’s more dangerous, I would take it,” he said of the Bosnia position.
While teaching abroad, Fullerton said he has intentions to do research on the media in the country to which he is assigned.
Fullerton said he plans to return to Sam Houston after his fellowship, though perhaps not immediately.
“I might take the summer off and stay in Europe to travel,” said Fullerton.