Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA

April 15, 2009

Doe Mayer Honored

Veteran Professor Accepts USC Award for Excellence in Teaching

By By Josh Eiserike

For the past 22 years Professor Doe Mayer has been at the forefront of using the cinematic arts to educate, inform and entertain. She's taught film, been a pioneer in employing media as a tool for social change, and worked in various philanthropic fields. On April 14, that legacy of dedication landed her one of USC's most prestigious forms of recognition, the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.

USC Executive Vice President and Provost C.L. Max Nikias presents School of Cinematic Arts Professor Doe Mayer with the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching at Town & Gown on April 14, 2009.
USC Executive Vice President and Provost C. L. Max Nikias presented Mayer, who holds the Mary Pickford Endowed Chair, with the award during the 28th Annual Academic Honors Convocation at Town & Gown, in which the university spotlighted outstanding professors from across the institution.

"I am of course delighted and honored to be receiving the Associates Award," Mayer, who holds a joint appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication, said. "I feel so very fortunate that USC has encouraged me to stretch intellectually and creatively in my teaching and has now recognized in such a gratifying way my efforts to implement new ideas and new courses across disciplines."

Nikias described Mayer as an inspiring and passionate teacher, as well as an international leader using film and other media to make positive social change.

Mayer's media and communication work has advanced "education, health and nutrition, disaster preparation, and disease prevention in developing countries," Nikias said. He also noted that "her creative talent and fieldwork in Africa, India, China and elsewhere have enhanced her teaching and mentoring of students who consider her especially empathetic, supportive and enthusiastic."

Mayer co-teaches media campaign design for non-profit organizations in the Annenberg School and "Health Issues in Entertainment Media" with the Keck School of Medicine.

Her applied research in developing countries informs her teaching. She works in areas such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, girls' education and disaster prevention. Mayer has also been involved in projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations and many major non-governmental organizations.

"During the 22 years I have taught at USC, what has been most important is that I have been allowed to have my teaching reflect the breadth of my professional interests, so that my courses have included beginning and intermediate core production classes at both the undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as special topics as varied as creativity and idea development, documentary production and pre-production, women in the film industry, health issues in entertainment media, communication campaign design, and social change media," Mayer said. She noted that a university administrator, in supporting the breadth of her work, had called her "the poster child for USC's strategic plan."

Mayer, a Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Senior Specialist, has been the recipient of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a program to strengthen women’s organizations in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. She was also the first woman hired on tenure track in School of Cinematic Arts Production Division, and was honored as a USC Remarkable Woman and a Fellow in USC's Center for Excellence in Teaching.

"The School of Cinematic Arts must be one of the few places on Earth where you actually have to tell students to take time off, get some sleep, and have a life," Mayer said. "They are totally committed to making movies, and that is inspiring and incredibly stimulating for a teacher."