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Communication students to learn from industry veterans through new Professional-in-Residence program - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

Communication students to learn from industry veterans through new Professional-in-Residence program

April 25, 2024

Chuck Williams standing in front of a wall with various decorations, including the letters W-R-B-L

A name and face familiar to the Chattahoochee Valley will soon take on a new role in Columbus State University’s Department of Communication. 

Through the department’s new Professional-in-Residence program, students will learn from and shadow seasoned journalists, broadcasters and other communication professionals as part of their classroom studies and through internships and practicum experiences. In some cases, the professional-in-residence will team-teach courses, based on their specialty, alongside departmental faculty. 

“We are very much about ‘learning by doing’ in the Department of Communication,” the department’s chair, Dr. Danna Gibson, said. “That includes exposing our students to leaders and veterans in their fields of study so they understand how what they are learning will be applied in the field. Demonstrating how to apply classroom concepts in a professional setting is vital to our teaching method and is a natural extension of our partnerships with local media and our continuing commitment to workforce development.”  

The department has named local news veteran Chuck Williams as its inaugural professional-in-residence. Williams brings to the role more than four decades of covering Columbus politics, local government, investigative and breaking news, and sports. After fine-tuning his craft as part of a 35-year career in print journalism, he moved to television news reporting in 2018. 

People cutting a ribbon on new academic spaceWilliams’ work in both mediums has been recognized frequently with industry awards and award nominations. It also makes him a familiar face in the Chattahoochee Valley, as well as the halls of the Department of Communication. Soon after joining the WRBL-TV News 3 team, Williams began staffing the station’s Columbus State news bureau. WRBL’s initial bureau opened in 2018 CSU’s RiverPark Campus Carpenters Building. As a result of the department’s relocation Yancey Center at One Arsenal Place, WRBL cut the ribbon in April 2024 on its reimagined Uptown Bureau (pictured)—where Williams will continue his work producing and reporting news on the station’s behalf. 

In conjunction with his bureau duties, Williams has guest-lectured in media-writing and communication ethics classes. He is a regular contributor to the department’s annual Media Lecture Series and regularly speaks to members of the department’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)

“As a seasoned journalist embedded to some degree in the department already, Chuck brings breaking news to our students, and our students to breaking news,” Gibson said. “Incorporating his professional perspectives into our curriculum in this new way will benefit our students—no matter the communication specialty they are studying.”  

While the represented mediums may change over time, at the core of the professional-in-residence program is imparting to students the importance of good writing to the communication field. It also signals the importance of maintaining ethics and fair-and-balanced reporting as tenants of the academic curriculum as well as in the daily practice of the media profession. 

“Being a journalist comes with a certain responsibility—real and implied,” Williams said. “In a time when the actions of reporters and those who gather and report news is under intense scrutiny, it’s important for those studying for a career in communications see the process that reporters go through to get it right and confirm facts.”

Headshot of Danna GibsonGibson said the department is fortunate to draw from the area’s vast number of professionals who bring their expertise to the classroom for the benefit of Columbus State students. The professional-in-residence program, she said, is the next step in that evolution.

“Our students are exploring and preparing for careers in print, television, radio, film production and public relations,” Gibson (pictured) explained. “Our Professional-in-Residence program is another opportunity for our students to benefit from this level of expertise and career perspectives they gain from industry veterans who serve as professors, adjunct faculty, guest speakers and lecturers, and internship and practicum supervisors in our department.” 


A self-proclaimed “recovering sports editor,” Williams spent more than three decades working for the Columbus-based “Ledger-Enquirer,” where he did most of the jobs in the newsroom. As the newspaper’s sports editor, he coordinated the Ledger-Enquirer’s award-winning coverage of the 1996 Olympics. In 1997, he became a metro editor and later a business editor. In 2001, he moved back to his first love of reporting. 

In November 2018, he made the move from print to broadcast news when he joined the WRBL-TV news team

Headshot of Chuck Williams (source: WRBL-TV)“Moving to the television side [of news reporting] in 2018 was incredibly difficult but rewarding beyond measure,” Williams (pictured) said. “In our newsroom, I have worked with talented young journalists and production staff. I am certain I have learned far more from them than they have from me. But I try to model an old-school work ethic in an evolving medium.”

His professional duties have taken him to various corners of the country and around the world, and have placed him across from government, military and community leaders at all levels. His reporting has garnered recognition from the Georgia Associated Press and Georgia Press Association on multiple occasions.  

Williams will begin his Professional-in-Residence duties this fall. The active political season—headlined by the upcoming presidential election cycle—will offer Williams plenty of classroom material as he supplements lectures in both COMM 3242: Writing for Media and COMM 3146: Political Communication courses. 

“For three years, I have worked with CSU students who have shadowed me for course credit in the practicum program,” Williams said. “This is a logical and welcomed expansion of that—political coverage is my love and the chance to share how you do that with students is going to be a lot of fun. And, we all know, you must be able to write—and write well—to truly love this job.”

“I’ve known and worked with Chuck for nearly 30 years, and I’ve always respected him as a journalist,” said Marion Scott, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Communication who will co-teach COMM 3146 and COMM 3242 with Williams in the fall. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with him on these two courses. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students.”


Based in the university’s College of the Arts, the Department of Communication offers associate-, undergraduate-, graduate-, nexus- and certificate-level studies and minors in concentrations and specialties that include communication studies, creative services management, film production, integrated media and public relations. Its bachelor’s track in communication studies and master’s track in strategic communication management are both offered online.

Media contact: 
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729, 

Related news coverage:
CSU’s Communication students and graduates honored at “A Night for the Stars” (April 17, 2024, WRBL-TV)
Cutting the ribbon at CSU’s brand-new WRBL Uptown Bureau (April 9, 2024, WRBL-TV)