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Gregory Pitts, Director of Faculty and Student Programs for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Educational Foundation and professor and director in the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University, has been named the 2018 Distinguished Education Service Award (DESA) winner.

He has been an active member of the BEA for more than 25 years and held a district representative position on the BEA board of directors.  He is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and completed the Journalism and Mass Communication Leadership Institute for Diversity (JLID) Fellow through AEJMC.

Pitts has been Director of Faculty and Student Programs for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Educational Foundation since 2002 and has been associated with NATPE since 1993. Founded in 1978, the NATPE Educational Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization fostering educational development to prepare the next generation of diverse content professionals.  The Foundation aims to educate, enrich and enhance teaching professionals and students alike to prepare future generations of media & content leaders.  Pitts is responsible for administration of three competitively selected NATPE programs to advance faculty teaching and research and promote career opportunities for students: Faculty Fellowship Program, Faculty Development Grant Program and Student Intern Program.

As professor and director in the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University, Gregory Pitts is responsible for core administrative functions in an academic unit with 22 full-time and 10 part-time faculty and approximately 600 majors. He was hired to help integrate the newly combined journalism and multimedia journalism sequences into a single concentration and to lead the faculty through updates associated with a scheduled ACEJMC accreditation review.  The program was found in full compliance on all nine accreditations standards in 2016.

He has been a media management trainer for the International Broadcasting Bureau and Voice of America.  As a management and sales trainer, he has helped unprofitable media firms become profitable through use of management recommendations and sales training.  He has traveled throughout the Eastern Europe, where he has conducted management and sales training workshops in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.  Pitts is the past recipient of two Fulbright appointments (Zambia and Montenegro) and two Fulbright Specialist appointments (Ukraine) as well as numerous international teaching and consulting visits in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

He holds a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  His undergraduate and master’s degrees are from Auburn University.

The DESA is awarded to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the American system of electronic media education.  The award will be presented to Pitts at BEA’s 2018 annual convention ceremony in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 8, 2018.  For a list of previous recipients and information on the DESA visit BEA’s website.