Faculty Profile: Communications & Journalism

Joe Sheller, Communication & Journalism

Joe Sheller, associate professor of communication, brought with him an understanding of how communications fits into today’s world when he joined Mount Mercy University’s faculty in 2001.

“One constant in a changing world is the need for communication—and a focus on the most basic communication skills, especially reporting and media writing, will serve you no matter how our fast-changing world evolves.”

Sheller holds a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri, a Bachelor of Arts in communication and history from Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, and an Associate of Science degree from Muscatine Community College.

Before Mount Mercy, he served as sports editor, and later editor, of The Boonville Daily News in Boonville, Mo., and later became a newsletter editor for a Storm Lake, Iowa, publishing company, covering the financial services industry.

Now, Sheller teaches all journalism and public relations writing courses at the university, as well as editing courses, media history, law and ethics, a freshman portal course, and core classes including speech competency.

“I enjoy the vibrancy of a college campus, and I like the idea of working with young adults as they make an important life transitions. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to others and am an important part of other people’s life journey. I like the mission of Mount Mercy—it’s connection to a set of values, it’s commitment to ‘go where Mercy is needed’ and help make the world a better place.”

In addition to teaching duties, Sheller is the student newspaper’s advisor.

“I am very proud of our student newspaper, the Mount Mercy Times, and I think one of the finest things I did was to take it from a twice-a-month publication to a weekly publication. Now, I’m working with the students on the Times to make it a more multimedia ‘new media’ communication organization.”

Sheller believes Mount Mercy is especially beneficial for students looking to combine majors, whether it’s in communications or another area of study.

“If you’re studying public relations, why not combine it with political science or psychology? Or if you’re into communication-media, consider a marketing or graphic design major. With any field, look into our Spanish minor. If you have four years, spend them getting a broad background. Mount Mercy not only lets you get a degree in four years, but it can let you craft a unique four-year experience that can make you a truly multi-dimensional, educated person.”

In his spare time, Sheller likes to read, garden and is an avid bicycle rider, usually riding RAGBRAI in the summer. He writes two blogs, one about bicycling and one about life in general, and his op-ed column can occasionally be seen in The Gazette.