In his current position, Fox creates hour-long morning talk shows. For these shows, he is responsible for developing sponsorship opportunities, production schedules, overseeing internships, and he helps with sales and promotion efforts. Fox is also an on-air contributor and works closely with clients, community members and the production team. Described as a storyteller, he brings this talent to a variety of different areas including journalism, project management, writing, voice artistry, public speaking, photography, public relations, social media, design, community relations, video editing, and copy editing.
As he talks about his background outside of the classroom, Fox is reminded of how valuable his teaching experience is to his professional career. "It is tremendous to be able to share the experiences that I have had in the studio and in the field. And at the same time get a new perspective and an interesting take on the work that I’m doing for a whole new audience."
Fox has taught at the college level for about 12 years, the last three years as an instructor at Cazenovia College. He teaches courses that closely relate to his professional experience, such as Introduction to Broadcasting and Intermediate Broadcasting.
What Makes Cazenovia College Special?
When asked what makes Cazenovia College special, Fox shares his thoughts on the opportunities that students have during their first semester through their senior year. "I think Cazenovia College is a tremendous place for a young student interested in a career in communications. It is a small community, and you can get involved from the very first day that you are on campus. You do not have to wait a couple years in a long pecking order to get involved," says Fox.
At Cazenovia College, students in any program can join organizations like the student newspaper, The Quad, or the student-run radio station, WITC 88.9. Through journalism and broadcasting courses, students gain the knowledge to put into practice what they are learning to lead these organizations. No matter their program, or skill levels, students can join these organizations.
Mentorships with Faculty and Advisors
Cazenovia College is also known for the close relationships students have with their faculty and advisors. Fox shares, "Every teacher that students come in contact with at Cazenovia becomes a mentor, a friend after graduation, and really has an opportunity to build a one-on-one relationship."
The personal touch is what makes Cazenovia College’s learning experience different from other institutions. Fox shares that the relationships that are made between students and advisors, students and faculty, and even students and administrators are beneficial to their success. These relationships last after a student graduates. Even the relationships that students build with each other as peers in the same major or as members of clubs are a special part of the Cazenovia College experience.
Fox adds, "The relationships on this campus are different than what I have seen at any place else. It really is a family at Cazenovia College!"
Proud Moments with Students
Everyone has heard of teachers having ah-ha moments with students. That moment when the light bulb goes on and there is a connection with the course material. For Fox, that moment happened the first year he was teaching.
"I was not sure that I was making a connection with my students. It was a different generation and I had been away from the classroom for a long time. I was wondering if I was having any impact," says Fox. "About mid-semester I noticed one student, then two and five, and then the entire class within a week starting to get the material. I could see the students growing a little more each class. We hit a point where we all came together and created something. The whole class had that aha moment!"
One of the greatest teaching experiences for Fox is watching his students grow. He learned quickly that it takes a little while to build momentum in the class. He adds, "Once you build a little momentum, you build that relationship with your students, and then it can be magic!"
Fox also has some students of whom he is very proud. He hosts many Communication Studies students as interns at Bridge Street. Two students who worked closely with him through their internships moved on to be successful in the television industry. One alumna went on to become a producer at an afternoon talk show in Minneapolis. Another alumnus is currently the community representative for the NewsChannel 9's sister station in Watertown.
“Both of these alumni are doing tremendous work and they got the opportunity here at Cazenovia College because they received the tools they needed. They got encouragement from every faculty member they came in contact with and have become successful in their careers," explains Fox.
Many other students have shown great determination and perseverance. Fox recalls, "One student came in the last day of class and handed in 10 extra-credit assignments. It showed me a lot about the person he was, where he was going, and how determined he was to accomplish something. And I have seen him do great things since then!”
Important Lesson from Professional Experience
In the early days of the internet, Fox was surprised when an industry insider warned, "You cannot be a television station anymore." Fox, who had been working in the industry for 15 years, was shocked by that comment.
The point being made was that TV professionals had to first be storytellers. The television airwaves were just one way to deliver those stories, and the station had to start thinking about other ways to tell their stories, including radio, print, online, etc. The idea of being Central New York's "hometown storyteller" was something that the station had to adjust to. They started to deliver stories in different ways and that gave them a leg-up on other stations.
This career lesson helped Fox develop a teaching philosophy that he now drives home to his students. Fox teaches the importance of being a storyteller, what a good story is, how to tell a good story, and how to tell a people-oriented story. He explained that many times, a storyteller stays away from facts and figures, but rather shares the personal story.
"That lesson taught me how to tell a story that will relate to my audience," says Fox. "That is my philosophy as a teacher. To be a great storyteller, find great ways to tell a story – whether it is on television, radio or another way – and share the secret to a successful career in broadcasting, storytelling!"
Beyond the Classroom
This career has been Fox's dream since he was young. "I grew up watching every kind of television that I could. To me the chance to speak to an audience and be able to use everything that I bring to the table is a dream come true. I could not have imagined growing up that I would find a career to be able to use my wit, creativity, vision, storytelling, and share stories with people who are watching TV or online," comments Fox.
Reminiscing about his childhood, he remembers watching television all the time. Now looking back on those times, he shares that he would have told his mother that he was doing research for a great career. Fox found a career where he could create things from his mind and heart, while sharing them with a broader audience whether it is on television, radio or whatever media that is being used. Fox adds, "It is want I wanted to do all of my life!"
For the last 35 years, Fox has worked for WIXT/WSYR TV in Syracuse. He has held positions such as the director of new media, special projects executive producer, sales marketing manager, news reporter and sports anchor. Along the way, he has held a number of other positions that added to his passion for broadcasting.
Message to Parents
When asked what message he has for parents of Cazenovia College students, Fox says, "I think parents of Cazenovia College students should know that their students are in good hands." He continues, "I am a parent of a college student and when I look at the way teachers, advisors, administrators, and everybody here at Cazenovia College deals with students and respond to their concerns, needs and safety it is really heartening. To know that you have a group of educators that really keep the students foremost in their thoughts, and that students are always number one."
Learn more about Tim Fox through our Faculty Spotlight video.