Faculty Profile for Dr. David S Nolan

profile photo for Dr. David S Nolan
Dr. David S Nolan
Regents' Teacher — School of Jrnlism & Mass Comm
OM 226
phone: (512) 245-9653

Biography Section

Biography and Education

Dr. David Nolan is a Regents' Teacher and Professor of Practice in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in visual communication, media design, user experience and user interface design, media product strategy, photojournalism, visual storytelling, digital video production, and the fundamentals of digital and online media in the school. He has taught at the university since 2003 and received a Ph.D. from Texas State in Education in 2012.

His professional photography won numerous awards over the decades he was working as a professional photojournalist. His photography was also featured in numerous publications such as: Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the New York Times, New York Times magazine, Life, New York Newsday, Air Force magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Airman Magazine, Torch magazine, countless other magazines, books, websites and media.

In 2020 he was a recipient of the Texas State University Alumni Association Teaching Award of Honor. In 2018 he was selected as a Regents' Teacher by the Texas State University System and also received the Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2015 he was awarded the National Press Photographers Association Robin F. Garland Educator Award for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator and in the same year received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at Texas State. In 2010 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Service at Texas State and in 2008 he was recognized as the Honors Professor of the Year at the university. He hosted and was on the faculty of the National Press Photographers Association’s Advanced Storytelling Workshop at Texas State for more than a decade.

Nolan’s professional career as a U.S. Air Force military combat photographer and photography editor spanned 24 years and all seven continents. He was the director of photography for Airman Magazine, the official magazine of the United States Air Force for many years and was a staff photojournalist before that. One of his last assignments was to the Middle East where he deployed three days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to cover combat operations during the American invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent operations in the region before retiring from military service in 2003.

During his professional career he covered U.S. and foreign military operations, State Department activities, and other nongovernmental and governmental agencies around the world. Some of his photography included coverage of former President Ronald Reagan’s much publicized visit to a German Nazi SS stormtrooper cemetery; the repatriation of journalist Jeremy Levin who escaped from Islamic fundamentalists; the release of a hijacked TWA crew and passengers; the release of hostages from an American Airlines jet in Malta; Afghanistan during the height of the Soviet invasion to document the plight of the Mujahadeen; and coverage of Soviet Jewish dissident Natan Sharansky's release and flight to Israel. He covered the draw down of nuclear Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in England, Soviet weapons inspections, and the beginning of the thaw in the Cold War. He participated in and documented United Nations Peacekeeping Forces operations in Namibia, Africa; traveled to Uzbekistan in the Soviet Union to cover burn victims from a Soviet gas pipeline explosion and ambassador Shirley Temple Black's participation; and traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East to document Air Force combat operations during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

While at Airman Magazine he covered numerous assignments, including the visit of Russian bombers to the United States; South America and the Caribbean to cover the "War on drugs"; the military conflict in the Balkans, flying night airdrop missions of food to Muslim enclaves in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and combat re-supply missions into Sarajevo; Mogadishu, Somalia, at the height of tensions between warring clans and the U.S. military; McMurdo Station and the South Polar Station in Antarctica, photographing and writing about contributions to the National Science Foundation's work; and to Cuba to cover the plight of Haitian refugees. Other story highlights included the airlift of "Keiko" the killer whale from Oregon to Iceland. While at the magazine he also managed thirteen photojournalists in San Antonio, and at news bureaus in Washington D.C., Japan, and Germany for the Air Force News Agency.

Teaching Interests

Visual Communication
Graphic Design
Documentary Film
Video Production
User Experience & User Interface Design
Media Product Management

Research Interests

Visual Communication
Documentary Film
Graphic Design
Mass Media

Selected Scholarly/Creative Work

  • Director, Decisive Moments, Decisive Change. December 2018 - June 2019.
    • VISCOMM 33. June 2019 The Visual Communication Conference, Mammoth Lakes, CA.
  • Director, Reimagining the Retracing of Russell Lee. October 2022 - June 2023.
    • VisCom 37. June 2023 Juniper Springs, Mammoth Lakes, CA.
  • Director, Child's Play. June 2021 - June 2022.
    • VisCom 36. June 2022 Tolovana, Cannon Beach, Oregon.
  • Nolan, D. S. (2015, February). Visual Communication: Images With Messages. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Nolan, D. S. (2012). Guides to Syllabus Change: Visual Communication. In S. Mayo & P. Larke (Eds.), Integrating Multiculturalism into the Curriculum: From the Liberal Arts to the Sciences. New York, New York, United States: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Selected Awards

  • Award / Honor Recipient: Alumni Association Teaching Award of Honor, Texas State University Alumni Association. 2020
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award, Faculty Senate, Texas State University. 2018
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Texas State University System Regents' Teacher, Texas State University System Board of Regents. 2017
  • Award / Honor Recipient: College Achievement Award for Excellence in Service, College of Fine Arts & Communication, Texas State University. 2016
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Robin F. Garland Educator Award for Outstanding Service as a Photojournalism Educator, National Press Photographers Association. 2015

Selected Grants

  • Nolan, David S. Drone Journalism School and Course Development, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Texas State University, $1600.00. (Funded: April 2017). Grant.
  • Nolan, David S. National Press Photographers Association Advanced Storytelling Workshop, Spectrum Communications, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $5000.00. (Funded: April 2017). Grant.
  • Nolan, David S. National Press Photographers Association Advanced Storytelling Workshop, Time Warner Communications, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $5000.00. (Funded: April 2016). Grant.
  • Nolan, David S. Advanced Online Course Development, Texas State University, Texas State University, $3500.00. (Funded: May 2015). Grant.
  • Nolan, David S (Principal). National Press Photographers Association Advanced Storytelling Workshop, Time Warner Communications, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $5000.00. (Funded: April 2015). Grant.

Selected Service Activities

School of Journalism & Mass Communication Mass Communication Program Coordinator
August 2015-August 2023
Coordinator / Organizer
National Press Photographers Association Advanced Storytelling Workshop
April 2009-May 2021
Faculty Representative
Texas State University Alumni Association Board of Directors
January 2019-May 2020
Faculty Senate
May 2017-May 2020
Distinguished Professor Selection Committee
September 2022-Present