Yonty Friesem - Columbia College Chicago

Yonty Friesem

Assistant Professor



Yonty Friesem, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and director of graduate studies for the department.

With 20 years of experience in media literacy education, Yonty combines his creative work as a media producer with his teaching experience and passionate advocacy for digital empathy every day at Columbia College Chicago. Applying the principles of Human-Centered Design and The Leadership Challenge, Yonty helps his students to develop their creativity and leadership skills, and enhance civic engagement.

Back in Israel, where Yonty started his career as a media educator, he established two departments of communication in public schools while working on an award-winning filmmaker. Having received a BA in Social Sciences and Humanities, Yonty graduated from the esteemed program in Leadership and Management in Education at the Tel-Aviv University. In 2011, he moved to the U.S. to pursue his PhD in media education at the joint doctoral program in education at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. While pursuing his graduate studies at URI, he created media literacy programs for foster youth, co-founded a media initiative with the support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a state-wide youth media curriculum called GiveMe5. After finishing his doctoral degree, he worked from 2015 to 2017 as a multimedia production faculty at Central Connecticut State University where his students produced projects for the State Police, Victim Advocacy Office, Industrial Museum, Boys & Girls Club, and the State Transit Authority.

Since 2015, Yonty has been the Associate Director of the Media Education Lab, where he oversees and conducts research in digital and media literacy education. He explores the impact of media production on students and teachers. Through grants and awards, Yonty has established his area of expertise in Digital Empathy. He has published four peer-reviewed academic articles, two encyclopedia entrees, and three book chapters on Digital Empathy. In the last five years, Yonty has provided professional development in digital and media literacy at the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island.

You can learn more about Yonty’s award-winning media production projects, research on digital empathy, and professional development opportunities here: https://mediaeducationlab.com/about/yonty-jonathan-friesem

Instructional Areas

Civic Media, Multimedia Production & Digital Storytelling, Leadership in Media Production, Human-Centered Design, Research Methods in Social Sciences

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Digital Empathy, Media Literacy Education, Civic Engagement via Multimedia Production, Leadership Development