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Award-winning, collaborative faculty member named Bellisario Professor

Portrait of faculty member Pearl Gluck
Pearl Gluck has made in impact in the the classroom, the community and continued to do so as a filmmaker herself during her time at Penn State. (Photo by Michael Garrett)

An award-winning Penn State faculty filmmaker who has collaborated with professional colleagues, engaged students and practiced an approach that consistently seeks authenticity has been named a Donald P. Bellisario Career Advancement Professor.

Pearl Gluck, assistant professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, brings a mix of professional and classroom experience to her position. She teaches screenwriting, directing and producing. Through her courses and films she explores themes such as autobiographical film and representations of gender, class and faith in cinema. She joined the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications faculty in 2014.

Gluck is the third faculty member to move into a professorship named for Bellisario, the Distinguished Alumnus who provided a $30 million gift to the University in 2017.

Dave Wozniak was named the inaugural Donald P. Bellisario Career Advancement Professor in October 2019. Mary Beth Oliver was named the Donald P. Bellisario Professor of Media Studies in October 2018.

“Pearl joins a cohort, of which Mary Beth and Dave are exemplars, that provides a testament to the unique and powerful way the Bellisario College combines scholarly expertise and professional credentials in a student-centered learning environment,” said Dean Marie Hardin. “They are members of an outstanding faculty that make the Bellisario College a destination for the best students in the country.”

Gluck’s work has screened across the country and internationally. Her award-winning films include:

  • The feature film “The Turn Out” (2018), focused on domestic sex trafficking at truck stops, which won Best Debut Feature at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.
  • The short film “Summer” (2018), which won Best Short film through Film Movement and the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
  • The short “Where Is Joel Baum” (2012), which won Best Film at The Female Eye film festival.
  • Her first documentary, “Divan” (2004), which was awarded a 2000 Sundance Producer's Lab fellowship and a 2001 Sundance Festival mentorship.

In 2019, Gluck was a cofounder and the driving force behind the creation of the inaugural Centre Film Festival, a three-day event at the Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, that served as a celebration of community and the value of film and multimedia storytelling. The event engaged professional filmmakers and Penn State faculty, alumni and students as well as high school students and members of the community.

Gluck consistently engages students in her work, including “The Ice Cream Cake,” a 2019 call-to-action effort about global warming that she co-directed for The Nature Conservancy. In 2016, along with Penn State film-video students and master of fine arts School of Theatre alumna Elle Jae Stewart, Gluck directed “Junior,” an award-winning film that looks at racially motivated police violence through one mother's eyes.

“I am so moved by this generosity and inspired by the leadership in the Bellisario College. I look forward to building on the foundation and am excited to explore and develop here in the years to come.”

Pearl Gluck, assistant professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies

I am deeply honored! From the moment I arrived at Penn State, the Bellisario College has nurtured my creativity and encouraged my growth as an artist, educator and community organizer,” Gluck said. “This recognition strikes a special chord because as a Hasidic teen, I would secretly watch episodes of ‘Magnum, P.I.’ on a tiny hidden TV, and now, decades later, to be given the opportunity to make work of my own and encourage new voices to emerge among my students in the name of the show’s creator, Donald P. Bellisario, is thrilling.

“I am so moved by this generosity and inspired by the leadership in the Bellisario College. I look forward to building on the foundation and am excited to explore and develop here in the years to come.”

Oliver, an award-winning researcher, is a Fulbright Scholar and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State. A member of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, she is a respected researcher and teacher who specializes in media and psychology. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the International Communication Association.

Wozniak’s background includes broad experience in all aspects of advertising, branding, integrated communications and sports marketing on both the client and agency sides of the business. He teaches in-residents and online courses in the Department of Advertising/Public Relations.

Funding for the professorship was part of the $30 million gift from Bellisario and his wife, Vivienne. At the heart of that gift was a scholarship fund for communications students, with first preference given to undergraduates who are U.S. military veterans, active-duty service members, reservists and members of the National Guard.

The Bellisarios’ gift also included support for programs and faculty, along with funds to help launch a new media center at the heart of campus. The Bellisario gift has advanced "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university.