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20 Questions with Art Raney


20 Questions with Art Raney

 1. What was your first job?
I was a basketball referee all through high school and most of my undergraduate years.

 2. If you were to write a personal memoir, what would you name it? 
It’s All Good. People used to say that phrase all the time when I was growing up in Alabama, of course with an appropriately thick Southern drawl. To me, it has come to reflect a contentment with and gratitude for all that life has to offer. I try to live with that mindset.

3. Where did you grow up?
Most of my childhood was spent in Tuscaloosa. We spent a few years in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where I attended kindergarten and second grade, as well as a few summers thereafter.

4. What is your favorite class you’ve taught?
My favorite classes are those that deal with the impact of media content and technologies on individuals and society. But if I had to choose one particular class, then I’d say it was a media and sports class that I taught as a guest professor in Germany a few years ago. I learned so much from the students, and they were incredibly gracious to me and my family.

5. What is your favorite place to grab dinner in Tallahassee?
For a nice meal, Sage. For a quick bite, definitely Vertigo.

6. What are your hobbies outside of work?
Whatever I can do that involves my family. My wife (Dr. Laura Arpan, also in the School of Communication) and I love to cook and travel together. My son and I cycle, run, watch sports, and play guitar. My daughter and I love to go exploring new places together.

7. Have you always wanted to teach?
I was drawn to an academic career fairly early on, especially once I accepted that playing in the NBA was not in my future. My father was one of the first Distinguished Research Professors at the University of Alabama. He was a great role model for me, especially in terms of striving to excel at both teaching and research.

8. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or where would you like to go?
My favorite trips have been to Rome for art and culture, Norway for natural beauty, and the French countryside for everything else. I’d really like to see St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as to tour Vietnam.

9. How many football games have you attended?
Well, it depends on whose football games you are talking about! Growing up in Tuscaloosa while Bear Bryant was coaching, having a father who taught at Alabama, getting two degrees there myself, having a son in school there now … I have been to lots of Bama games over the years. But I am guessing you probably meant FSU games. The answer is three.

10. Proudest career/life moment?
I’ll stick with one from my career. I was shocked and humbled last year to receive both a University Undergraduate Teaching Award and a Graduate Mentor Award.

11. What’s your favorite band?
If I had to choose just one, then I’d probably say Crowded House. But I love all sorts of music: Ryan Adams, Ibrahim Ferrer, Madeleine Peyroux, Sunvolt, Foo Fighters, Nat King Cole, Elliott Smith, old U2, Aimee Mann, Radiohead, the Stones …

12. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Always appear like a duck: calm and unruffled on the surface but paddling like hell underneath.

13. If money were no object, how would you spend your days?
Probably doing exactly what I am doing now. Seriously. I get bored fairly easily when I don’t have something specific to do, and I really love what I do.

14. What is your favorite book and why?
Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for the complex characters, the moral questioning, and the illuminatingly dark writing.

 15. If you could be famous for something, what would it be?
To be honest, my hope is to never be famous for anything. But, if there was a Mundane Olympics, I’d like to think that I could qualify for the Parallel Parking and “Choose-the-Perfectly-Sized-Container-for-these-Leftovers” competitions.

16. What Jeopardy category could you clear, no problem?
“Quotes from The Godfather

17. Do you have any pets?
Yes, an unbelievably loyal 10-year-old chocolate lab mix named Cocoa. Great dog. But she will lick you. I promise.

18. When did you start working at Florida State University?
August 1999, when the School of Communication was the “Department of Communication,” within the “College of Communication,” located in the Diffenbaugh Building. Lots has changed over the past 15 years.

19. What was the last movie you saw in theaters?
Big Hero 6. I really liked it.

20. What is the best part about your job?
Getting to be there when students have “Aha! Moments,” when they finally “get it” whatever “it” happens to be. Whether in the classroom, in the research lab, or during office hours, feeling like I played even a small role in helping to create that moment brings me tremendous joy and satisfaction.

’20 Questions with CCI’ brings faculty and staff from the College of Communication & Information into a new light. Learn more about your favorite professors – their hobbies, interests and favorite Tally places.

Do you know someone at CCI you’d like to see featured? Submit their names to kate.mullen@cci.fsu.edu.