Among the new faculty this spring semester is Professor Kris Rinas, who is the new operations director and instructor of cinema and video in the Department of Communications and Design Arts. He will be teaching Audio Concepts, Television Studio Production and the Cinema and Media Arts practicum this semester.
Ever since high school, Rinas has wanted to follow his passion for video production and pursue it as a career.
“When I turned 18, my parents encouraged me to begin thinking about my future,” Rinas said. “I drove to the three main TV stations and applied. A few weeks later, I got a job as a camera operator for the evening news.”
Rinas spent 5 years in local television taking on many roles including field reporting as a photojournalist and directing the evening news. After getting married, he decided to transition away from the news world.
For the past 15 years, he has been working with technology in churches, specifically at Grace Church in Noblesville. There he trained numerous volunteers in the churches to operate professional production equipment on a professional level.
“One of my favorite events at Grace Church was co-producing and video directing our 25th anniversary celebration held September 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for 8,500 attendees,” Rinas said. “It took over a year to plan and execute that event, and it was a moment I will never forget.”
After ending his time at Grace this past summer, he asked God to show him the path planned for him.
“I would never have guessed that four months later, I would be here at AU as a Raven,” Rinas said. “It was God’s plan all along, and now that I’m here, I can see how he has been preparing me for this time and place.”
Rinas said that he looks forward to learning from his students and colleagues, as well as sharing the passion he has for excellence in audio and video production.
“The two things that get me really excited are watching a team of students come together to achieve a common goal and dissecting a television production into its core elements,” he said.
Outside of his career, Rinas enjoys spending the warm seasons of Indiana at the lake with his family and remodeling homes.
Another new faculty this semester is Professor James Newton. Newton has stepped in to fill the position of Dr. Anna Stumpf in the Falls School of Business, who accepted a position at Ball State University. Newton will be teaching Social Media, Sports Sponsorship and Sales and Topics in Business Administration.
In November, Newton started full-time as the assistant director of the MBA program. In that position, he recruits for the online and residential MBA programs, as well as manages the social media.
“I also manage the strategy for FSB by working out how we can get new students in the program,” Newton said. “There’s a lot of competition out there in faith-based schools and traditional schools, so it’s about getting the FSB program above the noise and getting people interested.”
Newton has had 25 years in business where he has worked for Red Bull North America, the Harley Davidson Motor Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His current company, IndyCollab, is a social media influence management agency focused on the motorcycle, music and gaming industries.
Through IndyCollab, he works with social media influencers like Adam Sandoval, a well-known motorcyclist, and Sleeper, a DJ who has worked with clients such as Ludacris, David Beckham and Ryan Sheckler.
“My passion is live events and all things that go into them,” Newton said. “Most recently, my company has played key roles in some pretty big events including ESPN Winter/Summer Games, San Diego Comic-Con, and country singer Brantley Gilbert’s music video shoot.”
He said that he is most excited to get back in the classroom after taking a break from teaching in higher education.
“I taught for two years at IUPUI for sports marketing and motorsports marketing,” Newton said. “I love trying to teach from a different angle and use some of my experiences that will hopefully help the students see some things differently. I also hope to offer networking opportunities through guest speakers that will hopefully help them build their knowledge.”
He said that for students, it’s really about being able to build resumes that showcase experience and results, while also being able to network.
Outside of his career, Newton has been skateboarding since 1988 and loves all action sports. He also enjoys being outside skating with his wife and five kids in the summertime.