Michael O’Toole has asked that I write a letter of recommendation in support of his application for admission. I have known Michael as his instructor for over a year; I first met him in my Introduction to Mass Media course last spring and have him in my Introduction to Film course this spring semester. Based on my exposure to Michael’s academic ability and my understanding of the nature of his character, I feel Michael O’Toole would be an outstanding addition to the creative and intellectual student body of MassArt. I hope to detail a few of the experiences I’ve had with Michael to illustrate why I feel he would excel at your institution.

Michael is a conscientious, engaged, and hardworking student, who garners the respect of his classmates. There are two experiences I feel illustrate the nature of Michael’s academic and intellectual character. In my mass media course students must present a report on the way an incident in the war in Iraq is reported. The project requires that student groups delegate roles and responsibilities in assessing media bias in news reporting. Michael surfaced as his group’s leader, bearing the brunt of the responsibility of the research, taking the floor in the presentation, and fielding questions from the class and his instructor. What was remarkable was the level of comfort. ease. and precision in which he delivered the group’s presentation. Michael was clearly taking ownership of what was an extraordinary investigation into media bias in times of war.

I’ve had another more powerful experience with Michael as a student. Each student of mass media is required to research, write, and present on a topic within the broad field of mass media. Michael chose to research the history and development of public access television. His report lent insight in the nature of his politics and his way of seeing media as an agent of change and leveling of the playing field, a field he aptly pointed out is dominated by massive corporations. His project was expertly researched, clear and well written, and his presentation was direct and informative. I felt at that time that many of his students recognized the effort, energy, and enthusiasm he put in to his project to make his subject resonate with the class. I would expect Michael will take the same level of energy and enthusiasm to MassArt.

I now have Michael in my film class, a more creative class which demands students develop their ability to read films and present arguments about what they see. I expect many smart insights from Michael, and I also understand that media studies is an area he intends to explore at MassArt. If his performance in mass media is any indication of his capability, then I have much to look forward to, and so does MassArt.

It is in these ways I feel Michael O’Toole is an exemplary student. He makes very smart observations and communicates them clearly. He doesn’t accept research without scrutiny and when he takes a position he can talk and write about it in detail.

I give Michael O’Toole my full recommendation. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions.

Sincerely,

Jayson Baker
Assistant Professor of Communication
Department of Humanities
Massbay Community College

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