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Alan E. Franks

Assistant Professor; Director, Broadcasting Broadcasting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Heritage Hall 337
(205) 975-0965

Research and Teaching Interests: Broadcast & Digital Media, Video and Audio Production, Science and Nature Media

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Civil Engineering
  • M.A., University of Sydney, Film & Digital Image
  • MFA, Montana State University, Science & Natural History Filmmaking

A Fulbright Scholar whose films have screened around the world, Alan’s media experience extends to virtually all genres. His work has taken him across the US, and he has filmed in four countries outside the Americas, from the Australian Outback to the mountains of Malawi. He has produced media for a range of clients, including corporations, municipalities, federal agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and museums, and he has worked on feature and broadcast productions with international releases.

Alan’s broadcast credits include multiple roles on the award-winning series “America the Wild,” a program from National Geographic that was also available as an interactive game on Xbox 360. His most recent feature documentary sent him to nearly every region of the country in search of stories about the hippopotamus, including the International Hippo Society and the song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Alan’s current projects include stories about sea turtles and the Great Barrier Reef.

Alan’s interest in visual media reflects a lifelong love of art and science, both of which are needed to effectively communicate through the technical and creative craft. His classes emphasize learning and applying skills through projects that prepare students for a number of multimedia applications, whether for broadcast, cinema, or digital distribution.

  • Recent Courses
    • Visual Media Production I
    • Visual Media Production II
    • Visual Media Production III
    • Introduction to Broadcast Media
    • Digital Design & Animation
    • Nature Media
    • Audio Production
  • Select Publications
    • Powell, L., Hickson, M., & Franks, A. (2018). #Media: A History of Media in America.
    • For the Love of the Reef. (2018) Director/Producer. A short documentary about author and historian Iain McCalman and his passion for the Great Barrier Reef.
    • The Pursuit of Hippo-ness. (2016) Director/Producer. A feature documentary about hippos and the people who love them.
    • Archaeology Magazine. (March/April 2014) “All Hands on Deck” Photography Contributor. Photographs taken aboard the E/V Nautilus were published in an article about the exploration of 19th century shipwrecks deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • America the Wild. (2012-2013) Assistant Editor/Researcher. An international broadcast program for Nat Geo Wild, which received a Golden Panda Award (dubbed the “Green Oscars”) as well as awards from Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.
    • Collaborative Science. (2012) Director/Producer. A short documentary about Geologic Carbon Sequestration research conducted at UAB, Montana State, and Southern Company.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Broadcast Education Association
    • University Film & Video Association
    • Certified Broadcast Technician, Society of Broadcast Engineers
    • Fulbright Scholar to Australia, 2007
  • Student Groups
    • Faculty Advisor – BEA Student Media Club