New Assistant Dean of AMC encourages students to follow their dreams

Photo Credit: Taylor Musgrove
Jason Dude Lively teaches IMDW capstone class on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Taylor Musgrove Jason Dude Lively teaches IMDW capstone class on Tuesday afternoon.


Photo Credit: Taylor Musgrove Jason Dude Lively teaches IMDW capstone class on Tuesday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Taylor Musgrove
Jason Dude Lively teaches IMDW capstone class on Tuesday afternoon.


Essi VirtanenNews Editor
Sept. 19, 2016; 8:30 p.m.

In a professional setting, he is Dr. Jason Dude Lively. For his students, he is Dr. Dude. For his grandchildren, he is “Papa Dude.” Even one of his four grandsons has the same middle name.

“Dude is actually a family name,” Lively said explaining that at one point his five daughters said they would all give one of their sons the middle name of Dude.

“I thought they were kidding around, but I guess not,” he said.

Lively started as the new assistant dean of the School of Arts, Media and Communications in August. Lively has also been a professor for interactive media and web design at Lindenwood for approximately eight years.


“It’s a new day every day,” he said. “I come in almost expecting to learn something that I shouldn’t be doing.”

Originally from Texas, Lively has four degrees: bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration with  a focus on computer information systems, an educational specialist degree and a doctorate in computing technology in education.

During his time at Lindenwood, he has worked closely with Erica Blum, assistant professor for interactive media and web design, with whom he has also become very close friends.

“He’s fabulous,” Blum said. “He listens. He weighs the facts. He takes it into account with students as well. He’s really a great person to work with. I’m very lucky to have been able to learn from him as a professor but also as a human being.”

She also said that when it comes to students, Lively is approachable and trustworthy. His  IMWD capstone class student Yi Zhong agreed.

He said that because he is an international student, he sometimes needs more help with design and coding, but when he has gone to Lively’s office after class to ask for help, he has always been “very nice and helpful,” and Zhong has learned a lot.

Another IMWD student, Andrés Colonna, said Lively “really knows what he’s talking about.”

“He has a lot of tips to everything really, because he has a lot of experience in the professional industry,” he said.

It was Lively’s junior year of his undergraduate degree when he knew teaching was the direction he wanted to take in his life. 

Photo Credit: Lindenwood University Jason Dude Lively
Photo Credit: Lindenwood University
Jason Dude Lively

He was working in a computer lab at the time when a student came in wanting to learn how to use a computer. Only learning to use a mouse by itself took her a few weeks.

“I know this seems crazy, especially when you think about it today,” Lively said.

However, three or four weeks in, she learned.

“When the lightbulb came on, and I almost get teary-eyed when I think about it,” he paused and said. “You could see the joy, and I knew my calling in life.”

After his master’s degree, he worked two years in a computer industry as a manager, but even after that he knew that teaching was what he wanted to do.

“I told them when I was hired there, I said, ‘I can guarantee two years, but after that I am going to go teach,’” Lively said.

And he did. He was only 23 years old when he started, and he has taught ever since.

As the father of five daughters, he has always encouraged independence with them, and he takes that philosophy to his classroom too.

“I like to teach the foundation and then encourage movement beyond,” he said. “I want the student to really have the locus of control in the class; I do provide structure, but allow the class to be a little more fluid.”

Even after all these years, it is still those “lightbulbs that come on and seeing the excitement in the eyes of the learner” that he loves most about his profession.

“If I was to point to a class or maybe two classes that I would say, ‘That was the best class I ever taught,’ those are the classes where I became transparent, and I was no longer needed,” he said. “Where we are a community of learners together, and I happen to be guiding the learning a little bit.”

For final words of wisdom, Lively said that above all else, “it’s really important that students follow their dreams, that they know with 100 percent certainty that they’re taking the path that they need to take and to find their way in life.”