Central Penn College - Michael Lear-Olimpi


Faculty Who Care

Michael Lear-Olimpi
Assistant Professor, Communications

Academic Bio

I teach communications.

Our curriculum encompasses Corporate Communication – public relations in organizations – and journalism.

Before joining the Central Penn faculty full-time in the summer of 2012, I operated my own editorial-services company for more than a decade.

As part of that work, I taught several genres of journalism and writing at other colleges and universities, including Temple University, Penn State Harrisburg, St. Joseph's University, Elizabethtown College, Shippensburg University, and Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey. I have also taught public speaking.

In 2011, I reestablished and directed Elizabethtown College's writing center and served as writing consultant for Temple Harrisburg, where the university operates a graduate program in social work.

In addition to teaching at colleges and universities, I taught writing and editing for more than 15 years to professional journalists, college journalism interns and high-school journalists at media outlets for which I worked.

I am a member of the:

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • American Society of Business Publication Editors
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • American Association of University Professors
  • Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel


I am a proud native Pennsylvanian. I was born and grew up in Schuylkill County, in the heart of the Anthracite Coal Region – home of a treasure trove of cultures and languages and media, and of the Molly Maguires. 

My hometown, Mahanoy City, is the birthplace of cable television.

I enjoy the woods and the beach, hiking and reading, film, discussion, old stuff and photography.

I was a working journalist for more than 30 years. I served mostly as a reporter and editor, but also as a photographer and journalism educator. I have reported and edited for small, mid-market and large metropolitan newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer; for magazines; for newsletters; and for Web sites.

I am a media ethicist and have helped revise the ethics code of a national magazine editors’ association, and helped fine-tune ethics practice while a member of the board of directors and as president of The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and as president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Society of Business Publication Editors, which I founded.

Besides ethics, my areas of interest in communications studies include:

  • First Amendment issues
  • The reporting of religion, and communication to the public by religions and religious organizations
  • News-organization diversity
  • Techniques of narrative development and storytelling
  • Media effects
  • The presentation of pop culture in media, and the effects of that presentation on society and culture

Teaching Philosophy

I believe students learn best through exploration and practice.

I am a guide, an advisor, a provider of information and feedback.

Students use data and theory I make them aware of or provide to them, or they add that input to previously acquired information, and learn by applying that knowledge and discovering for themselves in practice. 

In communications, using models to practice writing is crucial, regardless of the communications genre.

I strongly believe questioning – with wholesome quantities of curiosity and skepticism – is a prime mover in learning. I vigorously encourage students to construct the questions they must ask to seek the answers they want or need, and then to test the validity the answers they find.

I use strident dialogue to open students’ minds and to lead them to solutions, and realization – and to keep my mind open and to continue learning. Discussion is crucially important in learning.

I wholeheartedly embrace the adage that the best teacher is one who stays out of students’ way on their quest to learn, and who guides them, so they will believe when they arrive at knowledge that they found it on their own.


  • Master of Journalism -- Temple University '91
  • Bachelor of Arts in English, The Writing Option - The Pennsylvania State University '82

Courses & Subjects

  • Survey of Mass Communications
  • Public Relations
  • Media Writing
  • Communications Ethics
  • Journalism I (Reporting)
  • Feature Writing
  • Public Affairs Reporting
  • Writing for Public Relations
  • News Editing and Design
  • Opinion Writing
  • Organizational Communications and Leadership
  • Writing for Broadcast Media
  • The Media and Society
  • Communications Law
  • Media and Politics
  • Media During War
  • Photojournalism
  • Campaign Advertising and Promotion
  • Internship for Bachelor Degree
  • Internship for Associate in Science Degree
  • Independent Study in Feature Writing, Photojournalism, Opinion Writing and other Communications Courses