Meet the Professor: Andi Coulter Andi Coulter joined the Business Administration department as a visiting assistant professor in fall 2021.
“Having come from larger state universities, I was drawn to the idea that diverse majors and disciplines could be intertwined and not as siloed as they are in bigger schools.”
Andi Coulter joined the Business Administration Department as a visiting assistant professor this year. She teaches business communication and social media strategy.
Prior to joining the faculty at Washington and Lee, she taught business and technical communications at Georgia Tech and Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Her research interests include the music industry, user-centered design, and social sustainability in art. Coulter wrote a book for the 33 1/3 music series on the New York underground band Suicide, and her current research looks at short-form video and engagement analytics. Prior to teaching, Coulter worked in marketing in the music industry for 15 years .
Keep reading as Coulter answers questions about her research inspiration, what she does in her free time, and more.
1. What first attracted you to Washington and Lee University?
For me, it was the small liberal arts education with a world-class reputation. Having come from larger state universities, I was drawn to the idea that diverse majors and disciplines could be intertwined and not as siloed as they are in bigger schools.
2. Where do your research interests lie? What inspired you to research these subjects?
My research is focused is in the music industry, the creative economy and user-centered design. Prior to teaching, I worked in the music industry in varying levels of companies. These jobs taught me how smaller businesses worked smartly to avoid seemingly inevitable corporate consolidation. This ability to know their niche market and pivot when necessary has served many of them well during this past year’s financial uncertainty.
3. What do you do for fun?
You will always find me at a live event. I will go to almost any music show or art performance in a 60-mile radius (and often further). I have been going to music shows since I was barely tall enough to see over the box office window. I will forever support the local music and art scenes.
4. What is your favorite movie or book? Why?
Every year I read “Forced Entries” by Jim Carroll, the author of “The Basketball Diaries.” The book is a series of diary entries/essays he wrote in New York City in 1976. I keep coming back to how he finds art and life affirmation in just walking around the city. There’s a beauty to the squalor of downtown New York. I’ve always loved living in an urban environment that was a cross-section of life: the good, the bad, the grotesque, and the sublime. Humanity lies in the small interactions on a subway.
5. As a student, what was the best piece of advice you were given?
Take stock in what you do in your downtime and lean into what makes you different. As I kid I had undiagnosed dyslexia. While I was good at reading and writing, I was an abysmal speller and never could read out loud (don’t get me started on the difficulty of learning a second language when you can’t master your first). I mostly learned the language through memorization. This had disastrous effects if I had memorized something incorrectly; it was in there forever. Using memory as a coping skill had unforeseen benefits. I used music in order to help me remember. I listened to the radio to a point where I knew all the songs and artists in every format. To this day, I can still recall almost every Billboard top ten. This kind of specialized knowledge helped me immensely in my career and in grad school. What was once a shameful disability ended up setting me apart from my peers. My hobbies and “weakness” one day became the foundations of success in my profession.
6. Share a fun fact about yourself.
I used to tend bar in Charlottesville with Dave Matthews.