Posted on: October 8, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Aidan McGuire

By Lily Ligeska, Features Editor, and Emma Gomez, News Editor

Kiana Battle knew from the time she was a toddler what she wanted to do with her life: be in the news industry.

“I used to have fake TV shows as a child,” she said. “Since I was the only kid, I’d interview myself. And it’s really a part of who I am.”

Battle’s passion led her on a path to her dream career as newscast director at NBC News in Chicago. But somewhere along the way, the dream changed.

After working in news for many years, Battle’s journey led her into the academic world, where she made her way to Moraine Valley as dean of Career Programs. Following a brief stint last year as vice president of Academic Affairs at Kankakee Community College, Battle is back at Moraine in a new role: dean of Liberal Arts. She brings the same fire to her academic career as she did to her first career.

“I realized I really had a passion for working with the students. It was just very rewarding to me,” Battle said.  “I worked in news for quite some time, and I saw the instant results of my work by working with the students.”

Photo by Aidan McGuire
Kiana Battle is the new dean of Liberal Arts at Moraine Valley.

Battle earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast communications from Columbia College in Chicago, her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Roosevelt University, and her doctorate in higher education and organizational change from Benedictine University in Lisle. 

At 19, she started her career with NBC News, where she learned the ins and outs of what it’s like being in a newsroom. She started out at the assignment desk when she was still in college and had to listen to police scanners, gathering facts. She didn’t start off with writing stories.

She worked at NBC News for “well over 20 years,” working her way up from stage manager to assistant director to newscast director, where she was finally in charge of calling the shots.

From her time as news director, Battle learned valuable lessons she took with her on her journey into the academic world, such as how to be deadline-driven and timely, and how to have good people skills. 

Battle loves nothing more than connecting with the students and other people that she works with. It’s a very important part of what she does and why she does it. 

She is all about being a team player, and she values every member of her team, from other deans to students to her daughter and her grandmother. Without people helping her along the way, she says, things wouldn’t have worked out the way they did. 

“Grow where you’re planted,” Battle’s grandmother would tell her. Battle said this was an important lesson that has stuck with her through the years. 

Throughout her career in broadcasting, Battle saw many major events unfold right in front of her eyes, including 9/11, the death of Princess Diana, and the Columbine shooting. 

Photo by NBC News Chicago

She got the chills as she described what it felt like watching a plane hit a building in real time. After seeing the live footage with tons of carnage, “9/11 is etched into my memory,” she says.

“I was in the control room that day, which is a room with lots of monitors of other news, and we had just gotten off the air. We had live feeds, and I saw the plane hit a building, and we had no idea what was going on,” Battle said. “Next thing you know, things started to go haywire. I will never forget that.

“We were on lockdown that day and weren’t allowed to go home. I had a young daughter at the time, and I couldn’t go home to her. They thought the Sears Tower was a target, so no one in the station was allowed to leave. I was so scared.”

Kennedy-King College is where Battle first fell in love with education. She started there while she was at NBC News, helping create the curriculum for a new visual and media communications program. She ended up running the program once it was launched. 

Although Battle truly enjoyed her time in news broadcasting, the joy and passion she got from connecting with students is what made her switch career paths.

Photo by Aidan McGuire
Kiana Battle’s accomplishments include an Emmy award, which she won as part of a team at NBC News in Chicago.

Battle first started her career with Moraine in 2014 as the assistant dean of Career Programs, but six months later, she was promoted to dean and served in the role until January of 2021. 

While in the academic world, Battle has still worked in news as a freelancer from time to time–a choice that led to a highlight of her career, winning an Emmy. Though she doesn’t immediately bring it up, when asked about it, she lights up and practically stands out of her chair.

During the Chicago protests in 2020, Battle and her team received news of riots all over State Street.

“I happened to be [in the newsroom] that Saturday,” Battle said. “We had just gotten off the air from the 10 o’clock newscast. They had busted into Macy’s and parts of Michigan Avenue. We eventually went back live on air to cover that, and I was the director.”

Battle’s whole team was nominated and received the Emmy award.

Though she’s proud of her time in news, Battle is happy with where her career journey has taken her, and she will not be looking back. Absolutely in love with her job at Moraine, she looks to support the staff and students around her as much as she can, even seeing theater productions when opportunities arise. 

“This is the most gratifying part of my path,” Battle said. “Working with students, faculty, I really enjoy it. I’m so happy to be back here at Moraine and have a new area to oversee and some new things to learn. I’m grateful.”