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Jennifer Marks

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Academic Professional
Managing Director of the ACTR program

In 2014, Jennifer Marks began working with the Simulated Patient (SP) Program, a collaboration between the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and the theatre department, in 2014. Under the guidance of Dr. David Saltz, she worked as support on a research project designed to evaluate whether our approach to training actors as simulated patients was more effective than the standard approach primarily used around the country. By 2016, her assistantship duties shifted to training SPs along with her fellow graduate assistants. She helped to develop the program as it grew to include the College of Pharmacy and the College of Veterinary Medicine. She is now the Managing Director of this program, which was renamed the ACTR (Advanced Communications Training Resource) program in 2023. 

Through ACTR, Dr. Marks continues to train both simulated and standardized patients/clients (SPs/SCs) and trains graduate assistants in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies to work alongside her during training. Together, they train both paid SPs/SCs, many of whom are novice actors, and undergraduate and graduate acting students to simulate physical, emotional, and psychological circumstances in live encounters with medical, pharmacy, and veterinary students. They also teach SPs/SCs how to give both written and oral feedback to develop students' communications skills. Through the ACTR program they also offer support communications training to students in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Although the AU/UGA Medical Partnership continues to hire their SPs in house, in 2023 leadership within the College of Pharmacy, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences came together to center the hiring and training of actors portraying standardized/simulated patients, clients, etc. within the Theatre and Film Studies Department. As Managing Director, Dr. Marks coordinates and participates in the day-to-day activities of this centralized program.

She recieved her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance here at UGA in 2023 and also has an M.A. in English Language and Literature as well as an A.S. in Business Administration and Management. With a long and varied career in retail and the service industry, business, and academia, Dr. Marks has learned the importance of good communication skills. She has taught undergraduate-level Professional Writing as well as Composition I and II at Florida Gulf Coast University. With nearly 14 years experience in both ballroom dance and yoga, she recognizes how our embodied experiences are essential to our understanding our personal selves as well as the the way in which we connect with our fellow human beings and with the world around us. Plus, her own journey with chronic pain and illness has also taught her the challenges of navigating the health care industry and the importance of interacting with one another through empathy and compassion. Her educational, career, and life experience drives her work in the ACTR program.

In 2020, Dr. Marks was a panel presenter at Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) along with fellow graduate students, Alexis Lygoumenos and Robyn Accetta, and Dr. David Saltz and department alum Libby Ricardo (now continuing her own work with SPs/SCs as faculty at the University of South Carolina Beaufort). Together they presented on the SP/SC Program at UGA and USC.

In 2020, Dr. Marks, along with ACTR Executive Director, Dr. David Saltz teamed up with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Social Work and received a Diversity Research and Scholarship Grant to study implicit bias in simulated client interactions. This study is ongoing. 



Ph.D. Performance Studies from University of Georgia, dissertation Smoothing History's Sharp Edges: Nostalgia and American Identity in Interactive Murder Mysteries. 

M.A. English Language and Literature from Florida Gulf Coast University

A.S. Business Administration and Management at Edison Community College (now Edison State Community College) 

Research Interests:

interactive murder mysteries and nostalgia and identity, popular entertainments, performance and medicine, and disability studies


In 2020, Dr. Marks, along with ACTR Executive Director, Dr. David Saltz teamed up with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Social Work and received a Diversity Research and Scholarship Grant through UGA to study implicit bias in simulated client interactions. This study is ongoing. 

Events featuring Jennifer Marks
Room 201 | Fine Arts Building

Please join us for pizza and an informational workshop Wednesday, 11/9 at 5:30 to learn about this exciting spring undergraduate acting course. In this workshop, we will talk about how acting students will learn to simulate physical, vocal, and psychological affects and how they willpractice these skills in live encounters with students training to become doctors…

Room 201 | Fine Arts Building

Monday, Oct. 16 @ 5:30PM-6:30PM
Room 201
Moderated by Jennifer Marks
Join us on Monday for our first post-mortem of the semester for UGA Theatre’s production of Silent Sky! There…

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