Jesse GrothOlson

  • Associate Professor of Cinema and New Media Arts
  • Faculty Director of the Rex Fleming Players
  • Program Coordinator for Cinematic Arts (BFA) and Mass Media Arts (BA)


  • MFA in Theatre, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL
  • BA in Communications, University of Northwestern, St. Paul

Courses Taught

  • The Art of Cinema & New Media
  • Collaboration & Problem-Solving
  • Directing for Cinema & New Media
  • Producing for Cinema & New Media
  • Media Studies: Comedy
  • Special Topics: The Media Industry
  • Entertainment Business
  • Principles of Acting

Teaching Focus

Professor GrothOlson teaches primarily in the areas of production for film, TV, and theatre, including acting, production, and production design.

Additional Information

With more than a decade of professional work as an actor and producer for the stage and screen, Mr. GrothOlson brings extensive real world experience to the classroom. His career has taken him from improv and Kabuki in Chicago to feature-length musical comedies. Since 2007, Mr. GrothOlson has also collaborated with Cinema & New Media Arts program director Joshua Sikora on a variety of productions, including “Best Laid Plans” — an improvised sit-com produced and co-created by Mr. GrothOlson for Hulu.
Jesse GrothOlson has an MFA in Performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago and has taught acting and directing at multiple universities, as well as private coaching for actors in Hollywood. He is also well-versed in technical production for film and theater, serving as a director, production designer, stage manager, sound designer, construction coordinator, or lighting designer for more than 50 plays, musicals, films, television shows, commercials, and music videos.
With this breadth of experience, Mr. GrothOlson provides HBU students with rich training in performance, directing, producing, and production design, with a particular emphasis on real world challenges and opportunities. As the faculty advisor and artistic director of Rex Fleming Players, the University’s long-standing theater troupe, he works directly with students from all career paths to teach the kind of analytical and problem-solving skills employers are hungry for today. This, along with independent productions, gives him the perfect on-the-job opportunities to mentor students one-on-one. Being a working professional and a member of this cutting-edge program offers HBU students dynamic training in the art of filmmaking and developing opportunities in media and technology.