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ETSU communications depts. shuffle leadership positions

Nathan Baker • Jul 15, 2014 at 10:05 PM

With the naming of faculty members to chair two new academic departments created at East Tennessee State University, the solution to a loss of accreditation for one of the contained programs and a better order in general of the disciplines has been reached.

Stephen Marshall, an expert in strategic media management and audience research, has been tapped to lead the university’s Department of Mass Communication, while Amber Kinser, the four-year chair of the previous Communication Department, will retain her role as the head of the Department of Communication and Performance.

The departments were created out of the all-encompassing Department of Communication, which Gordon Anderson, dean of ETSU’s College of Arts & Sciences, said had grown too large over the years.

The two new disciplines place the advertising and public relations, journalism and radio, television and film programs under the Department of Mass Communication.

Marshall, a member of the communication faculty since 2006, recently worked with the College of Business and Technology to create a Master of Science in Digital Marketing program to launch this fall, and he also teaches in the accelerated M.B.A. program.

“It is a true honor to lead this new department,” Marshall said in a distributed press release from ETSU. “We have an excellent student/teacher ratio within the department that allows students access to their professors for professional advising and collaborative work. Our curriculum has a strong focus on project-based learning that provides our students with real-world experiences that benefit both the campus and the community.”

Kinser said her department, which contains programs of study in theater, dance, communication studies and storytelling, will likely play a central role in ETSU’s future plans.

“A number of our programs are closely tied to the ETSU Arts Initiative and we are honored to be part of this expansion of the arts across the region,” she said. “We have many new projects underway in the Department of Communication and Performance, including a proposal for the creation of a baccalaureate program in dance, and an application for accreditation for the theatre program. We also will pursue growth agendas in communication studies and in storytelling.”

Last August, the university’s Mass Communication program lost accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which recommended the separation of the differing fields of study.

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