April 10, 2013
A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications selects new director
Birgit Wassmuth will be the next director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University. She will start her new job in June.
"We are delighted Dr. Wassmuth will be joining us as the next director of the school," said Louise Benjamin, interim director of the Miller School. "She brings a myriad of professional, academic and administrative experiences with her to K-State, and we look forward to her leadership in the coming years."
Wassmuth comes to Kansas State University from Kennesaw State University, near Atlanta, Ga., where she served as chair of the department of communication for more than seven years. Under her leadership, the department managed exponential growth -- from about 550 majors to nearly 1,400 majors. She also supported excellence in teaching and curriculum development, innovative research and professional service in ways that led the communication program to national and international recognition.
A native of Germany, Wassmuth has a master's degree in mass communication with an emphasis in advertising psychology and a doctorate in mass communication with a focus on history, both from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Her undergraduate degree in graphic design is from the University of Kassel, Germany. She has taught at Temple University, Drake University, University of Missouri-Columbia and Kennesaw State University. She has also served two distinguished visiting professorships at the University of Florida.
"K-State's journalism and mass communications program has a long, rich history," Wassmuth said. "As I understand it, the university first offered courses in printing in about 1875, and the focus on journalism education is known for being one of the first in the nation. I'm proud to join K-State, especially at this exciting time with the university's 150th anniversary events in full swing and the ongoing 25th anniversary of the naming of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications."
The Miller School is home to the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media. It also houses the Journalism Education Association, the only independent national scholastic journalism education organization for journalism teachers and advisers. All academic programs within the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications are fully accredited by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
One of Wassmuth's first responsibilities will be to guide the school through the yearlong reaccreditation process starting in fall 2013. In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of naming of the school, she will explore fundraising opportunities that will contribute to its expansion.
"It's a pleasure to welcome Dr. Wassmuth to become part of something very exciting," said Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Communicating our research with the public and training students for a competitive workplace are hallmarks of our land-grant heritage. Dr. Wassmuth will be a wonderful leader and champion for the discipline at K-State."
"I am looking forward to helping advance the journalism and mass communications program in its commitment to excellence in teaching, research and creative activity," Wassmuth said. She also recognizes the role the Miller School will play in Kansas State University's strategic vision to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025.
"The Miller School is well-positioned to make meaningful contributions to that goal," she said.
Wassmuth has served on the board of directors of the Fulbright Association and the Collaboration for the Advancement for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Currently, she serves on the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
For more information about the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the Journalism Education Association, visit http://jmc.k-state.edu.