Nichols Hall

Mission, Values and History

Learn about the A.Q. Miller School's mission, history, and commitments to fostering inclusivity and supporting free journalism within our democracy.

k-state student on computer


The A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication develops skilled, mindful, creative, and ethical communicators who elevate voices and stories, lead transformation and innovation and practice influence and advocacy for good.

An Inclusive Community of Diverse Scholars, Students and Staff

The School strives to be a place where everyone belongs – an inclusive community of diverse students, faculty and staff who support one another’s identities, values, cultures and beliefs. We affirm and support programs, practices and policies that value respectful treatment, honor one another, embrace diversity, pursue equity, advance inclusion and support belonging. Through our scholarship – our teaching, our research and our service – we strive to help people understand the role of media and communication in creating communities of belonging, to help people use their skills to build those communities and to ensure that our School is such a community.

We recognize and celebrate the responsibility and potential of media and communication in shaping ourselves, our relationships, our workplaces, and our world. We practice and produce innovative scholarship in media and communication that helps people learn and understand more about themselves and one another, develop ethical and effective media and communication skills and pursue their goals in all areas of their lives.

We wholeheartedly support K-State’s vision of “providing equitable access to an ever-more diverse and mutually inclusive public university” and “building and enriching safe, respectful environments and learning communities that value our backgrounds and intersectionalities that contribute to the inherent dignity and growth of all. ” We also are committed to ACEJMC’s standards of diversity and inclusiveness and being “a diverse and inclusive program that embodies domestic and global diversity and that empowers those traditionally disenfranchised in society, especially as grounded in race, ethnicity, gender, ability and sexual orientation.” Over the next several months, we will continue to share our plan for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) that will connect directly with the university’s strategic plan.


In 2022, the A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication emerged from two programs with rich histories and connections: the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Department of Communication Studies.

In the early years of Kansas State Agricultural College, presentation skills, then called “rhetoricals” were offered by the English Department and mostly intended to prepare students for their required presentations of their senior theses before an audience of faculty, students, and townspeople assembled in the university chapel. In 1874, KSAC offered the first program in printing instruction in the United States. In 1898, KSAC’s President Thomas Will created the Department of Oratory. In those days, the College’s eight literary societies met weekly to hear speeches and debates among members, with each society electing its best speaker to represent them in KSAC’s “Intersociety Oratory Content.” This contest was the social and cultural event of the year on campus, with its winner becoming the class / college orator.

Historical K-State Photo - A.q. Miller, Sr. bottom middle

The 1900s saw more progress. In 1903, the Regents authorized the creation of a Department of Public Speaking. In 1910, the College established a journalism curriculum for students. Around 1940, the Department of Speech was joined by the theatre and radio programs, becoming the Division of Rhetoric/Communication within the Department of Speech and Theatre (later Speech Communication, Theater and Dance). In 1971, the School of Journalism added “Mass Communications” to its name to reflect the breadth of an evolving curriculum. In 1987, Carl Miller (photo: second from right, top row), a former K-State journalism student and founding editor of the Pacific coast edition of the Wall Street Journal, provided a significant gift to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which resulted in naming the School after his father, A.Q. Miller (photo: bottom row, middle), who himself was a pioneer Kansas journalist. And in 2012, with the creation of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, the Department of Communication Studies came into being as an academic unit.

These events and developments were products of the consistent commitment to growth, innovation, and progress in the creation and dissemination of knowledge and skill in media and communication. Today, the A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication draws on these rich and extensive histories, traditions and growth areas in continuing to advance appreciation and skill in media and communication. Our future, much as our history, is filled with opportunity.

Our Commitment to Supporting Free Reporting in a Democracy

As an educational unit that trains journalists and democratic citizens, the A.Q. Miller School understands the power and value of a free press. As scholars, reporters, media managers, and citizens, it is our duty to educate our students and communities on the importance of free reporting. For the common good of Kansans, we support media and communication entities in our state and region.

A.Q. Miller School Statement on August 11 Raid on Marion County Record
The A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication at Kansas State University joins with those who condemn the August 11 raid on the Marion County Record. Such actions interfere with newsgathering and have a chilling effect on accurate reporting. Without journalistic freedom and the information it provides, citizens cannot participate effectively in democratic self-governance.

We also extend our condolences to Eric Meyer for the death of his mother, Joan, co-owner of the Marion County Record, shortly after the police raid on the newspaper.

The A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication and its affiliated units, the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, exist to improve society through the study and practice of journalism and civic communication. A.Q. Miller and McDill “Huck” Boyd were publishers of small Kansas newspapers. Both believed in the importance of local media and their role in the survival of America’s small towns and rural communities. They also were diligent in covering city and county government and other public entities. They were “the eyes and ears” of their communities and they kept people informed about what their local leaders were doing – just as Eric Meyer has been doing in Marion, Kansas.

As Thomas Jefferson succinctly stated in a letter in January 1786, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”