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Mission, Values and History

k-state student on computer

Mission

The A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication develops skilled, engaged, creative and mindful 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.

History

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.

students studying at library