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K-State Today

June 5, 2020

Arts and Sciences interim leaders named department heads

Submitted by Malorie Sougey

Following an internal search, the College of Arts and Sciences has named Steven Smethers the director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Don Kurtz the department head of sociology, anthropology, and social work.

Smethers is a former Kansas broadcaster, and a longtime faculty member at K-State. He joined the faculty in 2002 and has served in an administrative role since arriving at K-State, first as a sequence head and then as the associate director of undergraduate studies. He also served for a brief time as associate director for graduate studies. Smethers is keenly interested in the "news desert" phenomenon, a situation caused when cutbacks to reporting staffs at newspapers and broadcast stations, or the entire shutdown of media companies, causes local communities to suffer from a lack of communication. Smethers and fellow researchers have studied this phenomenon across the state.

Kurtz received his doctorate in criminology from K-State. He also serves as the social work program coordinator and director of nonviolence studies.