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Journalism school here gets new director

By The Mercury

A German native who has administered a journalism program in Georgia for seven years will be the next director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University. Birgit Wassmuth will start her new job in June.

Wassmuth comes to Kansas State University from Kennesaw State University, near Atlanta, Ga., where she served as chair of the department of communication since 2006. Under her leadership, the department grew from about 550 majors to nearly 1,400 majors.

“We are delighted Dr. Wassmuth will be joining us as the next director of the school,” said Louise Benjamin, who has served as interim director of the Miller School since the resignation of Angela Powers.

A native of Germany, Wassmuth has a master’s degree in mass communication and a doctorate in mass communication, both from the University of Minnesota. 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.

In accepting the position, Wassmuth noted the lengthy history of the KSU journalism program, which is the second oldest in the nation. “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,” she noted.

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 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 year-long reaccreditation process starting in fall 2013.

She said she is “looking forward to helping advance the journalism and mass communications program in its commitment to excellence in teaching, research and creative activity.”

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.

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