College of Arts and Sciences forms two new departments


JOHNSON CITY (July 15, 2014) – Two new academic departments have been formed within East Tennessee State University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The two units – the Department of Communication and Performance and the Department of Mass Communication – grew from the former Department of Communication.

Dr. Stephen Marshall, who joined the ETSU communication faculty in 2006, has been named chair of the Department of Mass Communication, which encompasses the university’s programs in advertising/public relations, journalism and radio, television and film (RTVF).

Marshall, whose background and expertise are in the area of strategic media management and audience research, is active within the local business community and has worked with The Creative Energy Group.  In addition, he has held a number of executive board positions with local organizations including the American Advertising Federation of Northeast Tennessee, the Johnson City Sports Foundation, and Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival.

He has worked with ETSU’s College of Business and Technology on the creation of the new Master of Science in Digital Marketing program that launches this fall, and he also teaches in the accelerated M.B.A. program.

 “It is a true honor to lead this new department,” Marshall said.  “We have an excellent student/teacher ratio within the department that allows students access to their professors for professional advising and collaborative work. Our curriculum has a strong focus on project-based learning that provides our students with real-world experiences that benefit both the campus and the community.”

An award-winning educator and researcher, Marshall received the Donald G. Hileman “Educator of the Year” Award from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) for District 7 in 2013.  He received his B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida.

Dr. Amber Kinser will chair the Department of Communication and Performance, which houses ETSU’s programs in theatre, dance, communication studies and storytelling.

Kinser chaired the former Department of Communication from 2010 to 2014.  She is the author of the book Motherhood and Feminism and editor of Mothering in the Third Wave and Performing Motherhood.   Her research on communication, family and gender has appeared in journals such as Women and Language, Journal of Appalachian Studies; Qualitative Inquiry; and Journal for the Association for Research on Mothering, among others.

She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in communication from Purdue University, where she also received two awards for excellence in teaching.  Performance studies were part of her training in each of her degrees.

In 2009, Kinser received the ETSU Distinguished Faculty Award in Service.

“A number of our programs are closely tied to the ETSU Arts Initiative and we are honored to be part of this expansion of the arts across the region,” Kinser said.  “We have many new projects underway in the Department of Communication and Performance, including a proposal for the creation of a baccalaureate program in dance, and an application for accreditation for the theatre program. We also will pursue growth agendas in communication studies and in storytelling.”

The two new departments will partner to continue offering the master’s degree in professional communication.

“The creation of these two departments is something we have been considering for a number of years,” said Dr. Gordon Anderson, ETSU Dean of Arts and Sciences.  “There are numerous opportunities for enrollment growth and program development and expansion that we want to pursue, and this new structure will allow us to facilitate those goals.”

Marshall added that ETSU is making plans to pursue accreditation again with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) for its mass communications programs.

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