Webster University Names Eric Rothenbuhler School of Communications Dean

| June 25, 2012
Webster University

Founded in 1915 with its home campus based in St. Louis, Mo., Webster University is the only Tier 1, private, nonprofit university with campus locations around the world including metropolitan, military, online and corporate, as well as American-style traditional campuses in North America, Europe and Asia.

Eric W. Rothenbuhler has been named the new dean of the Webster University School of Communications, effective Aug. 1, 2012. Rothenbuhler comes to Webster after serving as associate dean at one of the top communications education programs in the nation.

At Webster University, he’ll lead a School known for its hands-on approach to teaching communications in a wide array of media and specialties in St. Louis and at multiple Webster campuses around the globe.

Rothenbuhler succeeds Debra Carpenter, who announced last summer her decision to return to teaching after 16 years leading the School.

The text of the news release announcing this exciting appointment follows:

Webster University Names Dr. Eric W. Rothenbuhler School of Communications Dean

ST. LOUIS, June 25, 2012 — Webster University President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble and Provost Julian Z. Schuster today announced that Dr. Eric W. Rothenbuhler will join the University August 1 as dean of Webster’s School of Communications. Rothenbuhler comes to Webster from Ohio University, where he served as associate dean of the Scripps College of Communication and a professor in the college’s School of Media Arts and Studies since 2010.

Webster University - School of Communications

Eric Rothenbuhler

At Scripps, which is considered one of the nation’s top five communication education programs, Rothenbuhler served as chief adviser and deputy to the dean. His academic leadership responsibilities included curriculum programs, research and creative activity, research centers, interdisciplinary faculty and initiatives, liaison with other offices and institutions, and special projects. He has long experience integrating media studies and arts, and a range of approaches to communication scholarship and practice.

Rothenbuhler’s teaching and research activities have addressed media anthropology, media history, and communication systems ranging from ritual through community to media industries, with special interest in music, sound and radio.

Rothenbuhler is co-editor (with Mihai Coman) of Media Anthropology (2005, Sage), author of Ritual Communication: From Everyday Conversation to Mediated Ceremony (1988, Sage), which has been translated to Polish (2003) and Persian (2008), with excerpts in other languages, and co-editor (with Greg Shepherd) of Communication and Community (2001, LEA).  He was Review and Criticism Editor for the Journal of Communication (1997-99) and currently is Associate Editor of the International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy (forthcoming). Rothenbuhler also serves on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication Theory, and The Radio Journal.  He is author or co-author of more than 60 articles, chapters, essays, and reviews on media, ritual, community, media industries, popular music, and communication theory.

“Eric brings accomplished leadership and innovative thinking to the position of dean of the School of Communications,” Stroble said. “His experience will build on the School’s success while developing significant partnerships that advance partners’ communications impact.”

“His track record shows that Eric is committed to advancing excellence in teaching and learning,” said Schuster. “At this pivotal time in Webster’s history, Eric will lead new thinking and new directions and development for the School of Communications and for Webster University. He epitomizes what we mean when we say ‘achieving global academic and operational excellence.’” Schuster added that Rothenbuhler will play a pivotal role in the future expansion of the School’s physical facilities.

Prior to Scripps, Rothenbuhler served as a professor of communication at Texas A&M University, director of the Graduate Media Studies program at the New School University in New York City, and faculty member in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, where he advanced from assistant to associate to full professor.  Rothenbuhler earned his Ph.D. from the prestigious Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.

“I am excited to be joining the School of Communications and Webster University in this time of tremendous change in our field,” Rothenbuhler said. “The future of communication and media is being invented right now, and we have a role to play in that. Webster’s tradition of innovation, access and international education gives us a serious head start on the competition.”

Rothenbuhler said he also looks forward to joining the St. Louis media community, and building on the School of Communications’ already strong connections with the community.

About the School

The Webster University School of Communications prepares 1,300 students in three academic departments to excel as skilled professionals in the global communications field. The School provides a hands-on approach to learning that is grounded in the University’s liberal arts and sciences foundation and commitment to global education. Fifteen undergraduate programs, five graduate degree programs and 14 minors cover the wide array of communications specialties and are taught by faculty who are theorists and practitioners. Students work with professional-grade media equipment, take courses at Webster’s U.S., European and Asian campuses, participate in robust field experiences and internships, and, along with faculty and alumni, are routinely recognized for their professional accomplishments.

About Webster University

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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Rothenbuhler was selected after a search that attracted interest from multiple countries. The search committee was co-chaired by Webster’s Dottie Englis, chair and professor, Conservatory of Theatre Arts, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, and Barbara O’Malley, associate vice president and chief communications officer.

Other members of the search committee are:

  • Gary Ford, associate professor and director of Graduate Studies, Communications & Journalism Department, School of Communications
  • Brenda Fyfe, dean, School of Education
  • Terri Lucas, director of User Services, Information Technology
  • Pat Masidonski, associate dean, George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology
  • Jorge Oliver, chair and associate professor, Electronic/Photographic Media Department, School of Communications
  • Erik Palmore, head of the Faculty Development Center
  • Joe Schuster, chair and professor, Communications & Journalism Department, School of Communications
  • Patty Senft, student

Assisting the committee is Jennifer Gammage, Assistant to the Associate Vice President & Chief Communications Officer | Writer/Editor.


Category: Employee News, Faculty, Featured, Webster News

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