Thor Wasbotten has served as director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication since July 2012. Prior to arriving at Kent State, Wasbotten served as the assistant dean for student media and online operations at The Pennsylvania State University, where he also was a senior lecturer of journalism.
Wasbotten's former academic appointments include time as a visiting professor at the Shanghai International Studies University; participation in the Broadcasters-in-Residence Program at the University of Oklahoma; teaching as an instructor at Pacific University; and, as a graduate fellow at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore.
His extensive professional experience includes: partner and managing director of compliance for Blue Heron Research Partners, LLC, in New York City (January 2006 - July 2012); president of Real Media Strategies, LLC, in State College, Pa., (March 2007 - July 2012); news director of KGUN 9-TV, ABC affiliate, Tucson, Ariz., (July 2001 - July 2004); station manager of KTRV-TV, Fox affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (October 2000 - July 2001); news director of KTRV-TV, Fox affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (December 1998 - October 2000); managing editor of KTVB-TV, NBC affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (July 1996 - December 1998); and weekend assignments editor of KOIN-TV, CBS affiliate, Portland, Ore., (February 1994 - July 1996).
Wasbotten holds a Master of Science degree in journalism and communication with a secondary focus in counseling from the University of Oregon; a certificate from the Teaching Fellows Workshop at Indiana University; a micro-MBA certificate from the Center for Management Development at Boise State University; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism with a secondary focus in counseling from the University of Southern California.
A notable leader in electronic news, Wasbotten is a member of the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Communication and the Broadcast Education Association. He has served as a site visit team member for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication since 2001, as an editorial board member for Electronic News: A Journal of Applied Research and Ideas and as an advisory board member for PSNtv at Penn State from 2004-2012. He was the director for The Pennsylvania State University Institute for High School Broadcast Journalists (2006-2008); a host for the Hearst Visitor Program at Penn State (2008); and a moderator or panelist at numerous professional and academic conferences and workshops (2004-present). He was the chairperson of the Fox News Advisory Committee (1999-2000) and the Northwest/Mountain Region representative (1999-2001).