School of Journalism and Mass Communication Hires New Director

Emily Metzgar headshot

After a national search, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University has named Dr. Emily Metzgar as its new director, beginning July 1. Metzgar is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies in The Media School at Indiana University. She is also a former diplomat, policy analyst, opinion writer and youth advocate.

“We are excited to welcome Emily to our team,” said Amy Reynolds, Dean of the College of Communication and Information. “She has an established record of success in leading across a diverse range of programs, and she brings a strong background in global engagement that will help us continue to emphasize the importance of cultural competencies and global experiences for our students.”

Metzgar’s writing and research has focused on foreign affairs and the role of media in American politics. She is especially interested in the practice of public diplomacy as part of a country’s larger foreign policy strategy, publishing commentary and academic work emphasizing the “hard power” implications of activities traditionally considered “soft.”

“Emily is an accomplished scholar who is conducting important research that is directly relevant to the problems of today,” said Reynolds. “The global reach of her public diplomacy research and opinion writing will elevate the school’s national reputation in the area of media and politics.”

"It’s an honor to be named the new director of Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” said Metzgar. “The School’s dedicated faculty and staff, hard-working students, engaged alumni, and great facilities mean the program is well-equipped to navigate this challenging time of change in both academia and industry. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with this talented team."

In her time at Indiana, Metzgar served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in The Media School, as well as the Director of The Media School’s Honors Program and the chair of the school’s Journalism Advisory Board. In her various administrative roles in The Media School at IU, Metzgar has facilitated curricular reform and led efforts in the creation of new degrees and majors, including establishing the School’s Media Scholars Program and developing curricula for high-performing students across the School’s three undergraduate degree programs. She also oversees the School’s Semester in LA Program, among a range of other responsibilities.

Prior to joining the faculty at IU in 2008, Metzgar spent time at organizations as varied as the U.S. Information Agency, the National Defense University, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Metzgar earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from the University of Michigan; a master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs; and a doctorate in media and public affairs from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

While living in Louisiana, she wrote a weekly opinion column focused on the state’s political and public policy environment for a Gannett paper, maintaining a blog and producing a podcast on the same subjects and attracting a statewide audience in the process. This experience led to her dissertation research focused on the role of state-oriented political blogs across the United States. Insights derived from that study about the ways that user-generated content can disrupt established political and media institutions continue to inform her work.

During Hurricane Katrina, Metzgar saw first-hand the significant contributions that non-profit organizations can make to their communities. She takes that to heart and has been an active volunteer or board member for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in both Louisiana and Indiana. She co-edited and contributed a chapter to The Course Reflection Project, a volume focused on service-learning in the college classroom. She puts this educational philosophy into practice when she places her students in community-focused social service organizations to show them how often there is a disconnect between media coverage of a social issue and the reality on the ground.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University is nationally recognized for its award-winning Student Media and programs in journalism, public relations, advertising and digital media production. These majors prepare our students for careers in the rapidly changing media and communication industries.

POSTED: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 9:51am
UPDATED: Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 2:54pm