SMPA plans to hire two new faculty positions

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, said the school is interviewing candidates for a tenure-track faculty position.

Updated: Dec. 7, 2015 at 3:35 p.m.

The School of Media and Public Affairs is on the hunt for two new faculty members.

SMPA officials are in the process of interviewing candidates for an open tenure-track assistant professor position in political communication and an assistant professor position in journalism.

SMPA Director Frank Sesno said the school has received applications from across the world and have brought top-tier candidates to campus to meet with faculty for the journalism position. The new faculty member would teach data and computer-assisted reporting, advanced reporting and beat reporting and would start next fall, Sesno said.
He said the school is looking for a candidate with “sheer brilliance.”

“What we are looking for in this particular candidate is someone with extensive journalistic experience who can bring the rigors and a deep understanding of journalism to the faculty and to the classroom,” Sesno said.

Sesno said last spring that the school would hold off at least until next year to hire a new full-time professor to fill two open faculty spots, and would use visiting professors to teach those courses in the meantime. Albert May, an SMPA professor who retired from the school in May, is listed on this spring’s schedule of classes to teach a course in campaign reporting.

Sesno said members of the school hope the new hire will have a deep knowledge and experience in covering of the government and government agencies so the professor could teach students how “hold various government entities and agencies accountable and make them as transparent, relevant and interesting to the public as possible.”

The other open position is for a tenure-track assistant professor of political communication. The new faculty member would specialize in strategic and political communication and have a strong research portfolio, according to a position description on GW’s jobs website.

David Karpf, an assistant professor of media and public affairs and the director of graduate studies at SMPA, is a member of the selection committee. He said the new position is “a big deal hire” because it is a tenure-track position, meaning the candidate could spend his or her entire career in SMPA. Karpf said members of the committee expect to have a recommendation by the end of the semester.

Karpf said the committee is looking for a candidate with practical, real-world experience who can translate those skills into the classroom.

“We want somebody who is going to be an excellent scholar, an excellent teacher, an excellent colleague and fits the needs of the department and the culture of the department,” Karpf said.

Lee Huebner, a professor of media and public affairs and a former director of SMPA, said in an email that the school has a strong field of candidates and all of the faculty have had the opportunity to meet with their potential colleagues.

“All of the current full-time faculty have had an opportunity to meet individually with the final candidates, and to hear them make group presentations, so that has been a fascinating and encouraging process,” Huebner said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that there was one open position in the School of Media and Public Affairs. There are two open positions, and SMPA Director Frank Sesno was specifically speaking about the assistant professor position. The caption was also updated to reflect this change. We regret this error.

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