Matthew Cecil, a media historian with a strong professional communication background, has been selected as the next director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.
Cecil, an associate professor in the South Dakota State University Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, will begin work at Wichita State June 30. He will succeed Lou Heldman, who has served as interim director since 2011.
Ron Matson, interim dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who made the appointment, said, "The faculty and I feel that Matt Cecil's experience and vision for the future of communication education make him ideal for this important position."
At WSU, Cecil will be responsible for about 30 faculty and staff members and courses that enroll more than 2,000 students annually.
"The Elliott School stands out regionally and nationally because of its outstanding people and because of its comprehensive, integrated approach to the study of communication," Cecil said. "The ESC is well-positioned for continued and even greater success, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that."
Cecil was also impressed with the deep connections between the Elliott School and professions in Wichita, he said. "The school is really about active learning, about involving students in real projects on campus and in the community."
Cecil is the author of a forthcoming book, "J. Edgar Hoover and the American Press: Journalism, Public Relations and the Legitimation of the FBI," and has published or presented more than 20 articles on the topic. He is working on a new book exploring the work of iconoclastic journalist George Seldes.
Prior to joining the faculty at South Dakota State University, Cecil served on the faculties at Purdue University and the University of Oklahoma. He earned his Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Iowa in 2000 and holds a Master of Arts in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Bachelor of Science in history from South Dakota State University. Cecil's professional experience includes work as a daily newspaper reporter, political press secretary and corporate media relations practitioner.
The Elliott School of Communication, a unit of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, offers the only academic program in Kansas that integrates speech communication, journalism, public relations and strategic communication.