CLEMSON — Joseph Mazer has been appointed chair of Clemson University’s communication department. Mazer is an associate professor and has served as associate chair of the department since 2011. His appointment is effective July 1, 2018.

Mazer has called the communication department home since arriving at Clemson in 2010 and he is excited to expand upon an already strong department in the areas of research, teaching and service.

“It is a great honor to be able to provide leadership in these areas for our faculty, staff and students,” Mazer said. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across the university and building on the outstanding teaching and research conducted in our department.”

Mazer said the department’s student focus is a major point of pride. In the short term, Mazer would like to build on that legacy by enhancing the undergraduate curriculum to include specialized tracks that prepare students for work in a broad range of communication fields. Increasing student engagement and student internship opportunities are also high on his list of priorities.

Increasing the curriculum’s relevance and accessibility for students is also critical. Mazer is excited about the possibility of three-year accelerated degrees and online social media certificates, and hopes to acquire more resources to make study abroad programs available for more students.

Mazer said the communication department is uniquely qualified to address contemporary social issues relevant to our region and country by equipping students with the ability to communicate effectively in a democratic society. He plans to further the role of communication through a commitment to diversity and inclusion and fostering engagement among students.

“It’s clear that people need to be taught how to defend an important position, disagree constructively and be civically engaged; we teach students how to communicate effectively, ethically and competently across contexts,” Mazer said. “In this way, our department’s mission is critical to Clemson and the world we live in.”

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Joseph Mazer plans to make student engagement, research and relevant curricula priorities as chair of Clemson’s communication department.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Mazer hopes to increase and strengthen the department’s research output through mentoring, and he feels the department is well positioned to do so. He said he is proud of the department’s positive culture, and he wants nothing more than to see that momentum continue.

“We will work to balance teaching excellence and growth in our research productivity in tandem with the department’s supportive and student-focused culture,” Mazer said. “A positive climate is the oil that keeps the department’s engine running at a strong clip and that will provide us with the momentum to get where we need to go.”

Brett Wright is dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences that houses the communication department. Wright said Mazer was a natural choice to take the reins of the department considering his many achievements over the years at Clemson.

“Joe’s résumé speaks for itself,” Wright said. “Through his prolific research background to the way he interacts with fellow faculty and inspires his students, Joe has proven to be a natural leader in the department and in our college. I know he will take the Department of Communication to exciting places.”

Mazer’s nationally recognized research program investigates communication in teaching and learning, new communication technologies/social media and communication in interpersonal relationships. He has authored or co-authored over 70 research articles, book chapters and books and has been ranked in the top 1 percent of prolific scholars in the communication discipline for the past 10 years.

In November 2017, Communication Education named Mazer among the top 10 most productive communication scholars nationwide. A July 2017 study named him among the top five influential scholars in instructional communication. Mazer’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and other organizations and discussed in media outlets, including USA Today and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The National Communication Association and Central States Communication Association recognized Mazer’s research through top paper and panel awards. His disciplinary leadership roles include service as an editorial board member for 13 disciplinary journals, editor of the Basic Communication Course Annual, consulting editor for forums for Communication Education, member of the NCA Teaching and Learning Council, and past chair of the NCA Resolutions Committee and NCA Instructional Development Division.

Mazer’s work as a teacher and mentor has garnered multiple honors, including the CSCA Outstanding New Teacher Award and the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award given by the Clemson communication department’s undergraduate student body for excellence in teaching and dedication to student success. Mazer was also appointed as a Faculty-in-Residence at Clemson to provide leadership on faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom and increase the personalization of the residence halls.

At Clemson, Mazer also directs the Social Media Listening Center, an interdisciplinary laboratory that seeks to monitor, measure and engage in social media conversations from across the web and provide learning, teaching, research and partnership opportunities to students, faculty, collaborative research partners and external clients.

A member of the Clemson faculty since 2010, Mazer earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Ohio University, a master’s degree in Communication from Illinois State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Mansfield University.