VCU names new director for School of Mass Communications

Share this story

RICHMOND, Va. — Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., a mass communications professional with more than 30 years of experience from around the world, has been named director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications. In March, she will assume her role, taking over from Terry Oggel, Ph.D., who has served as acting director for the past two years.

"Dr. Turk brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our university," said VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. "Her strong background will be an asset to the school as it enhances its commitment to offering real-world experiences to students preparing for communications careers."

Turk is the founding and current dean of the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, she served as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina and as director of journalism and mass communications at Kent State University.

"VCU's School of Mass Communications has an unprecedented opportunity to establish itself as a leader among those programs that are preparing graduates to work in the still-developing converged world of journalism and mass communication," Turk said. "The commitment to supporting the school as it re-invents itself to accomplish this is extraordinary, from President Trani, from Provost McDavis, from Dean Gottfredson and from the professional community in Richmond and throughout Virginia and the East Coast. I look forward to working with the faculty and the rest of my new colleagues at VCU to position the school as a national leader."

Named Outstanding Public Relations Educator in 1992 by the Public Relations Society of America, she also is past president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the largest association of journalism faculty and administrators in the country.

"Dr. Turk is an award-winning educator who has spent time in newsrooms and in public relations, as well as in the classroom," said Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D., VCU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Our students will benefit greatly from her diverse experiences."

Before entering the academic arena, Turk worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. She also has worked in university and corporate public relations and has lectured and consulted on mass communications issues in Eastern Europe, the Newly Independent States, the Baltics, Russia and Asia.

Co-author of This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, she also serves as co-editor of Journalism Studies, an international refereed journal, and is a member of the editorial advisory board for Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly and the Journal of Public Relations Research. She also is active in the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Public Relations Society of America.

Turk earned a doctoral degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, a master’s degree in public relations from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from Northwestern University. She has held faculty positions at the University of Oklahoma, Louisiana State University and Syracuse University.

The School of Mass Communications is one of the largest programs in VCU's College of Humanities and Sciences, with an enrollment of more than 850 students. The school offers four sequences of specialized study: advertising, public relations, electronic media and news-editorial.