School of Communication appoints new director

Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Ernest J. Wilson III, will appoint Sarah Banet-Weiser as the new director of the School of Communication in summer 2014, Annenberg announced Monday.

Banet-Weiser will succeed Larry Gross, who has held the position since 2003. Though Gross will no longer hold this position, he will remain a vice dean and faculty member at Annenberg.

Banet-Weiser has worked as a professor at Annenberg in the School of Communication since 1999. She is also a professor at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in the American Studies and Ethnicity department. Banet-Weiser teaches courses in feminist theory, youth culture and gender and media, among other subjects. She has written four books and co-authored one, including The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity.

“While my own scholarship emerges from the subfield of culture and communication, I’m looking forward to continuing to build the department in all areas of the field — from health communication to organizational communication to rhetoric to new and digital technologies and other subfields,” Banet-Weiser told USC Annenberg News. “We have great opportunities and resources here at USC Annenberg, and I am honored to be asked to help continue building our department in the years to come.”

Banet-Weiser has already received many accolades from the university, including a USC Mellon Mentoring Award, and is a fellow at the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching,  through which she participates in the Future Professoriate Program.

Gross said Banet-Weiser is well-equipped to take over as director next fall.

“She sees the academic mission as one that has wider social responsibilities that translate into what you teach, how you teach and how you think about working with students,” Gross told USC Annenberg News. “It’s not an ivory tower mentality, but one that understands that the university, as a privileged institution, must contribute to society.”


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