As three department heads return to a faculty role, we welcome new perspectives and leadership experience that will support student success, faculty development, and the future of academic programs in the Reynolds College of Arts and Letters (RCOAL).
Dr. Shawn Wahl, dean of RCOAL, is pleased to announce the following appointments.
“Kindness, balanced with inclusive leadership, is one way to describe three highly qualified colleagues joining our team. We are thrilled,” adds Wahl.
Department of Communication
Dr. Stephen Spates, tenured Associate Professor of Communication, will assume the role of Interim Head of the Department of Communication on July 1, 2022.
Spates earned a doctorate degree in communication with a focus on organizational communication at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During his time at Missouri State University, Spates has completed the MSU Provost’s Academic Leadership Series for future university leaders, served as a Dean’s Leadership Fellow, and is the lead researcher on a $645,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Spates was recently recognized by the Board of Governors with the MSU Excellence in Public Affairs Award. In addition, Spates has won numerous other awards including a General Education Assessment Award, the Pearson and Nelson Central States Communication Association (CSCA) Outstanding New Teacher Award, and numerous National Communication Association (NCA)/CSCA recognitions for his service. In terms of his research program, Spates has published 20 peer-reviewed articles and chapters and is currently working on several book projects and handbook chapters.
As an HBCU alum, Spates connects his career to success in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and practices. He regularly hosts and attends workshops on DEI related topics, serves as a mentor to Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs), and regularly partners with the Office of Multicultural Services to educate the community on ethical leadership, community engagement, and cultural competence.
Department of Media, Journalism and Film
Dr. Deborah Larson will assume the role of Interim Head of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film on July 1, 2022.
Larson earned a doctorate degree in communication with a focus on media theory and criticism, women’s history, and television production at the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2004 after joining the faculty at Missouri State University in 2000.
During her time at MSU, Larson has served in a variety of administrative roles including Basic Course Director and Assistant Department Head, has won numerous awards for her creative scholarship, and has secured upwards of $200,000 in internal and external grants.
Department of Music
Dr. John Prescott will assume the role of Interim Head of the Department of Music on July 1, 2022.
Prescott earned a doctorate degree in music composition at the University of Kansas. He is an award-winning member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) with music compositions published and distributed worldwide.
During his time at MSU, Prescott has been honored for his research and teaching, and he has served in a variety of administrative roles including Director of Graduate Studies and Department Head of Music.