David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D., professor and dean of the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, was inducted as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) on Aug. 9 at the annual AEJMC conference in Toronto.
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is the oldest and largest journalism and mass communication organization at the collegiate level.
Perlmutter has previously held two leadership positions within AEJMC: president-elect from 2018-2019 and AEJMC vice president during the 2017-2018 term.
“It is a great honor for a faculty member to be recognized by their peers for his or her leadership by election to offices in professional organizations such as this one,” said Michael Galyean, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Texas Tech University. “These appointments bring recognition to Texas Tech at a national and international level and I am confident the Dean will provide outstanding leadership to this important association of educators.”
“Dr. Perlmutter is highly respected across AEJMC because of his experience in higher education and his long-standing involvement in the organization,” said Marie Hardin, Ph.D., immediate past-president of AEJMC, professor and dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University. “He has a bold vision for the organization, and I'm thrilled to support him as he moves into this important leadership year.”
As president, Perlmutter said that he has two overarching goals. The first goal is to ensure the organization continues fulfilling its day-to-day responsibilities and duties, including organizing its large annual conference, this one (2020) in San Francisco.
The second presidential goal, according to Perlmutter, is to focus more on the provision of career services for AEJMC members who are new to the field of academia.
“I'd like to help the organization become branded as a tool to help support young faculty as they start out in their careers,” said Perlmutter. “Faculty have more choices than ever before, and it's important that the organization proves its value and worth to its members.”
Perlmutter has been a member of AEJMC since the start of his academic career more than 30 years ago, and during this time, has been a regular attendee at the annual conference.
“AEJMC has played the most decisive role in my own career,” he said. “I may have changed university employers, but I keep coming back each year to this organization, and as president, I'd like to continue that legacy by passing on the opportunities that I've had to the younger members.”
Perlmutter plans to provide a wide range of professional services for Association members, including adding more programmatic choices to those already being provided, both at the conference and throughout the year.
Work towards the goal of increased career services has already started. The initial steps of completing background research on the needs and wants of this target audience and publishing a report of these findings have already been completed, but Perlmutter has more of a long-term goal in mind.
“By the end of my term, I would like to have a permanent position or committee in place in the organization so that this focus on the needs of our newer members will continue after my term is finished,” he said. “We'll need to have a champion in place who has a seat at the table to bring long-term change and continuing awareness of this issue.”
“I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for new faculty – it's a difficult and challenging time at the start of your career,” he added. “We need to know how to help members over the long arc of their academic careers.”
According to its website, the AEJMC mission is focused on promoting the highest possible standards for journalism and mass communication education. Other aspects of the mission include cultivating a wide range of communication research, encouraging a multicultural society in the classroom and the curriculum, and defending freedom of communication to have a better-informed public.
AEJMC was founded in 1912 and now has a worldwide association of 3,700 members from 50 different countries.
“Holding the position of AEJMC President is one item on my personal bucket list and I'm gratified by the judgement of my peers,” Perlmutter said. “I'm happy to have achieved this milestone in my career, and I'm excited and grateful to have the opportunity to give back.”
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