Associate professor Eric Rasmussen, Ph.D., is the new Interim Chair for the Department of Public Relations in the College of Media & Communication. Prior to his new administrative appointment, Rasmussen served as the director for the college's doctoral program.
Rasmussen has spent his career focusing on creating a learning environment in which students become critical evaluators and engage communication media strategically. He credits this goal as the source of inspiration for his current role.
“The responsibility as interim chair is the same responsibility as any other faculty in the department,” he says. “It's to provide our students with the best education and prepare them for a post-graduation career. The students are our priority.”
Rasmussen describes his crucial role in creating a personable connection with his department's students. Scheduling classes, meeting with students one-on-one, and helping manage their challenges are some of the ways he works to create a healthy environment for them.
Although Rasmussen didn't seek out the interim chair position, he is excited to fill the role and become a resource for students and his colleagues. He credits his enthusiasm to the amazing faculty around him that share a similar passion for quality teaching and high-level academic research.
“There's not a whole lot of fear because I know there are people I can turn to for help or advice,” Rasmussen says. “We're all here to be of service to the students, and it's natural for us to be of service to each other.”
Other college administrators have assisted Rasmussen with his leadership transition, and he is deeply moved by the college's culture to support one another.
“All the other chairs have been so helpful,” Rasmussen says. “They've all reached out to see if I've needed help. I believe it's a testament to the college's culture that no matter what department we're in, we're all here to help students.”
An active children's media researcher, Rasmussen hopes that his experience as a scholar and a doctoral program director allows him to empower critical evaluators among his students.
“I want students to have an idea of self-worth,” Rasmussen says. “I believe as educators we underestimate our ability to understand a student's self-worth. We can teach them skills on how to write or design a product, but if we can teach them critical thinking skills, they'll be able to deal with any problem on their own.”