Douglas Anderson


Douglas Anderson

Professor Emeritus



Doug Anderson served as dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications from 1999 to 2014 and under his guidance the program enjoyed a period unprecedented growth and success.

Anderson’s collaborative approach, leadership and vision were the driving forces for the Penn State communications program for a decade and a half. During his tenure, measurable success and tangible results were produced in every facet of the program.

Anderson team taught a depth reporting class each fall and kept an emphasis on undergraduate education at the core of his approach. In addition, his collaborative manner and unselfishness made Penn State a popular place for faculty, staff and students. The collegiality of the program played an important part in the growth and success of the Bellisario College under his leadership.

During Anderson’s tenure, the full-time faculty grew significantly, with the number of tenured communications faculty members doubling; departments of Advertising/Public Relations, Film-Video and Media Studies, Journalism, and Telecommunications were created; the Office of Internships and Career Placement was established; state-of-the-art broadcast studios and newsrooms were built at Innovation Park as the Bellisario College's space increased by more than 40 percent; and student showcases CommMedia, CommRadio and “Centre County Report,” the weekly 30-minute newscast that was named the best student newscast in America by the Broadcast Education Association for 2012, were launched, significantly expanding hands-on opportunities for students.

In addition, the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, the Jim Jimirro Center for the Study of Media Influence, the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication and the Don Davis Program for Ethical Leadership were created.

The Bellisario College's graduate students and faculty members became fixtures at major academic conferences; and the faculty expanded its wingspan with ever-increasing and nationally ranked scholarly and creative productivity.

The Bellisario College also has become more diverse, with the number of minorities in the student body nearly doubling from 380 to 752. In 2013, the Bellisario College received the Equity and Diversity Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The award, which is given to only one mass communication program in the country each year, honors schools that have attained measurable success with approaches to increasing racial, gender and ethnic equity and diversity.

Along with the successes, the down-to-earth and personable Anderson provides an unflappable model for his colleagues across campus and in the Bellisario College. He consistently has served on University-level committees and for more than a decade has concluded his annual start-of-the-academic year retreat with his executive team with a reminder to “be unselfish.”

Anderson led the Bellisario College through three successful national accreditation reviews. The most recent accreditation site-visit team, in fall 2012, concluded: “Although the college is the largest nationally accredited communication program in the country, the level of personal attention and support provided to students rivals that of much smaller institutions. ... With a highly talented and dedicated staff ... focused on advising, internships and career placement, and multicultural affairs, this self-proclaimed ‘student-centered’ college lives up to this promise.”

Anderson is the author or co-author of six books, two of which have gone into subsequent editions: “Contemporary Sports Reporting” and “News Writing and Reporting for Today’s Media,” which is now in its seventh edition and, through the years, has been adopted by more than 200 colleges and universities. He also has written more than 75 academic articles, papers, book chapters and workbooks.

Anderson was recognized with the AEJMC Presidential Award for “outstanding service to journalism and mass communication education” during the annual AEJMC Conference in Washington, D.C., in 2013.

Before coming to Penn State, he was the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees Professor and director of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State. After his retirement from Penn State in 2014, he retired to Arizona and presently serves as a senior research professor at Arizona State.

In 1996, The Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people, named Anderson Journalism Administrator of the Year. He remains the youngest person ever to receive the award. In 1997, he served as the inaugural fellow at the Freedom Forum Pacific Coast Center in San Francisco, where he conducted a study on the state of journalism-mass communications education.

A former daily newspaper reporter, sports editor and managing editor, Anderson is a past president of the Nebraska Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He also is a past president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Southwest Education Council on Education in Journalism in Mass Communication. He is the former three-term chair of the national Accrediting Committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

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