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Kenneth Starck

Journalism, 1968

Emeritus Professor, School of Journalism

and Mass Communication, 

University of Iowa

I came to Southern Illinois University as a journalist and left as a journalism educator.  Doctoral studies at SIU (PhD 1968) left two indelible career-shaping marks on my professional life: an acute appreciation for freedom of the press tempered with a sense of social responsibility and a respect for different cultures.

I am now professor-emeritus, School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), University of Iowa.  As a reporter, I worked for the Decatur, IL, Review and the Memphis, TN, Commercial Appeal.  From 1997-2004 I was news ombudsman for the Cedar Rapids, IA, Gazette Company.  I’ve retired twice, the first time as a professor in the Iowa (SJMC) where I served as director for 17 years.  A second rebirth took me to the United Arab Emirates as dean of the Zayed University College of Communication and Media Sciences for nearly five years.

I have had two Fulbright professorships: the University of Bucharest, Romania (1994-95) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing (1986-87).  Thanks to SIU, I taught a year at the University of Tampere in Finland where I met my wife and carried out dissertation research.  I’ve lectured in Japan, Iceland, Canada, Ukraine, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Korea, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

Publications include co-author of Backtalk: Press Councils in America (1972), a project carried out at SIU, and Public Relations and Community: A Reconstructed Theory (1988) which received a national award from the Commission on Public Relations of the Speech Communication Assn.  My book, The Dragon’s Pupils: A China Odyssey, (1991) is an account of the year of teaching in China.  Research has led to articles in a number of academic and professional periodicals.    

I served as president of the Assn. for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (1981-82) and the Assn. of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (1984-85).  Honors include election to the Hall of Fame by the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication (2006) and recognition as Alumnus of the Year by the Southern Illinois University School of Journalism (1999).
My degrees include a BA in English from Wartburg College (1956) and an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri (1960).

Much of my career has been spent studying international communication issues.  Crucial to my SIU studies were Howard Rusk Long and Bryce Rucker.  A grateful student can never thank his/her mentors enough.