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School of Communication Studies welcomes new director

Jun 18, 2013

School of Communication Studies welcomes new director

Michael Butterworth to begin appointment July 1

By Erin Roberts

ATHENS, Ohio (June 18, 2013)—Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth announces the hiring of Michael L. Butterworth as the new director of the School of Communication. The appointment is effective July 1.

“Mike brings with him valuable leadership experience and a passion for helping students have the best possible educational experience,” he said. “He is committed to working with faculty, staff, and students to help the school set high goals for excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and service. His leadership will be a very valuable asset to the School and College as we enter a new era of collaboration in the new Schoonover Center for Communication.”

Butterworth comes to Ohio University from Bowling Green State University, where he has served as Chair of the Department of Communication for the past two years. He is a scholar of rhetoric and political culture, with a particular interest in the democratic politics of sport. His work has appeared in national and international publications such as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, the Journal of Sport & Social Issues, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech. 

Butterworth said he was drawn to the position because it offered the chance to work with faculty and programs he has long admired.

“It was a combination of the leadership opportunity in and of itself, but, in particular, at a university with a faculty I’ve come to know in the field and for whom I have a great deal of respect,” Butterworth said. “This program matches up with my own academic interests and gives me a chance to come up with curriculum and research projects to further the study of communication.”

Butterworth also said he is excited to become a part of the College during its transition into the new Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.

“Whether you’re an academic or not, anytime you talk about a new or updated academic facility, you get excited,” he said. “The fact that it’s one of these classic structures on campus is fantastic. Working alongside the other schools will present some opportunities for collaboration. The technology, the location and the plans to bring the college together are all a really attractive part of being here.”

Butterworth is also author of the book, Baseball and Rhetorics of Purity: The National Pastime and American Identity during the War on Terror (University of Alabama Press, 2010), and co-author with Andy Billings and Paul Turman of the textbook, Communication and Sport: Surveying the Field (Sage, 2012).  His teaching experience includes undergraduate courses such as Rhetorical Criticism, the Rhetoric of Social Movements, Political Communication, and Communication and Sport, as well as graduate seminars in Rhetorical Criticism, Contemporary Rhetorical Theory, Rhetoric and Democratic Theory, and Rhetoric and Public Memory. 

Titsworth says Butterworth is a well-rounded academic with insight that will advance the School of Communication Studies.

“Mike has an impressive record as a teacher, scholar, and administrator,” he said. “He brings an innovative vision that recognizes the unique opportunities confronting the School of Communication Studies. In addition, Mike has high expectations. I have no doubt that Mike recognizes the legacy of success in the School, and that he will work hard with key stakeholders to establish an exciting vision for where the School will excel in the coming years.”

Butterworth is the founding Executive Director of the International Association for Communication and Sport, an academic organization dedicated to the practice, instruction, and study of sport as a communicative phenomenon.  In addition to his scholarship, he contributes to online sites such as BagNews Notes and the Vision Machine

Butterworth has a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture from Indiana University, an M.A. in Communication from Northern Illinois University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.  He has taught previously at BGSU, Indiana, Northern Illinois, and the College of Lake County (IL).  Beyond his academic interests, Butterworth closely follows sports and politics and enjoys music. He will soon reside in Athens with his wife and two children. He can be reached at