You are here: American University Provost Communications January 11, 2021

American University Office of the Provost

MemorandumJanuary 11, 2021

AU Community
Peter Starr, Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Dean, School of Communication

Following a thorough international search, I am pleased to announce that Sam Fulwood III has been named dean of the School of Communication.  A prominent journalist, public policy analyst, author, and dynamic media leader, Dean Fulwood currently serves as a Senior Fellow and Vice President-Race and Equity at the Center for American Progress. His nationally and internationally recognized work addresses some of the greatest issues of our time, including media influences on American life; race relations; data-driven journalism; and the intersection of media, technology, and democracy.  He will join AU on May 1, 2021 and assume his deanship on May 15. 

Dean Fulwood is the former director and founder of American Progress’s Leadership Institute, a program to assist with the advancement of people of color in public policy.  He was a metro columnist at Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer and a national correspondent in the Washington, DC bureau of the Los Angeles Times, where he contributed to the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.  Earlier in his career, Sam held the positions of business editor and state political editor for The Atlantic Journal-Constitution and worked as an assistant city editor, business reporter, editorial writer, and the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.  He began his reporting career at The Charlotte Observer, his hometown daily, where he was a police, sports, and business reporter.  He has produced high-profile and award-winning journalism.  

His public policy work has promoted legislation to advance comprehensive immigration and criminal justice reforms, as well as advocacy for racial equity in housing, employment, and mass transit policies.  Last year, Sam served as a faculty fellow at American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, where he co-directed the “Black Swing Voter Study,” a survey and focus-group report that predicted the important role that Black voters would play in key battleground states prior to the 2020 election.

As she returns to the faculty, I would like to thank Dr. Laura DeNardis for her extraordinary work as interim dean since July 2019, as well as for her extensive contributions both to American University and to our understanding of the complex issues around internet governance.  It is deeply gratifying to me and to all of her fellow deans that a scholar of Laura’s stature would have agreed to step into the interim deanship, and to have led SOC so brilliantly, these past two years!

I am also deeply grateful to the members of the search committee, ably led by Professor Leena Jayaswal, for their dedication and help in recruiting such an outstanding new leader.  

This is an exciting moment for Sam to join our community, as SOC has recently launched new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, increased external scholarship funding, celebrated new high-impact faculty work, opened the renovated Media Production Center, and expanded innovative programs in DEI, among many other accomplishments.

Please join me in welcoming Dean Fulwood to American University!