American University School of Communication Dean Emeritus Larry Kirkman is retiring in 2019 after being on faculty for 18 years. Kirkman was Dean of SOC from 2001-2012 and he created plans for the renovation of the McKinley Building. Beyond building a new home for the School of Communication, he also increased alumni involvement and created partnerships with major media organizations, such as the Washington Post, USA Today, NBC, American Film Institute, Sony, Smithsonian, and more. He also established centers for public service media, including the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Center for Media and Social Impact, and the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He is on sabbatical for 2018.
As a professor, he has taught courses on social documentary and film history for the MA/MFA Film program. He brought video into the film program and taught courses in television studio production, location video and documentary production. He also worked directly with professors in the Performing Arts and Audio Technology departments to create interdisciplinary courses and produce projects.
Kirkman has extensive background in media and filmmaking. He has created many public television documentaries, which have been funded by PBS, NEA and CPB. He was also the executive director of the Benton Foundation and the Labor Institute of Public Affairs, where he created social advertising campaigns and online journalism projects. At the Benton Foundation he developed and promoted communication policies related to new media and assisted nonprofit organizations in the use of communication tools and techniques.
As a filmmaker in the Investigative Reporting Workshop, he produced "Nightmare Bacteria: Life Without Antibiotics,"an interactive documentary on antibiotics. He also is the executive producer of FREELANCERS, which is a documentary series about independent journalists that fill the void left by mainstream media’s retreat from international reporting created by SOC professor Bill Gentile. He is currently working on a documentary on science and public policy called Preponderance of Evidence. This film is focused on telling the stories of scientists at the front lines of public debate. He led a team of students to document the March for Science protests in 2017 and 2018 to help build a video bank for use by non-profit organizations and AU students working on the issues.
Kirkman received his BA from Columbia University and his Masters in Teaching (MAT) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.