Skip to main content

Joan Rentsch, professor of communication studies and director of the College of Communication and Information’s Integrative Organizational Research Laboratory, has been named the college’s new associate dean for academic programs. She will begin her new role on August 1.

Joan Rentsch

Rentsch will take over for Catherine Luther, who is returning to the journalism and electronic media faculty.

“Joan Rentsch is an outstanding scholar, teacher, and mentor, and I greatly appreciate her willingness to take on this critical administrative position,” said Mike Wirth, college dean. “Her ability to effectively lead and manage in a team setting will allow her to play a major role in helping us continue to innovate and improve our curriculum and academic programs as we journey to the Top 25.”

Rentsch is an internationally known expert on psychological processes in organizations, focusing on communication and cognition in teams and organizations. She came to UT in 1999 and served as a professor in the Haslam College of Business’s Department of Management until she transferred to the School of Communication Studies in 2011. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from The Ohio State University and a master’s and PhD from the University of Maryland in industrial and organizational psychology.

Rentsch was director of the Department of Management’s Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program from 2005 to 2008 and was director of the Haslam College of Business’s Organizational Research Laboratory from 2005 to 2011. She brought the laboratory, now called the Integrative Organizational Research Laboratory, to CCI in 2011.

Since joining CCI, Rentsch has expanded the technical capabilities of the lab and moved it to its current location in Greve Hall. The laboratory has been instrumental in helping integrative teams build critical communication skills and strengthen group decision-making strategies.

Prior to coming to UT, Rentsch was a faculty member at Wright State University for ten years. She also spent two years as a research scientist at the US Air Force Human Resources Laboratory.

Her research has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Academy of Management Journal, and Organizational Research Methods. Her professional service includes being on the editorial boards of the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management Review. Her research and expertise have been featured on television news programs and in UT publications highlighting faculty research.

She has received research funding from the Office of Naval Research, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. She has served on senior advisory panels for the Army Research Institute.

Rentsch has incorporated her extensive expertise into the classroom, teaching courses such as Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, and Mindfulness: Research and Experience.

The search committee was chaired by Andy Kramer, associate dean of academic personnel in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of anthropology. Members included Julie Andsager, professor of journalism and electronic media; Stephen Spates, a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information; Carol Tenopir, Chancellor’s Professor and Board of Visitors Professor in the School of Information Sciences; Candace White, associate professor of advertising and public relations; and Courtney Wright, associate professor of communication studies.


Donna Silvey (865-974-6727,