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Joseph Mazer, professor and chair of Clemson University’s Department of Communication, will be the next dean of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Communication and Information effective July 1. Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick made the announcement to the campus community earlier today.

Mazer_Tennessee-200x275-1Mazer has over 17 years of experience in higher education. In 2012, he was named the director of the Social Media Listening Center at Clemson University. In 2018, he was selected to serve as the chair of Clemson’s Department of Communication, and in 2019, he was selected as a Faculty Fellow by Clemson’s Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

“Dr. Mazer brings a steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion, extensive experience in academic strategic planning and program oversight, a successful record of innovative collaboration with external stakeholders, and an awareness of change in higher education,” said Zomchick. “He will bring his experience and innovative perspectives to an award-winning college as he begins his tenure as its next dean. I look forward to his leadership and creative insight as our university embarks on its new strategic vision.”

Mazer will succeed Dean Michael Wirth, who announced earlier this year that he will return to a faculty role after successfully serving as the college’s dean for the past 15 years. Wirth will be remembered for increasing the college’s research, making the college a campus leader in study abroad opportunities, and nearly doubling its endowment by raising more than $33 million to support research, scholarships, experiential learning, and facilities upgrades.

“I am honored to join UT’s College of Communication and Information. This is an exciting time for the college to refine its vision while promoting innovation and excellence in line with the university’s land-grant mission,” said Mazer. “I look forward to collaborating with university leadership, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to design and implement a shared vision that highlights the college’s position among flagship land-grant Research 1 universities.”

Mazer’s academic research focuses on new communication technologies and social media, communication in teaching and learning, communication in relationships, and quantitative research methods. He has been recognized among the top 1 percent of the most prolific scholars in communication between 2007 and 2016, and in the top 10 most influential scholars in instructional communication from 2000 to 2016.

As dean, Mazer will lead a community of strategic creative thinkers who are passionate about leading, thinking, and preparing students to understand the role of information and communication in democratic societies. He will oversee the college’s four schools—advertising and public relations, communication studies, information sciences, and journalism and electronic media.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Amanda Pruitt (865-974-6727,