This individual award recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to shared governance. Thomas was recognized at the joint meeting of Faculty Council and the Chancellor, and the General Faculty meeting on March 24.
“I am honored to receive this award and deeply grateful to the colleagues who nominated me,” Thomas said. “I consider it a privilege to work for the Missouri School of Journalism, along so many extraordinary faculty and staff members whose dedication to their work inspires and motivates me.”
Thomas serves as chair of the School’s elected Policy Committee, a position he has held since 2018. The Policy Committee’s responsibilities include implementing administrator evaluations, coordinating all School-wide elections, and overseeing the School’s standing committee structure and recommending committee assignments.
During his time as chair, Thomas’ leadership has helped advanced shared governance at the School, including spearheading the effort to centralize and update all of the School’s faculty policies.
“As the Policy Committee chair, Dr. Thomas has worked tirelessly to review and update the School’s faculty policies, as well as advance the School’s approach to shared governance,” said Dean David Kurpius. “He is very deserving of this award and I appreciate his dedication and ongoing work for the good of our faculty and School.”
According to Thomas’ nomination letter, colleagues spoke about his efforts to help nurture a culture of shared governance, and ensure open and continuous communication between the School’s faculty and administration.
- “His efforts to define and advance shared governance have helped change the culture of the Journalism School toward more transparency, responsibility and fairness. Dr. Thomas deserves appreciation for his tireless work for the good of the many.”
- “Centralizing the policies of the School is another way that Dr. Thomas works to enhance faculty access and understanding of shared governance”.
- “His efforts have brought significant progress in codifying and implementing standards for this sharing of governance and faculty engagement. Taking up the banner of shared governance is, regrettably, arduous and unappreciated – Dr. Thomas approaches this work as a critically important part of his job. The faculty members of the Missouri School of Journalism are fortunate to call him a colleague, and the University of Missouri is a more democratic place for having him as a faculty member”.
In the classroom, Thomas teaches Principles of Journalism in Democracy at the undergraduate level and Media Ethics, Media Sociology, Philosophy of Journalism, and Qualitative Research Methods at the graduate level. His research program addresses the intersection of journalism ethics and the sociology of news. His research has been published in such peer-reviewed journals as Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, the Journal of Media Ethics, Journalism Practice, and New Media and Society.
Updated: March 26, 2021