Shirley Staples Carter

Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of South Carolina

Degree(s): PhD '87

Whereabouts: United States, Columbia, South Carolina

What do you do?
I am a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, teaching public relations management to undergraduate and graduate students, advising honor student projects, and conducting research on women and leadership and multicultural images in advertising. Previously, I served a five-year term as the founding director of the School from July 2003- July 2008.

How did you get your job?
I began my career track as a journalism professor and administrator at mainstream universities through professional contacts I made as a doctoral student at Mizzou in the 1980s. Networking and serving in leadership roles in professional organizations and associations enhanced my leadership profile. I have served as chair or director of journalism and mass communication programs, and taught journalism, advertising and public relations courses at diverse institutions across the country.

Best professional lesson learned at the J-School?
The importance of accuracy, fairness and freedom of information was the foundation of my academic experience at the J-School. My exposure to the Freedom of Information Center at Mizzou led to my becoming a founding director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.

What would be your best advice to current students?
The Mizzou Journalism education extends beyond the classroom; take advantage of every opportunity the School provides to interact with professors, alumni and industry professionals. Participate in seminars, lecture series, professional networking, and work on the Missourian, KOMU, and gain other multi-media platform experience. My academic experience at Mizzou has evolved into a lifelong exploration and quest for knowledge.

What makes you good at your job?
My work ethic, professionalism and drive to succeed borne of the Mizzou “show me” experience. I also strongly believe in the concept and practice of servant leadership.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
Serving as the student ambassador for the official visit of former first lady of Egypt, Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar Sadat during her visit to the U.S., is one of my many favorite J-School memories.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
Earning the respect of my peers and being elected President of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, and being named the 2006 Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Administrator of the Year. My Mizzou Experience helped to make this possible.


Updated: November 3, 2011