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April 28, 2011 Volume 32, No. 29

Meet the Kempers: Mike McKean


Associate Professor of Journalism

During his 25 years at MU, Mike McKean’s responsibilities have changed, from teaching radio reporting and writing at KBIA-FM to serving as chair of broadcast news. He was chair of convergence journalism, a program he founded six years ago that prepares students to work across media platforms. “I know we’ve made a difference when our graduates, despite a terrible job market, start their multimedia careers at companies such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, PBS and AOL,” he says.

McKean created the undergraduate capstone class in convergence journalism in which students do semester-long collaborative projects. Currently, he serves as director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, where students work with media and technology leaders.

McKean has created real-world opportunities such as competitions in which students design applications for industry-leading corporate partners, including Apple, Adobe, Google and the Hearst Corp. He pushes students to succeed and play a part in the transformation of media.

Since 2009 he has co-taught a class housed in engineering. iPhone and iPad applications developed in class brought national attention to the university and was lauded as an example of the kind of entrepreneurial skills students need in the 21st century.

In 2009 he received an award from Campus Technology Magazine for creating an interdisciplinary innovation fund that provides seed money to student-centered groups on campus to support real-world partnerships. Other awards include the O.O. McIntyre Award, an Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award and a Faculty-Alumni Award.

McKean received a bachelor of journalism degree in 1979 from MU and a master of arts degree in political science in 1985 from Rice University.