SJMC Receives Grant to Host Ph.Digital Bootcamp

Applications are now being accepted for the first Ph.Digital Bootcamp in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, supported by a $75,000 grant from the  John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

audience analysis and emerging technologies… data analytics… digital strategy… fluency in HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript… media entrepreneurship… mobile applications… experience with social media

These are all phrases included in position descriptions for tenure-track faculty on the job advertisement section of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) website. They represent emerging topics relevant to mass communication curriculum and scholarship. Are you prepared to teach in and lead curriculum in a rapidly changing digital world?

The Ph.Digital Bootcamp prepares mass communication doctoral students and early career assistant professors to become digital scholar/educators and lead curriculum innovation. The program is an online/in-person hybrid, starting late-February 2018. Students will be instructed to complete ten weekly online modules leading up to the in-person workshop May 14-20 in the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. The program is limited to up to 20 participants who will be competitively selected.

The program is free to selected participants. Thanks to support from the Knight Foundation, participants will receive fellowships to cover training, transportation, lodging, materials and meals for the in-person workshop in May.

Led by Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the MILab and a digital innovator with experience in curriculum redesign, the workshop will help participants develop strategies for staying up-to-date and sharing knowledge with students and faculty.

“Whether you want to teach digital skills or apply digital concepts to theory and research, the Ph.Digital Bootcamp will introduce the skill sets and mindset to embark on a career of continuous learning about the digital world,” Royal said. “We are thrilled to work with the Knight Foundation to help doctoral students and faculty develop these critical competencies that will ultimately influence mass communication curriculum and better prepare graduates.”

“Journalism professors are charged with ensuring that the next generation of reporters are prepared to meet new community information demands. The Ph.Digital Bootcamp will help them in this goal, offering an avenue for professors and scholars to become digital news leaders, and advance journalism innovation into the future,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

The program has recruited faculty and advisers from the SJMC and members of the media community who are leaders in virtual reality and 360 video, drones, data, social media, coding, multimedia storytelling and media innovation.

SJMC Faculty teaching emerging topics

The workshop will address the following topics:

  • digital platforms and product management
  • web and mobile development
  • data journalism and visualization
  • social media engagement
  • entrepreneurship and innovation
  • experiential learning in the digital environment
  • emerging media in drones, virtual reality and bots
  • pedagogy strategies and digital scholarship insights

Weekly online modules leading up to the in-person workshop will each require no more than 1-3 hours per week and will include video lessons, discussion posts and brief quizzes. We recognize that doctoral students are very busy. These online modules will be offered in a flexible, asynchronous format, so that participants may be able to easily work them into their schedules.

Who can apply? Students currently enrolled in a doctoral program in journalism and mass communication (or related discipline) and those who have recently completed their doctoral education (within the past two years) are encourage to apply. Visit for more information and to find the application link. While previous digital experience is not necessary, we are seeking participants who have a strong interest in teaching and research agendas that deal with emerging, digital topics. Be specific in crafting your answers on the application.

Applications are due  by midnight (Central Time) January 15, 2018 and participants will be notified of their acceptance by February 7, 2018.

More information about the Ph.Digital Bootcamp can be found at Contact Dr. Cindy Royal,, if you have questions.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


About the Media Innovation Lab
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication opened the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) in Fall 2016. The MILab provides Texas State University with a central point for a broad range of digital media activities – scholarship, curriculum, courses, faculty development, community networking and events. Users are able to experiment with 360 video, drones, sensors and other emerging technologies and receive training in a range of web development and social media techniques. MILab faculty are committed to continuous learning and staying on the cutting edge of the intersection of technology and communication.


About the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication, housed in historic Old Main, offers a nationally accredited curriculum that introduces graduate and undergraduate students to the broad framework of mass communication, emphasizing what is fundamental to advertising, journalism, public relations, electronic media and the newest degree in digital media innovation. The mission of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is to pursue excellence. Our programs strive to cultivate strong professional, research, theoretical, critical and ethical skills in a diverse and engaging environment that prepares students to be socially responsible media professionals, scholars and citizens.



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