Ohio State University professor taking over upon Collins’ retirement
Associate Director for Graduate Studies and Research Erik Collins will be retiring after this semester, passing his role on to Lance Holbert.
Holbert is currently an associate professor at the Ohio State University, where he has taught for seven years. He has also taught at the University of Missouri, the University of Delaware and has worked as a press secretary in Washington, D.C.
“Everyone has been very kind and inviting. I have felt comfortable with everyone I have met at all levels of the university and see the University of South Carolina moving in a very positive direction,” Holbert said. “It will be terrific to be a part of where the university is heading.”
While at OSU, Holbert received the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award from the National Communication Association’s Mass Communication Division.
One of Holbert’s goals is to make the School of Mass Communication’s graduate program more internationalized during his time at USC.
“The future of the field is as a global discipline and I look forward to getting South Carolina’s graduate program well-situated to be a leader in this movement,” Holbert said.
Holbert did his undergraduate work at the University of Rochester, where he double majored in political science and history. He earned two master’s degrees at Syracuse University, but it wasn’t until he began working as a press secretary that he knew he wanted to pursue communications.
“I taught a few mass communication courses at Towson University,” Holbert said, “I enjoyed the challenge of stepping in to a classroom and the intellectual engagement. It was based on those experiences that I decided to head back for the Ph.D. at (the University of) Wisconsin.”
Holbert said he loves working with graduate students and is coming to USC hoping to gain a sense of accomplishment.
“I served as graduate director at Ohio State and was looking for an opportunity to lead another graduate program,” Holbert said, “What sold me on South Carolina was the true potential and positive trajectory of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.”
At home, Holbert enjoys playing baseball, basketball, golfing, bowling and other sports with his children.
The communications veteran emphasized that being a skilled writer is key for those entering any field.
“Learn to write well — it is a skill that will serve you well over the long term,” Holbert said. “The ability to communicate efficiently and effectively through the written word is of value no matter your career path.”
Assistant professor Robert McKeever said he looks forward to Holbert’s arrival, but is sad to say goodbye to a beloved faculty member.
“I fully expect he’ll have a tremendous impact on our program,” McKeever said. “I only wish that his coming arrival didn’t also signal the pending departure of his predecessor, Dr. Erik Collins.”