Journalism faculty member accepts department chair position at Ball State


Journalism faculty member Johnny Sparks accepted the position as chairperson of the department of journalism at Ball State University.

Johnny Sparks will finish his fourth year as a journalism faculty member at Central Michigan University before accepting a new role as chairperson of the department of journalism at Ball State University, effective July 1, 2016.

Sparks is an associate professor of advertising and applied to be the chairperson of CMU's journalism department last year, but the job was given to Jiafei Yin. He is also the director of CMU’s Center for Innovation, Collaboration and Engagement.

Since arriving at CMU in fall 2012, Sparks has taught "JRN 360: Principles of Advertising," "JRN 466: Advertising Campaigns," "JRN 365: Advertising Media" and "JRN 397A: Sex, Violence, & the Media."

He is also the advisor for about 125 advertising majors and 75 advertising minors.

"I want the students to know I'm not just leaving here without thinking about them," he said. "My favorite part of this job has been handing diplomas to my graduates on graduation day and the tremendous joy of being a very special part of their lives. That meant everything to me."

Sparks said he is unsure about where those students will go now. He regrets he won't be able to see all of the students he's signed graduate.

"I hope the department will value what Doug Berry and I started here and invest in the advertising students who have invested so much in our program," he said. "Advertising is the largest major in the department. It's a major that's almost four years old and started when I got here."

By assessing the department, Sparks has done a lot by adding courses to curriculum, Yin said. He accepted the role of going through the courses in the department and making changes as needed.

"He has done quite a bit for the department," Yin said. "As a result of the assessment, he created new courses in the advertising major."

Sparks was awarded the CMU Provost's Assessment Incentive Award in 2012-13.

Sparks said his family had become part of the Mount Pleasant community, and were the members of Sacred Heart Church, but the move to Ball State is the right thing for them.

"I feel I've made an impact on the lives of many students and certainly my students have impacted my life," Sparks said. "However I feel I'm called to lead in this area, so that's why I decided to pursue this opportunity," Sparks said.

Sparks also serves as the advisor for CMU’s student chapter of the American Advertising Federation.


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Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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