Meet Seungahn Nah, the SOJC's new associate dean of graduate affairs and research

Seungahn Nah, Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs and Research
Seungahn Nah, Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs and Research

Story by Margaret Connors

On July 1, Seungahn Nah arrived at the UO School of Journalism and Communication to take up the post of associate dean of graduate affairs and research.

Nah comes to the SOJC from the University of Kentucky, where he was an associate professor of community communication in the Department of Community and Leadership Development and the Information Communication Technology program in the School of Information Science. He also serves as president of the Korean American Communication Association. Nah received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Nah has received numerous top paper and teaching awards, and his work appears in several prominent communication journals. He’s also an associate editor of the journal Mass Communication & Society.

We asked Nah some questions to get to know him better and introduce him to the SOJC community.

What brought you to the SOJC? Why did you choose this school over others?

Over more than a decade, I have enjoyed working closely with my colleagues and graduate students on numerous research projects. SOJC has a rich history with highly regarded graduate programs and scholars. That is why I was so excited when I learned that there was the new position of associate dean for graduate affairs and research available at SOJC.

Tell us about your research on the roles of digital communication technologies in community and democratic processes and outcomes as they relate to the interrelationships among communication, community and democracy.

My research focuses on the roles that digital communication technologies — such as social and mobile media — can play in building a more civically vibrant civil society by serving underrepresented individuals, neighborhoods, organizations and communities. In particular, my scholarship has examined under what conditions and contexts digital communication technologies can enhance civic engagement through participatory communication and citizen journalism.

What has influenced your work?

I truly value social justice, equity, inclusion and diversity. And I believe that communication, especially digital communication, can (and should) empower those who are marginalized from the mainstream society: ordinary citizens, ethnic minorities, small voluntary and grassroots groups, social movement organizations and rural communities, to name a few.

What do you do in your free time?

During my free time, I enjoy listening to classic music, watching movies and playing multiple sports with my son, Justice. I try to travel, domestic and abroad, as much as I can.

What are your goals at the SOJC?

 My goal as the new associate dean is to build an even stronger graduate program and to enhance the reputation of SOJC nationally and internationally. I am looking forward to accomplishing these goals with the entire SOJC community.

The SOJC’s pillars are ethics, innovation and action. How will you embody these ideals during your time here?

I have strived to establish my public and engaged scholarship of research, teaching and service. While developing my integral scholarship, I have set the highest standards of ethical guidelines, innovative thinking, and community-service learning, and have incorporated them into my scholarship. I will continue these endeavors in the years to come at SOJC.

Do you have any advice for SOJC students?

 Retrospectively speaking, I think my college days were heydays — probably the best days of my life. Unfortunately, the heydays will never come back to you! So enjoy your college life and try your best, whether being an undergrad or graduate student, as much as you can.

Margaret Connors recently graduated from the SOJC with a bachelor’s in advertising and a concentration in photojournalism. She interned for the SOJC Communication Office during the 206-17 school year. Previously, she was an intern for The Big Issue SA, which sent her around South Africa finding stories and learning about the industry. She is eager to create ethical, authentic and passionate work to share with the world. You can follow her on Instagram @margeconnors and view her work at