Meet the Department Chair: Dr. Ryan M. Milner

Photo of Dr. Ryan M. Milner
Dr. Ryan M. Milner, Chair of the Department of Communication (July 2021).

While for many of us July 1 is just another summer day right before a nationally celebrated holiday, at the College of Charleston it also marks the official start date for faculty administration transitions. This year the Department of Communication joins in with newly appointed department chair leadership. Join us in welcoming Dr. Ryan M. Milner to the helm!

Former Chair Dr. Jen Kopfman recently made this introduction to the National Advisory Council:

“Dr. Milner earned his Ph.D. from The University of Kansas and has been a faculty member at the College of Charleston since 2012. He teaches courses such as Media in the Digital Age, Digital Media Ethics, and a capstone class in Podcasting. With research expertise in internet culture, he studies how online interactions (everything from memes and GIFs to Twitter debates and propaganda campaigns) influence and impact society, politics, and culture. He’s the co-author of the recently published You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape (2021), the co-author of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online (2017), and the author of The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media (2016). He has also contributed commentary to outlets like TIMESlateThe Los Angeles Review of Books, NBC News, and The New York Times. Ryan is looking forward to getting started in the chair role!”

Keep scrolling to learn about Dr. Milner’s interests, both in and outside of the classroom.


Tell us a little about yourself…

Hometown:  Kansas City, MO

Where did you go to school?  B.A. in Communication (University of Missouri-Kansas City), M.A. in Communication (The University of Kansas), Ph.D. in Communication (The University of Kansas).

What are you most looking forward to in this new role?  I’m excited to shine a light on all the amazing things our students and faculty are doing in the department.

Most recent publication?  I co-authored You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape with Whitney Phillips, which was just published in March 2021.

Favorite COMM course to teach:  My capstone, Audio Investigations. I love seeing students’ yearlong research projects culminate with their poignant and creative audio documentaries.

Favorite hobby outside of work:  Training my cute little Havanese puppy, Backpack. He’s really good at listening when you’ve got a treat in your hand, but not so good when you don’t.

Favorite spot on campus:  Right outside my office, between 7 and 9 College Way, is this secret little grotto with a great stone table and bench set. Don’t tell anyone!

Piece of advice for current students:  Dive into all your classes fully. Be present and curious and open to learning something new. Professors respond to that spark, other students respond to that spark, and the whole class gets better when you’re excited to be there.

Summer book (or podcast) recommendation:  Check out Dolly Partons America, a limited series podcast produced by WNYC. It not only gives you a hefty dose of Dolly Parton biography (and who doesn’t need that?), it uses her music and career to talk about contemporary American politics and culture. It’s so well done!


Read more about Dr. Milner’s research and academic pursuits on his Department of Communication faculty bio webpage. Next time you are on campus, be sure to swing by 9 College to say hello!

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