WJC at commencement 2017-crop

⇨ W. Joseph Campbell is a tenured full professor who has taught 19 different graduate and undergraduate courses during his career at American University’s School of Communication. He is a past winner of the student government’s “Faculty Member of the Year” award, which is given annually to the professor who “works vigorously to enrich the quality of student life at American University.”

Campbell also is a past winner of the “Teaching with Research” award, given by American University’s Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning.

The award recognized Campbell for having introduced hundreds of AU students to the Library of Congress (see image nearby of the Library’s Great Hall), where they conducted research using primary source materials for papers prepared for Campbell’s classes.

Those classes have included:


  • Foreign Policy and the Press, which examines the roles of the news media in covering, interpreting, shaping, and reacting to U.S. foreign policy. Campbell has taught — and revised — the course periodically since 1999.
  • The American 1990s, which critically explores a period defined by a variety of important developments — including the emergence of the internet into mainstream consciousness. The course draws extensively on Campbell’s research about the decisive year 1995.
  • Myths of the Media, which examine the derivation, tenacity, and effects of media-driven myths, those well-known stories about and/or by the news media that masquerade as factual.The class encourages students to sharpen their b.s.-detectors and become more savvy and more discerning consumers of the news and media messaging. “Myths of the Media” draws heavily on the second edition of Campbell’s book, Getting It Wrong.
  • Seminar in Doctoral Teaching and Research, which helps second-year students in the School of Communication’s accelerated PhD program develop their research topics and literature reviews for their dissertations while preparing them to take and pass comprehensive written exams. The seminar also equips students background and skills to teach college-level courses.

W. Joseph Campbell speaking to an audience

Campbell’s “Myths of the Media” class about William Randolph Hearst’s purported vow to “furnish the war” with Spain at the end of the 19th century has been featured several times on C-SPAN’s “Lectures in History”series.

C-SPAN also has aired Campbell’s “Foreign Policy and the Press” virtual class debunking the supposed effects on public opinion of Walter Cronkite’s editorial on CBS News in 1968 that the U.S. military was “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam.

Campbell for many years served as faculty member in office residence in McDowell Hall on the North Side of the American University campus.

The position was designed in collaboration with the University’s Office of Campus Life and sought to promote informal contacts among AU students and faculty in a residence hall setting — and to underscore that academic life at the university extends beyond the classroom.

In that role, Campbell pursued a number of programming initiatives, including the highly successful event, “I Remember AU When: The Age of Protest,” which took a look back to the lPoster for a lecture on AU in the 60s and 70sate 1960s and early 1970s when the University percolated with activism and dissent.

Campbell also helped organize a series titled “Dialog with the Dean,” in which academic deans met separately and informally with students for conversation and pizza.

In recognition of his faculty-in-residence efforts, Campbell received the University’s faculty award for service to the AU community.

In addition, Campbell is a past president of the Kappa Tau Alpha national honorary,  which seeks to promote high academic achievement in journalism and mass communication. Campbell served as AU’s chapter adviser of KTA for 16  years.