Department of Communication welcomes new leader

Terry Likes

Terry Likes

An award-winning educator and journalist is the new head of Mississippi State’s Department of Communication.

Terrence D. “Terry” Likes joins the land-grant university after serving as department chair for eight years and tenured professor at Tennessee State University. Prior to TSU, Likes taught at Western Kentucky University from 1988-2008. He began his new role at MSU on Aug. 1.

“After a national search, I am confident we have secured an effective leader for the Department of Communication,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick Travis.

“Dr. Likes brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in communication, which will be beneficial to his students and the faculty he will lead. We all will benefit from his leadership and are pleased to welcome him to campus,” Travis said.

Likes said he is excited to join the MSU faculty “because this is one of the great schools, a large university, a member of the SEC, with the department featuring established programs in public relations, broadcast and print journalism, theatre and communication studies.”

A Saint Louis native, Likes has a background or management skills in each sub-discipline, and said each area is on the rise at MSU “thanks to dedicated faculty and strong leadership by the previous head, John Forde.”

“The Department of Communication offers so much to the life of the university,” Likes said. “The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, is a vital life skill.”

He said his goals include implementing a graduate program, creating an online degree in public relations, increasing research output and continuing to offer outstanding theatrical productions.

“It is a tall order but one that we embrace as we work toward creating our new identity of becoming a top-ranked program in the country,” Likes said.

His media background includes working as a radio and television news reporter, sports reporter and play-by-play announcer. Since 1987, Likes has amassed 100 professional media awards for his communication work and has published articles in the Journal of Electronic News and the Journal of Media Education, among others.

Likes developed award-winning programs prior to joining MSU, leading his TSU classes to 61 awards from the Tennessee Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, National Broadcasting Society and Southeast Journalism Conference.

During his 10-year span overseeing student newscasts at WKU, his students won 254 awards including 35 national Hearst awards, 74 regional Society of Professional Journalists awards, 145 Kentucky Associated Press awards, along with two mid-South regional Emmy nominations and six Radio-TV News Directors Foundation scholarships.

His 2018 documentary, “Cameras, cops and concerns: The impact of media coverage on police shootings involving minorities,” aired on the Tennessee Radio Network and won Broadcast Education Association and National Broadcasting Society awards as well as an Associated Press state award. His recent report, “Fake News Blues: The implications of fake news allegations on the profession of journalism,” won an award of excellence from the World Journalism Education Congress.

Currently in production, Likes has developed a radio documentary on the modern history of presidential relationships with the media, from FDR’s fireside chats to Trump’s tweets.

Likes received his Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Kentucky in 1996, his master’s degree in organizational communication from WKU in 1988, and his bachelor’s in mass communication from Maryville University-St. Louis in 1985.

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences or the communication department may be found at or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Sarah Nicholas | College of Arts and Sciences

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